The Beauty of the Vulva
Let’s talk vulva variety!
You may have wondered things like:
Is my vulva normal?
Why is it this color?
Does this shape mean there is something wrong?
What even makes up the vulva?
The most important thing to remember is that what is “normal” is that everyone is unique! Vulvas come in many different but equally beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes. It is so important to get acquainted with your dear friend down below as only you can know your body best and know what is common for you and what could be a sign that a visit to your doctor is needed.
The first thing to know is what makes up the vulva. The vulva is considered the external genitalia of the female anatomy and includes:
Mons pubis (or the fatty tissue that covers one’s pubic bone)
Labia Majora (or the Outer Labia)
Labia Minora (or the Inner Labia)
Clitoris and Clitoral Hood
Your vulva is crucial to your health as it serves to protect your more tender areas. It can be easily overlooked as an important part of your health due to the area being covered with hair, shyness in examining it, or absence of mind. But just as you do those monthly breast exams on yourself (and if you don’t, maybe consider it!) it is a good idea to add your vulva to that list of areas to check.
The great thing is that getting to know your vulva is simple. Simply grab a mirror, get comfy, and take a look! Move the mirror around and notice colors, textures, and the general way it looks. Lift things, flex things, and notice what happens. Make it a habit to give yourself a once-over to make sure all is well.
The most important thing to watch for is any significant change. Changes can occur naturally due to things like age, pregnancy, exercise, etc. Then there are other changes that are not so normal and that should be watched closely. If you find a new lump or bump, dryness, color changes, or any other abnormalities, you may want to speak to your medical provider. Since many only see their provider once per year (or even less than that!), it is important to routinely check in with your vulva and say hey!
Knowing your vulva can also have other benefits as well. When learning to use a menstrual cup or disc, knowing your anatomy can help shorten the learning curve because you already know where everything is. (You would not want to try to put your cup in the wrong tunnel - if you know what we’re saying!).
All this to say, there is a lot of variety when it comes to vulvas. Embrace that beautiful part of yourself!