Know Thyself: The Vagina And The Vulva

Know Thyself: The Vagina and the Vulva

This topic is not something you would often hear people talk about in public, as most people just find it awkward to discuss with others. However, a lot of women and men have many questions about this topic – the difference between the vagina and the vulva.

The first thing that comes to mind is that like the heart and the lungs, the vagina is an organ, while no one really talks about the vulva. So to clear up your mind, we will be discussing the two terms in this article.

Let us start off with the vagina. It is not actually what you think it is – the vagina is not an organ and it is not what you could see from the surface. Rather, it is what connects the uterus to the vulva. It is the muscular canal where blood flows through during menstruation, and it is where a baby goes through when giving birth. Without the vagina, our body will not be able to store and transfer sperm cells to the uterus and fallopian tubes during egg fertilization – so it plays an important role in reproduction.

The vagina is naturally lubricated with mucous tissue and has its own microbial flora. The size varies from one woman to another, with an average of about 8 centimeters. However, since it is an elastic tube, it tends to stretch when one is aroused, as well as during childbirth.

Now, moving on to the vulva – it is actually what you could see from the outside, the sex organ in between a woman’s legs. The vulva consists of several parts including the clitoris, the labia minora and labia majora, the mons pubis, and the openings of the urethra and the vagina.

Things are starting to make more sense now right?

The mons pubis is the outer part of the genital that is covered with pubic hair, it is made of soft fatty tissues found on the surface of the pubic bone. The labia majora and minora are what we often refer to as the outer and inner lips. They are also made of fatty tissues and their main purpose is to protect the vagina from unwanted bacteria. Between the lips are the clitoris and the glans. The clitoris is a soft fold of skin like a hood, and at the tip of it is the glans – the most sensitive part that is vital during sex as it is what will give one the most pleasure.

In terms of hygiene, the vagina does not need to be washed as it is a self-cleaning organ, while the vulva needs to be cleansed at least once a day, simply because it is more exposed to bacteria. Washing the vulva regularly also protects the vagina from getting contaminated.

Now, it is important to know the difference between the vagina and the vulva, especially when you visit your doctor – to be able to explain to them what your concern is with regards to your lady parts. You don’t want to be using the wrong term when seeking for medical help from your doctor.

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