Vaginal Health
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HOW TO DO A VAGINAL SELF EXAM

woman touching her abdomen

We keep checking ourselves for every little thing. Even a mole stresses us out at times. But are we equally careful about the vagina? The vagina is one of the most important parts of a female’s body. It is not only crucial for sex and childbearing, but it also affects many other factors in a woman’s life. Apart from the regular pelvic exam at the gynecologist, you can also self-examine yourself from time to time. In this article, we will be talking about the vaginal self-exam. 

What to look for down there? 

A vaginal self-exam is not as intensive as pelvic exams done by doctors, but it does help you notice minor changes if any. A vaginal self-exam includes checking the vulva for any abnormalities, it includes checking the vaginal wall and if possible the cervix also. 

Examining yourself includes checking the color of the vulva, checking the walls of the vagina for their color and texture, and any warts or cysts. While you are at it, you can also check for any rashes, redness, or bumps. These can be early signs of vaginal infections or cancers. 

How to do a vaginal self-exam? 

Checking your vajajay can be a little tricky at the beginning. Before you check yourself, make sure you are aware of the structure and physiology of the female genitalia. That would serve as a reference when you check yourself. 

When you examine yourself, make sure you have a mirror, a small battery or flashlight, and a napkin or a towel. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly or use clean gloves. 

Follow these steps :

  1. Remove your clothes waist down. 
  2. Sit on the towel and rest against a wall. Make sure your back is properly supported, you can use pillows for the same. 
  3. Relax your back and pelvic. 
  4. Flow your legs in the knees and bring your feet closer to your butt. 
  5. Place a mirror in front of the vagina, you might want to rest it on something to have it inclined for a better view. 
  6. Spread the labia and get a better view. Check yourself around the clitoris. 7. On spreading the labia, you will be able to see the vagina, check the walls for their color.
  7. If you are comfortable, you can try to insert a finger inside your vagina and try to feel the walls. If you try to explore more, you will also be able to feel your cervix. Make sure you make note of all small things so that it becomes easy to track and consult a doctor if needed. 

The color of the vaginal walls is pink. When you stretch the labia, you will be able to see the color in the mirror. When you insert your finger inside, you will be able to feel the vaginal walls, which feel like the roof of your mouth. An average vagina is 6 inches deep, it starts from the vulva and extends up to the neck of the cervix. When you examine yourself, make a note of all these observations. 

A vaginal self-exam can help you diagnose a yeast infection. Yeast is generally found in the vagina, but if it grows, it can cause infection. The typical symptoms of a yeast infection are –

  • Burning sensation while urinating 
  • Pain or discomfort 
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge – usually white in color and thick 
  • Itching and irritation in the vagina 

On self-examination, you can check if you have it and get it treated. It is a common infection and can be treated with medicines. 

When is the best time to check the vagina? 

You can check the vagina anytime you find it comfortable, but it is best if you do it in between your menstrual cycle. It helps you understand what changes take place in your genitals during menstruation. It can also help you notice if anything requires medical attention. 

When do I see a doctor? 

Examining yourself from time to time is always advisable, but that does not make up for the regular pelvic checkups. It is always better to have your pelvic examinations done once in a while. Make sure you consult your gynecologist about this and get yourself checked. 

While you examine yourself if you find any abnormalities such as a discharge, discoloration, outgrowths, cysts, or bumps, sores, rashes, etc. you need to consult a doctor on priority. Checking and diagnosis on time can prevent further health complications. 

Takeaway 

Vaginal exams are as important as any other exams. It is crucial that you examine the most important part of the female body and consult a doctor immediately in case you notice some unusual changes. Yeast infections are common in women, almost 75% of women get a yeast infection in a lifetime. It is therefore important to examine yourself every once in a while. Yeast infections can be cured with over-the-counter medications, but make sure you consult a doctor for proper treatment.

Did you know your vagina hosts a lot of bacteria? Just like your gut, there are a number of good bacteria, also known as the vaginal flora or vaginal microbiome which is local to your vag. But there are certain factors that trigger the imbalance of vaginal flora leading a disrupted pH and infections.

Hence to help maintain the vaginal flora balance, probiotics is one of the best solution! Probiotics are living microorganisms that have a variety of health benefits. The human body depends on these ‘good bacteria’ for a wide range of functions from digestion to immunity. Studies show that probiotics through fermented dairy products or probiotic supplements have a positive effect on vaginal flora balance.

Checkout andMe’s newly launched Probiotic + Prebiotic Drink! It is specifically designed for abnormal discharge, yeast\ bacterial infection, itching & burning! It helps to build healthy gut flora to balance vaginal pH, helps build immunity and also helps fight bacterial or yeast infection.

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