Do You Feel Confident About Your Vagina? After This Expert's Advice, You Will
Taking control of your health isn't just about staying informed—it's also about raising your hand and speaking up when something feels off. Because if you don't, who will? The problem is, there's one area of the body that most people feel a little "awk" talking about. Yes, we're referring to the famous V word. Say it with us: the vagina.
As little kids, many of us were taught to whisper about our "private parts," so it's no wonder we grew up somewhat ashamed. But it's time we dismantle this silly (and frankly, harmful) cultural norm by owning our vaginas. That means asking the hard-hitting questions and openly leaning on vag-positive resources and products—especially if they have names like Happy Hoo-Ha or Lovin' Libido (props to OLLY). To help get the conversation started, we recruited the help of board-certified reproductive endocrinologist Sheeva Talebian, M.D.
The vag: What's normal?
Understanding your vagina is step No. 1 to vaginal confidence—so we have some questions. Like, what's a "normal" vagina? According to Sheeva, "a healthy vagina does not have one specific look, feel, or smell." But also, discharge can vary throughout our cycle and raise questions.
There's more: "A healthy vagina generally has a slightly moist and elastic tissue," Sheeva explains. "Depending on the point in the menstrual cycle (or use of hormonal contraception), the discharge can vary from thin and watery to thicker and creamier. Typically there is not much of an odor, but odors can also be normal and healthy depending on the time of the cycle," says Sheeva. The takeaway? Normal is a spectrum that your doc can help you navigate.
The biome between your legs
We've all heard of the gut microbiome, but it's time for the vaginal microbiome to shine. The vaginal microbiome is filled with microorganisms that help keep the balance down there. "Environmental and lifestyle factors can impact your gut health in the same way they can impact your vaginal health—specifically the pH balance and the normal 'flora' that keep it healthy," Sheeva added.
And just like with the gut microbiome, probiotics help to keep our vaginal microbiome at homeostasis. Specifically, Sheeva mentioned Lactobacilli, good bacteria in your GI tract that also supports your vaginal canal, helping to keep your vaginal tissue happy. OLLY makes a probiotic blend with two vag-friendly strains of Lactobacilli that work to ensure a balance of good bacteria and vaginal pH levels.* Happy Hoo-Ha is a must in our book—because who doesn't want to keep their hoo-ha happy?
Let's talk about sex, baby
"A negative relationship with your vagina and sex go hand in hand, and both can lead to sadness, anxiousness, and even a dampened mood. Making sure your vagina feels good is crucial to enjoying your sexuality," explained Sheeva. Sexual desire, in particular, is driven by your hormones and the brain. "Stress and feelings of anxiousness can kill the libido."
Whether it's vaginal shame or the millions of other things we have going on, it can be hard to turn off the noise when our partner comes at us with that lustful look in their eyes. But if you're having trouble getting in the mood, there are supplements that can help to rev the engine a bit. For instance, OLLY's Lovin' Libido contains a powerful blend of botanicals that help boost desire, enhance arousal, and even support sexual satisfaction in women.* And yes, they offer a subscription option (please and thank you).
You know there's a social issue when people are more inclined to speak up about changes in their bowel habits than they are about their vaginal health. Health is holistic in nature, which means: no body part left behind. Owning vaginal health means daring to talk about it (out loud). The more we do, the closer we get to living our best and healthiest lives.
We can push for a more open dialogue around vaginal and sexual health until we're blue in the face, but at the end of the day, you are your own best advocate. Seek out the information, talk to your friends, ask your doctor, and utilize products like OLLY to help you along the way. But whatever you do, don't stay silent—your vagina needs you!
Ryan Brady is a Freelance Writer at mindbodygreen. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Yale University and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology with concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice, from Columbia University.
Ryan is passionate about holistic health, fitness, and spiritually-centered living. She loves using her knowledge and personal experience to help others improve their well-being. She brings this passion to her writing, as well as to her work at the wellness centers she owns in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not working, Ryan can be found traveling, spoiling her dog, or experimenting with gluten free, dairy free baking.