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Vagina Health: What is your vagina telling you?

Vaginas are said to be very mysterious... but they don't have to be as cryptic as they seem. The truth is, most of us are seriously lacking in knowledge when it comes to our own vagina. There is a whole world of knowledge that you can learn just by knowing your own body. That's why we've put together a guide to help you stay on top of your own health and well-being by taking notes from your vagina. Let's start!!

What is your discharge telling you?

One of the loudest ways your vagina communicates is through discharge. If you've ever sat on the toilet and noticed a sticky, creamy secretion smearing your underwear, you've gotten up close and personal with your own vaginal discharge. You may think there is something wrong at first, but vaginal discharge is completely normal and an indicator of vaginal health.

The discharge produced by the cervix can vary depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, whether you are pregnant, or have an STI or infection.

Typical discharge is clear to pale white or yellow, and its consistency often varies throughout your menstrual cycle. If you notice a yellowish or green discharge and it is accompanied by a foul odor, your best option is to get it checked by a doctor as this may indicate a problem.

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What does the color of your menstrual blood tell you?

Another way your vagina communicates is through your menstrual cycle. Although we usually think of period blood as red, your bleeding can have a variety of colors, depending on what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in. Knowing the color range is important because some shades can give you clues about your health.

If it's black or brown, you're usually looking at stale blood trapped inside that's about to leave your uterus. Don't worry unless this black or brown blood is accompanied by pain, odor, or itching. Brown blood is very common during spotting or towards the end of your period.

Do you have dark red menstrual blood? You'll probably see this when you first wake up in the morning or toward the end of your bleed. It happens when your period slows down and is usually a sign that the blood is not that fresh.

It is common to see bright red blood at the beginning of your period each month. It signals that the blood is flowing fresh and fast and usually accompanies your heaviest discharge days. Keep this in mind if bright red bleeding occurs between your periods, which may be cause for concern.

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Pink or orange period blood can occur at the beginning or end of your period, which is often a sign that blood is mixing with cervical fluid. Pink spotting between periods may indicate low estrogen levels. It's important to note that sometimes orange blood that has an odor or a strange consistency can indicate a sexually transmitted disease.

Finally, gray menstrual blood is extremely rare and should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Especially if you are experiencing itching, pain, odor, or fever, it may indicate an infection.

What does the smell of your vagina tell you?

Our vaginas sometimes smell – it's true. If you live in a very hot, tropical climate or are in the middle of hot summer days, the smell of vagina may attract your attention. Most musky, sweaty, vagina-like odors are completely normal, and our odors fluctuate often during our cycle. Diet, sex and exercise may also play a role. But when is a smell abnormal?

Although 'bad smell' can be difficult to describe, if your instincts are telling you there's something wrong with the way your vagina smells, make an appointment with your doctor. “Bad” odors can indicate bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, STIs, an allergic reaction to soap, and in rare but serious cases, cervical or vaginal cancer.

What does the pain in your vagina tell you?

Vaginas can sometimes be painful, but that doesn't mean it's completely normal. If you notice that your vagina is irritated, uncomfortable, itchy or swollen, there may be something going on there. Vaginal pain can also result from pelvic floor dysfunction after birth.

Is sex suddenly painful? This is another problem that needs attention and you should go to the doctor immediately.

In general, you should listen to yourself well and not skip going for check-ups as often as your doctor recommends.

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