VAGINA DIALOGUES

 

Your vulva is not your vagina

The vagina is a 3- to 6-inch-long muscular canal that runs from the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, to the outside of the body. The vulva is all the outer stuff — including the labia, urethra, clitoris, and vaginal opening.

You should know the difference because it’s empowering to understand your body’s anatomy and because it might be helpful or even necessary to distinguish between the two.

Vaginas do tear during childbirth, but this is normal

Upwards of 79% of vaginal deliveries include tearing or require an incision. These “injuries” can be minor tears or a longer cut (called an episiotomy) made intentionally by a healthcare provider when, for example, the baby is positioned feet-first or the delivery needs to happen faster.

However, your vagina is resilient and, due to ample blood supply, actually heals quicker than other parts of the body.

Hymens are not necessarily an indicator of virginity.

Most people with vaginas are born with a hymen, a thin piece of skin that stretches across part of the vaginal opening.

Despite what you may have heard, at no point in your life will this piece of skin ‘pop.’ Hymens often tear before a person ever has penetrative sex, during some unsexy activity like riding a bike or putting in a tampon. But it’s also common for the hymen to tear during sex, in which case a bit of blood is to be expected.

Vaginas are supposed to have a smell

This should be common knowledge by now but it’s not. The vagina contains a highly specialized army of bacteria that work to keep your vaginal pH healthy and balanced. And like other bacteria, these do have a smell.

This is totally normal and nothing that needs to be covered up by scented body washes or perfumes. Of course, if you’re noticing a new scent that’s odd or pungent, see a doctor.

The vagina is self-cleaning.

Specialized bacteria exist for the sole purpose of keeping your vaginal pH at an optimal level to ward off other hostile bacteria. It’s totally normally to see discharge — which may be thin or thick, clear or whiteish — in your undies at the end of the day. This is the result of your vagina’s cleaning efforts.

Cleaning techniques like douching are a bad idea because they can throw off this natural balance, leading to problems like bacterial vaginosis, thrush and infection.

Childbirth doesn’t permanently stretch out the vagina

In the days directly after giving birth vaginally, your vagina and vulva will likely feel bruised and swollen. It’s also common for your vagina to feel more open than normal on account of the human that recently passed through.

But don’t worry, the swollenness and openness subsides within a few days.

Although your vagina will likely remain a little wider than it was pre-birth, you can keep your vaginal muscles toned and healthy by practicing regular pelvic floor exercises.

You can still get pregnant if you’re on your period

Many people assume that you cannot get pregnant if you have sex while on your period. However, this is not true.

 Although it’s more unlikely that you will become pregnant while you are menstruating, it is not impossible at all. This is because sperm can survive in the body for up to five or six days — so if you have a relatively short cycle, have sex towards the end of your period, and ovulate just after your period finishes, you could potentially fall pregnant.

Another fun related fact: back in the middle ages, people used to think that redheads were babies who were conceived while their mother was on her period.

The average starting age for periods has changed over the years

 Back in the 1800s, girls wouldn’t get their periods until they were well into their teens — the average age was around 17. Nowadays, the average age to start menstruating is 12.

Scientists think there are a few key reasons for this: namely, improved nutrition. We’re eating better — and more — than our ancestors did a few hundred years ago, and fat cells make estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen you have in your body, which can trigger the start of your menstrual cycle as a girl. Increased stress levels are also a factor as high-stress levels can actually trigger the beginning of your period.

You’re born with all your eggs

You acquire all the eggs you’ll ever need during your time in the womb – even before you’re born! In fact, you’ll start life with more than a couple of million eggs.

As you reach puberty and the menstrual cycle kick-starts, one of these eggs matures each month and is released. All of the extra eggs gradually die off as your biological clock ticks and so this is why you can’t have any more babies once you reach the menopause.

Pads FAQ

Do they smell?

No. The fabric is breathable which allows moisture to evaporate. Less moisture means fewer bacteria to produce smells. As long as you change often enough, this should not be an issue. However bear in mind every woman also has her own natural scent which may be more noticeable to you at certain times of the month.

Are they bulkier?

This depends on the pad. Our normal pads are no bulkier or thicker than a disposable pad, and are no more noticeable when you wear them.

How many will I need?

This depends on your own flow and cycle. In general its recommended between 6 to 12 day pads and 3 – 6 night pads if required.

Will they leak?

Like disposable pads you will need to change your pad before it gets saturated. After a couple of cycles of using them you will become used to how often you need to change your own pad. However if you need a recommendation for normal flow you should look at changing every 3 to 4 hours.

Are they comfy?

Yes! They are soft and breathable, they don’t contain any heat/moisture trapping plastics and no nasty chemicals or bleaches to leave you feeling irritated.

Which way do I wear them?

Soft side up, printed side down!

How to change my pad when I am away from home?

They can be folded over and snapped closed. You can then either pop them in a bag or we also supply PUL fold-over pouches which you can keep them in until you get home.

Can I wear them swimming?

Unfortunately, no, they are too absorbent!

Should I wash them before first use?

Yes. Wash once to help with absorbency.

How do I wash them?

Wash at maximum 40 degrees. we recommend washing out with cold water before machine washing to minimise the chance of staining. Do not bleach. Do not use fabric softener as it can affect absorbency. Do not wash on a hot cycle as this can will set stains. May be tumble dried.

Can I use menstrual pads for incontinence?

No, I recommend using our mild incontinence pads for cases where you leak when sneezing, coughing or jumping etc. as these contain an extra waterproof layer to help hold in fluid. Not recommended however for heavy incontinence. 

Are reusable pads better for the environment?

Single use pads can contribute to 150kg of landfill waste per person in their lifetime. Disposable tampons, pads and applicators are also polluting waterways and harming marine wildlife, according to Nick Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas program at Ocean Conservancy. Mallos said the non-profit collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day in 2015.

girl.png