10 Things Gynos Are Dying to Tell You About Your Vagina

2. There’s Never a Wrong Time to Get Acquainted with Your Anatomy
“I’m surprised by how many of my patients lack an understanding of their own vaginal anatomy. So many patients tell me they’ve never explored their own vaginas to learn about how things look and what areas provide the most sexual pleasure for them when stimulated. My advice to women is: Explore your vaginal anatomy to understand it better, and if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”—Russell Bartels, M.D., an ob-gyn in Scottsdale, Arizona, and medical director at Scottsdale Center for Women’s Health Vitality Hormones for Men

RELATED: The Most Common Misconceptions Women Have About Their Vaginas 

3. TLC Is Necessary
“Your vagina needs ongoing care, just like you. Take a mirror and check her out at least once a month to make sure it looks like ‘your normal.’”—Octavia Cannon, doctor of osteopathic medicine, a board-certified osteopathic physician, ob-gyn, and co-owner of Arboretum Obstetrics and Gynecology

Watch this video for the dos and don’t’s of vaginal care:

4. Really Smelly Down There? Something’s Probably Up
“The vagina is an amazingly elastic organ, tight enough to accommodate a man’s penis and expandable enough to allow a baby to pass through. It acts like a self-cleaning oven…so odors usually mean there is an infection.”—Mache Seibel, M.D., an ob-gyn and professor at The University of Massachusetts Medical School

5. Your Gut and Your Vagina Are Connected
“A healthy vagina needs a healthy gut. Tunnel-vision treatment of vaginal infection with antifungals or antibiotics is a prescription for more infection and more treatment. A better plan is to eat a healthy diet rich in lactofermented food to keep the gut teeming with beneficial bacteria, which in turn colonize and protect the vagina.”—Jennie Ann Freiman, M.D., an ob-gyn in New York City and curator-in-chief of wellness company OObroo Tips

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6. Your Vag Is Perfect the Way It Is
“Vaginas come in all shapes and sizes. The most perfect vagina is your vagina. Don’t try to change it to look like an ‘ideal’ posted on the internet.”—Elizabeth Chase, M.D., an ob-gyn with Garrison Women’s Health 

7. Your Lady Parts Have a Lot of Power
“I wish my patients knew that their vaginas are beautiful, sensual, and functional organs of their bodies and that not all vaginas are alike. Women are unique on an individual and a cultural basis with their own anatomical ‘spirit,’ and if they embraced the power of their own sexual essence, just like men are able to harness the power of their own sexual essence from their anatomy, we would all have better quality of lives and relationships that last.”—Susan Murrmann, M.D., an ob-gyn with McDonald Murrmann Women’s Clinic

8. You Should Be Picky About Your Products 
“[There’s] lots of stuff I wish women knew. First, vulvar and vaginal tissue is among the most delicate in the body, so don’t use any irritating soaps and perfumes in that area. Next, taking a probiotic like RepHresh Pro-B on a regular basis can be helpful. And finally, the vagina can get dry, but that doesn’t mean women need to suffer. Using a moisturizer like Replens on a regular basis can help maintain vaginal moisture.”—Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., an ob-gyn and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine

RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Vagina Is Going Dry 

9. Discharge Is Totally OK
“I wish women knew that discharge is normal. Like earwax or nasal mucous, it’s a way for the vagina to clean itself. Even normal discharge can have some odor or variable color, but abnormal discharge is usually accompanied by itching or a strong odor.”—Maria Sophocles, M.D., an ob-gyn in Princeton, New Jersey

10. Your Vagina Ages Just Like Your Skin
“The skin in and around the vaginal area is subject to the same aging process as the skin on the face, décolleté, and body. Vaginal skin can become very dry as a woman ages, and there are products available to provide relief of dry vaginal skin, specifically formulated for use on a woman’s delicate, intimate areas. They help firm, soothe, tighten, and moisturize while delivering soothing benefits in a safe and gentle way.”—Ronald Blatt, M.D., an ob-gyn and chief surgeon and medical director of the Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery and the Manhattan Centers for Women’s Health