WARNING: This site features very frank discussion and occasionally explicit images of medical conditions.
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Embarrassing Bodies, 11:10pm Monday 21st April 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Video

Anthony Quinlan: Mott

Boy 1: Naughty, i’ve heard it called –

Boy 2: Really?

Boy 1: The lady’s naughty.

Anthony Quinlan: Poonanie

Hollie Jay-Bowes: I think my friend’s called hers Rachel.

Kent Riley: Pink velvet sausage wallet

********

Dr Dawn: If you don’t use the word vagina, you almost certainly don’t talk about your vulva.

The vulva is all the bits you can see on the outside of a woman’s genitalia: the area covered by pubic hair, the outer and inner lips surrounding the vaginal opening called the labia majora and minora, the clitoris and the opening of the urethra which is where we wee through;

And just as no two penises are the same, no two vulvas are the same.

Some are wrinkly and some are smooth. Some pink, some brown. Some girls have large labia, others small.

And the only way you’ll come to know what’s normal for you is if you regularly look and feel.

*******

Girl 1: I think what worries a girl most about it is like you don’t normally talk about stuff like that and it’s embarrassing to ask someone like their parents or their friends

Girl 2: I think if people did talk more about it they would not worry half as much because they would realise everyone’s different and everything’s never the same.

*******

On this website there’s a video showing you how to check your vulva.

Hundreds of thousands of people have watched it and women, from their teens up to their fifties and older, have left comments and questions.

With vaginas a big concern is size. Girls who experience pain during sex; or have difficulty inserting a tampon, commonly worry that their vagina is too small.

But it won’t be. When we get nervous we tense up. And this will make the vagina tighten.

The more relaxed you are the more comfortable inserting a tampon or having sex will be.

The vagina is the passage that connects the woman’s internal reproductive organs to the outside world.

When a man and a woman have sex – it’s where the penis enters. And when a woman has a baby the vagina expands so the baby can be born.

Another common worry is that discharge means your vagina’s dirty. It’s actually the opposite.

Discharge is your vagina’s way of keeping itself clean, free from infection and lubricated.

If your vagina is dry, you could try using lubricant or vaginal pessary available from chemists to make the vagina more comfortable during sex or masturbation.

And yes I did say the ‘M’ word.

Masturbation is not just for boys !

To keep your vagina and vulva healthy…

Wear cotton underwear, it will keep you cool and dry ñ bacteria thrives in damp, warm environments!

Go knicker-free at night.

Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, swimsuits or gym kit for prolonged periods

Don’t use perfumed soaps, gels, talcs or bubble baths as these can irritate the vagina.

If you get an infection take the medication as directed and complete the treatment even if you think the infection’s gone.

Avoid sex until an infection has cleared.

After going to the loo always wipe from front to back.

And ALWAYS practise safe sex.

If you do notice any changes, unusual lumps, bumps, spots or sores.

Or if your discharge differs in consistency, colour or smell from your norm – make an appointment to see your doctor.

It could be something as simple as thrush or bacterial vaginosis but it needs checking out especially if you have had unprotected sex.

On this site you’ll find a self-checker for STI’s with information about symptoms for all kinds of infections.

Don’t be embarrassed – your doctor will have seen thousands of Vulvas and vaginas. It really is all in a day’s work for us

Read the video transcript

Am I Normal: Vagina

Dr Dawn Harper discusses what is normal when it comes to vaginas, looking at everything from discharge and childbirth, to the normal variations in vulval appearance. The video also includes discussions with teenagers from around the country and the cast of Hollyoaks.

If you’d prefer to watch this video on your mobile, then download our specially produced version for your mobile phone from the Channel 4 Mobile site.

Just text Normal to 84444

Texts and data are charged at your standard network rate.
Terms and Conditions at channel4.com/mobile

If you think your child may be going through early puberty, check our guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

With thanks to:
Hollyoaks
University of Birmingham Hockey Club
Llanelli Youth Theatre
Tetbury Hospital

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Comments and Questions

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

im 16, i have this weird flesh thing on the upper of my vaginal opening and below my urethra. When i first noticed it, it was almost transparent and pretty medium size, looks like a very small inflated penis, but now its not as big, been having it for a month, and it hurts if i touch it hard. help scared to tell my mom





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im 16, i have this weird flesh thing on the upper of my vaginal opening and below my urethra. When i first noticed it, it was almost transparent and pretty medium size, looks like a very small inflated penis, but now its not as big, been having it for a month, and it hurts if i touch it hard. help scared to tell my mom





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I am 18.. when I masturbate I get pain.. I could insert more than 2 finger.it hurts.. n I m having a very small clit.i cant even insert a finger properly.how will I intercourse. I m a pure virgin.please help





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im not over weight as such but im really self concious about my vagina, its quite flabby and fat? is this normal for teenage girls? and what can i do to make it flat?





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I have had 4 children 3 natural and 1 c-section and when i have sex/make love it feels quite loose, is this normal and how can i tighten my vagina again please help i want to enjoy it again with my partner





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So, I have not have sex, but my boyfriend and I like to do other things. Lately we have been discussing having sex after we get married. I am very much in favor if this. I am scared to go any further because just one finger hurts and I'm not sure if that is supposed to happen or not. When I look in a mirror, I can't tell if my hymen is broken or not. From what I have seen in diagrams and such, my vaginal opening looks much different than normal. The tissue around the opening is sensitive to touch and even painful if it gets dry. It's raised, not flat, like an actual ring on top of the opening. The opening itself looks big enough for a tampon. I'm very confused about the shape of everything, it looks quite thick and I'd imagine tearing it in any way would be very painful. Should I see a doctor?





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im 14 abd have been on my period for about 1 and a half years but it really hurts when i try to insert a tampon, what can i do? ( i don't want to use anything else except a tampon)





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hey so first things first i have something called assbergers wich is a form of autism . and the thing with me is sometimes i get to over crazy about my body and am very awkward about talking about my private area but this is scaring me. you see i masterbate alot im seventeen with raging hormones and dont want to get pregnant by doing the real thing so today i did and i looked down there later when i pead and on my outer vaginal area between the upper thigh and my vaginal area and i saw i bunch of tears on the most tender part of the inner thigh i guess . it really worrys me cause i used to cut when i was younger but this hurts ten times worse cause its in that place and if i tell my mom shell think ive cut again or worse find out im masterbating in the first place but it hurts so much and i think ive really hurt my self this time cause i have a bunch of inner vaginal scarring . very scared and need help thanks for listening





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My clit is very saggy and it looks like it's got fat hanging off it I'm worried if boys will be put off by it I'm a virgin and I often mastrubate a lot by I don't finger myself I don't get any pleasure from it but I do when I rub myself is this normal?





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Yes is very normal, no ones vagina's are the same, like no mans penis are the same. I have the exact same and i hate it, but if you find someone who loves you enough they will accept it, or you can go to the docotor and get cream c;

My vigina 'leaks' this white goo and it gets in my underwear and hardens and pulls my vigina hair out. This goo gets all over me and I hate it. It also burns when I urinate. I am a thirteen year old virgin who really needs answers... Can you help me??? But I really don't want to see a doctor or tell my parents. I haven't started my period tho and iI need answers. Please help me!!!





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If it burns when you urinate you should see a doctor. Discharge is common for up to several years before your period starts, but if it is smelly, white and clumpy or you are in pain it could be thrush, possibly combined with a urinary tract infection. It is really common (I get them about once a year)and easily treatable. Try to talk to your parents, if not see a doc. Don't just leave it though, it won't help. In the meantime, keep clean down there, put in a thin pad if it will stop your underwear getting nasty, drink plenty of water and try drinking cranberry juice which is said to help urine infections.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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