WARNING: This site features very frank discussion and occasionally explicit images of medical conditions.
Parental guidance is recommended.

Embarrassing Bodies, 1:00am Friday 19th December 2014 on Channel 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.

Hi, I'm 20 and came off my period 5 days ago, after which I had brown discharge, and now its white discharge, I no that's normal but there is alot of discharge!? Please can someone advise? Do I need to seek medical attention?





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I am 23 I have had 2 partners, my boyfriend of 2 years now has only had one Other partner and he got tested before we had sex & now I have this funky looking growth in my vagina, I felt discomfort so I took a look with a mirror and I saw little flesh colored small lumps inside my vagina I'm afraid it's genital warts but my boyfriend doesn't have genital warts and I haven't had a different partner in 4 years. Help please !!!!!!





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Hi. I have had discgarge for a while. Its thin and most on the times white. But it never stops, and now I've got lumps on my vagina and it was itchy before the lumps came. I'm a virgin and I'm 14. I have not started my period yet





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Jess if you haven't had your period yet the discharge is probably because it's coming; girls normally have discharge for about 1 year before you get your first period.

HELP! What is the vaginal opening supposed to look like? I feel like my vaginal opening looks really weird... Like the opening has flaps that look like triangle things. I guess in a way, it almost looks like a flower - only the petal things are pointed. Is this normal? Nothing hurts. Sex doesn't hurt. Nothing like that. Just looks weird to me and l want to know if it's normal. Please help!!





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I've been having this odd feeling in my vagina where it feels like either too much discharge or an air bubble. I always wear a tampon, even when I'm not on my period, because it is the only way I feel comfortable. if I'm not wearing a tampon i sometimes situate my undergarments to sit in my vagina. why is this? any help?





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I get this odd feeling in my vagina. it either feels like there's too much discharge or an air bubble or something. I always wear a tampon, even if I'm not on my period because it is the only way I feel comfortable anymore. if I don't wear a tampon I feel like I have to have something at least near my entrance. sometimes I'll situate my underwear to sit in it just to feel comfortable. why is this? any help?





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I've been having this odd feeling in my vagina and it feels like there is either too much discharge or an air bubble or something. I always wear a tampon, even when I'm not on my period because it's the only way I feel comfortable. it feels like I always have to have something in it to remain comfortable. why? any help?





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Hi the outer lips of my vagina hang quite low betwen my legs. I'm not sure I this is normal or not. They are about 2.5cm long and I am really embarrassed about them because I'm not sure what a "normal"size is.I am 15 and they have been like that since I went through puberty at 13.





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Hey! I'm 17 and a virgin, and I was wondering what is normal for my age in regards to pubic hair down there.As in what do most girls my age do to it (wax,pluck, au natural) I'm pretty self concious about it because I don't know. Please help!





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It's completely up to you. I'm 21 and most girls I know are either completely bare or just a tad of hair called a 'landing strip'. And we do this usually by shaving or waxing. But whether you want au natural, completely bald or just a bit, you do you!

Hi, im only 16 but I am having my first baby I am about 20 weeks pregnant... I have had really bad itching for a while now when my partner had a look for me I had got splits down the edge of my vaginal opening and they were really quite painful. They have healed over time but I have now got a blister directly below my clitoris and it really hurts... I have googled many different things and I really dont know which one to refer to... I should also add that I have just got rid of a water infection which I got told was natural during pregnancy... i have also been using the vagisil creme and wash to try and reduce itching but it hasnt worked much... please help im worried in case it could effect my baby!!!





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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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