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

Embarrassing Bodies, 12:10am Thursday 5th March 2015 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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I gave birth on the 21st of February then on the 24th went for 3days check up....I got stitch and when the nurse was checking she inserted the finger wrong because when I got home it was painful and when I check with a mirror its wide open so I didn't went to the doctor thought mayb I will be fine but its getting worse can you please help me





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Hi I am 23. I have recently and all of a sudden got chronic pain in my vulva and inside my vagina. I cannot use tampons, it hurts to urinate and sex is just impossible. It has swollen up so there is barely even a vagina entrance so I can't even use tampons. I'm fed up and it is ruining my new relationship. The skin on the entrance seems redder and thicker





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I am 16 and have had sex with one person and I felt really awkward due to having one labia bigger than the other-significantly. It hurts sometimes when having sex and I feel inhibited to do other things sexually because I don't want them to notice and laugh of be disgusted or something. I feel awkward going to my doctor. It really gets me down although it shouldn't. It really shouldn't bug any of us teenagers this much, our society makes us feel like this when we shouldn't because we are all fine the way we are it's just because of how judgemental people can be..:(:(





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Hi I'm 15 and I have a problem, I've had this situation for about 4-5 months now and I've kept it to myself for a very long Time. I have a lump that is sort of in/out of my Virginia and its getting to the point where i can hardly sit down its that uncomfortable. It is really unpleasant to look at, it hurts during and after sex and all I want is answers! So please help me.





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Hi I'm 15 and I need to know if my vagina is normal, I feel like its not because I have biggish labia (Vagina lips) and it's been bugging me and I just need to know if this is normal and do I need to do anything about it?





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I'm 16, a virgin and my vaginal opening is bumpy and sort of saggy. I don't know if this is a normal thing since most vaginal openings seem to be smooth.





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im 15 i have started my period and im a virgin and i get regular white discharge coming out of my vagina, when i look atmy vagina its slightly white and around the area and inside there are fleshy lumps and you cant see in to my vagina at all .. aswell as this i have a very inlarged inner lips ( i dont know what theyre called) that stick out alot and have strange rigid areas around the top.. i really dont know whats happened & it gets quite itchy and irritating sometimes ; please can someone help





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I'm 16 and I'm a bit overweight... And I have lots of thick hair all around my vagina upto my buttocks. I'm not sure what to do, I feel Ashamed because it feels like it's a bush down there! The hair is on every corner of skin in that area. I'm too scared to shave or use removal cream down there as I'm afraid I might infect or damage my genital organs or sensitive areas + I cannot shave or remove all hair from all corners down there as I cannot reach and see them all. Any advice on what to do? I'm getting worried if fungi might start growing there too so I need to remove the hair permanently of temporarily asap?





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I've had sex a few times with different parteners and I've noticed this small lump inside the flaps of skin where the vaginal opening is it's painful and I'm worried I've googled it but I haven't found one like the one I have





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I'm 14 and I'm a virgin there's a boy want wants to have sex with me and in scared because my inner flap things come out more then my outta ones they don't hang but show everything and it's very ugly and I try hide them but they just roll out and I don't like wearing swimmers cause my vagina looks like a weird shape in them like I have a dick please right back as soon as possible. I'm think he'll judge me and call me ugly





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Honey I honestly think you should wait. You're a bit young, most people I know who have lost it at that age regret it deeply. And it seems that he just wants sex. You should wait until you find a guy that wants to be with you, sex or no sex, and that likes you as much as you like him. It will be much more enjoyable then. Also, with how obviously self conscious you are, you are going to beat yourself up inside after it. It's just going to be stressful for you, and that's not how things should be. Especially if you think this guy will call you ugly or dislike you, then he's definitely not the one to go all of the way with. Maybe you can talk to your parents or your doctor, it may be a fixable problem you're having down there. Just please wait for someone who cares about you and don't make the same mistake so many other people do. I mean, how much fun do you think it'll be if you're just self conscious the whole time? Hang in there, alright? Everyone looks different down there. Just wait it out. If it really is as huge of an issue as you believe it to be, I'm positive a doctor can fix things up for you.





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