The vagina doesn’t exist. They’re all


Let’s talk vaginas – because they really don’t get talked about enough in a way that isn’t embarrassing or objectifying.

First up: what’s the difference between the vagina and the vulva?

Basically, the vulva is the outer parts of the genitals and the opening to the vagina, the parts you can see, and the vagina itself is one of the inside parts. Yep, one. It’s not a collective term for the whole genital anatomy.

1. Mons pubis
2. Clitoris
3. Opening to the Urethra
4. Opening to the Vagina
5. Labia Minora
6. Labia Majora

The vagina is a muscular tube that extends from this opening to the cervix (the lower part of the womb). In this image, the only visible part is the vaginal opening – not to be confused with the urethra, where wee comes out, which is just above it.

The vagina is where period blood and discharge comes from, where tampons and menstrual cups are inserted, and where babies are born through (it’s very elastic).

1. Vagina
2. Urethra
3. Clitoris
4. Bladder
5. Cervix
6. Fallopian tube
7. Ovary
8. Ureter
9. Uterus
10. Rectum
11. Anus

Some transgender women choose to undergo ‘bottom surgery’, which is when a surgeon constructs a vagina for them. These are sometimes referred to as neovaginas and are often constructed using skin from the penis and scrotum, or part of the colon.

Now, let’s debunk some vagina myths.

Vagina Myth 1

Not true. The market for feminine hygiene products is a multi-billion pound industry that includes products promising to ‘firm’ and ‘rejuvenate’ the vagina. The truth is, nobody’s vagina needs a makeover. It takes care of itself perfectly well.

In fact, the vagina is self-cleaning, so it doesn’t need lots of washing, or douching or steaming as some would have us believe. Overwashing may result in dry skin, while douching and steaming may lead to an increased risk of infection.

Just like every other body part, each vagina’s shape and size can vary, and is unique to the body it is a part of.

Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% w/w cream contains clotrimazole. Always read the label.

Vagina Myth 2

Not true. These things can help to tell you whether everything is fine, or if something’s not quite right in your vagina, but they’re never anything to be ashamed about.

All vaginas produce discharge. This is how the vagina cleans itself. The type of discharge, particularly if this varies from what is ‘normal’ for you, gives you a good idea of whether what’s going on up there is all good, or needs attention. It’s important to understand your own discharge so you can identify when something isn’t right.

Vaginas get dry and itchy sometimes – there’s no reason to be worried about this. Dryness and itchiness could be signs of an infection, but don’t worry if this turns out to be the case. Very often, infections can be triggered by everyday things, like wearing tight, sweaty clothing, or using bubble bath, and they can usually be easily treated. You should speak to your doctor if you’re ever worried about symptoms.

Taking testosterone as part of the gender transitioning process can cause vaginal dryness and irritation.

While the vagina is capable enough to take care of itself, there are still ways to support vaginal health, like boosting the body’s immune system.

Some of the ways you can help your immune system are:

  • Eat a varied diet with lots of fruit and veg
  • Moderate exercise e.g. walking, swimming, yoga
  • Stay hydrated e.g. by drinking water
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Get enough sleep for 8-10 hours a night is recommended for teens

Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% w/w cream contains clotrimazole. Always read the label.

Vagina Myth 3

Not true. The vagina is supported by muscles, which contract and relax just like any other muscles – and sex doesn’t loosen your vaginal muscles in a long-term way.

Who has a vagina?

A collection of people with different gender identities, who all have a vagina.

All of the people you see above and below have a vagina. However, not all of them identify or present themselves as female. People who don’t identify as female, might be trans men, non-binary or intersex.

People with DSD (Differences in Sex Development), sometimes called intersex people, are born with reproductive organs and genitals that are different from what’s expected of their chromosomes. For example, they have XY chromosomes, usually associated with being male, but their genitals may look different than expected or have characteristics that are associated with being female.

People who identify as trans or non-binary can access specialist healthcare. Terrence Higgins Trust has a directory of resources for trans and non-binary people.

Whether you have a vagina or not, it’s important to know the facts.

There is still a sense of mystery and taboo surrounding vaginas, which leads to misinformation and shame. It’s very important to spread realistic and healthy attitudes so that everyone is able to feel confident and happy in their bodies, regardless of their experiences.

Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% w/w cream contains clotrimazole. Always read the label.