When it comes to ageing, few body parts go through quite so much over the course of an average lifetime as the humble vagina. Changes to collagen production and hormone levels bring about natural changes from puberty through to the menopause, which can, of course, be exacerbated by sex, pregnancy, childbirth, and even certain cancer treatments. So what kind of changes can you expect, and what can you do to keep your vagina healthy throughout your life? Incontinence , or the involuntary leakage of urine, is a common issue that can affect women of all ages, but it does become more common with age. Many women begin to notice it during pregnancy or after vaginal delivery, because of the stress childbirth places on the pelvic floor muscles and urethral sphincter. As your vagina ages, and the structure is strained by traumas like childbirth, that entrance to your wee tube goes from being round to quite long and pouty," explains urology nurse Emma Soos, the managing director of The Women's Health Clinic. These anatomical changes can also put you at increased risk of urinary tract infections UTIs , but can often be treated with lifestyle changes. The vagina also changes according to fluctuating hormone levels, Soos explains.
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Vaginas — or more accurately, vulvas, and all their components — come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. And unless your normal involves pain or discomfort , everything is likely fine. Still unsure? Take a look at these pictures of real vulvas to get a sense of how varied genitalia can really be, and read on to learn more. Unless you go bare , your mons pubis area is typically home to your pubic hair. It also protects from other injury. The size of your mons pubis depends on your overall body weight and type. People with different body types accumulate fat in different areas, so there really is no average.
It can help with body image anxiety. Now, her latest work puts vulvas and vaginas in the spotlight thanks to her new book Womanhood: The Bare Reality and forthcoming Channel 4 documentary: Vaginas. And when women share intimate photos and deeply personal experiences relating to their vaginas, the result is a tender yet taboo-exploding message of women reclaiming their womanhood. I think a part of me was shying away from that intimacy because I would have to address my own related experiences. The correct language and understanding of female genitalia is so important to me: the vulva is the whole external package, the vagina is a muscular tube which leads from the cervix the neck of the womb down to the vulva.
In yet more evidence of the fetishisation of youth, the people carrying out labia puffing say that ageing and weight loss can cause the amount of fat around your vagina to decrease, which apparently leaves it looking a bit sad. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, labia puffing works by injecting hyaluronic acid into the labia majora. Dr Walden, a spokesperson for the society, tells Metro. Let us say then that ideally you would not worry about the appearance of your labia. As Dr Crouch says, they come in all shapes and sizes, and they are all beautiful and need not have anything injected into them. Dr Crouch also says that changes in the way the vagina feels can be caused by pelvic organ prolapse, something that is quite common in older women.