The outside area of a female's genitals is called the vulva. The visible bits include the labia (outer and inner lips), the clitoris, the entrance to the vagina, and you can just make out the opening of the urethra (wee hole). On the inside there is the vagina and, at its end, the cervix. Vulvas and labias come in all shapes and sizes—they are as individual as you are.
Bumps or pimples on the labia can be a number of things. A 'skin structure', also known as 'skin tags', on the surface can feel like a bump or pimple. These could also be genital warts or genital herpes, which are both caused by viruses and generally transmitted through unsafe sexual activities. Warts will usually go away, although it can take several months or years. If bumps or pimples cause any pain or discomfort, or appear suddenly, it's important to see a doctor or a nurse.
A virgin is someone who has not had sexual intercourse. Many people associate virginity with the presence of a hymen, which is a thin tissue covering the opening of the vagina. However, the hymen is usually broken quite naturally through exercise, such as riding a bike, or from using tampons. Until someone has had sexual intercourse they are still a virgin, regardless of whether they have a hymen, practice foreplay, use tampons or have pap smears.
All girls have discharge from their vagina, which is completely healthy and normal. The vagina has its own self-cleaning mechanism. The discharge flushes dead cells from the vaginal lining as well as lubricates the vagina. Discharge is usually a clear or milky-white substance that can either be slippery or sticky. This discharge will change in amount and consistency depending on the time in the girl's cycle. Sometimes the discharge has a slight odour, but the smell is not unpleasant.
The most important thing is to get to know what is normal for you at the different times in your cycle. If you notice any changes in colour, smell or texture, get it checked out. Vaginal infections such as gardnerella and candidiasis (thrush) are quite common and can be caused by a number of things, such as antibiotics, or using douches, sprays or soaps. These infections are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and can be treated with anti-fungal medications.
STIs are infections passed from person to person during sexual activity, including genital rubbing, oral sex etc. The most common signs of STIs are itching, painful sores or blisters, unusual discharge, unusual odour, warts, burning or discomfort when peeing, fever, tiredness and sore throat (from unsafe oral sex).
This fact sheet was developed for Somazone by Robyn Drysdale, Manager of Education Research and Development, Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 November 2013 09:39 )|