Q. My girlfriends are talking about vajazzling, contouring and bleaching their private parts to make them look more appealing. Is this safe?
There are so many feminine products, books, websites and adverts whose sole purpose is to make people, women in particular, feel bad and inadequate about their external gen!talia, and to then seek methods to alter its appearance.
The idea that v@ginas need some improvement is concerning. V@ginas come in many shapes, sizes and colours and there is no one way for a v@gina to look.
Nonetheless there is an undeniable surge in surgical and non-surgical interventions, and many types of v@ginal modifications which are trending.
Some of these include:
• V@ginal bleaching, done mostly using creams, to make the naturally darker skin tone of the v@gina lighter;
• V@ginal contouring, aka vontouring, which is the non-invasive, non-surgical rejuvenation of the v@ginal muscles and labia;
• Labioplasty, a popular cosmetic surgery, in which the labi@ are reduced in size and made symmetrical;
• Vajazzling, which is the adornment of the pubic area with crystals or other decorations; and
• Passion dust or glitter balls, which are inserted into the v@gina where they dissolve and add flavour and glitter to v@ginal fluids.
There are many products online which promise great results, but one must look at the ingredients – even on so called ‘natural remedies’ – prior to using these on the delicate tissue of the v@gina.
Many types of passion dust, for instance, are edible meaning there is likely sugar in them which can lead to pH imbalances and the development of Candida. There is also the risk that the glitter may migrate into the uterus and fallopian tubes.
It is not advisable to insert foreign products which are not tested for safety, and specifically for the risk of increased likelihood of s.e.xually transmitted infections, into your v@gina.
STAY HEALTHY: KNOW YOUR NORMAL
Every woman needs to know what their “normal” v@gina looks like is so they will know if and when to be concerned.
There is a definite distortion in terms of what people consider to be the normal v@gina, and they often inaccurately refer to the vulva as the v@gina.
The vulva, or external female gen!talia, include the soft fatty tissue called the mons pubis, covered by pubic hair; the opening of the v@gina, the fleshy lips (lab!a majora and lab!a minora); as well as the cl!toris and cl!toral hood. The urethra, which leads to the bladder, the perineum and the @nus are also visible.
There are medical conditions which can alter the appearance of the external gen!talia such as inflammation of the cl!toris, gen!tal ulcers on the vulva or perineum due to sexually transmitted infections, and v@ginitis, which is a change in the normal balance of v@ginal yeast and bacteria and can cause inflammation and redness around the v@gina. Menopause can cause thinning of pubic hair.
Consult your doctor if you notice:
• A change in colour, odour or amount of v@ginal discharge;
• Vulval redness, itching or irritation;
• Vulval bleeding between periods, after s.e.x or after menopause; or
• A mass or bulge in your vagina.
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za.