It sounds cliché, but it actually couldn't be more true: The vagina is the giver of all love and life. Let's be real, this one body part is capable of some amazing things — and the world would come to a grinding halt should they all happen to disappear.
And like most things in this world that are filled with majesty and power, vaginas are also kinda shrouded in mystery. Even most of us who have one can get kind of confused by them at times — despite the fact they are usually trying to clue us in to what's going on with them. That's right, if you don't know what you should be listening for, chances are you may not hear what your vagina has to say.
In that spirit, here are eight things she might be trying to tell you. So, you know, listen up.
1. I hate your laundry detergent
If you're having trouble with irritation to your skin down there, it could have everything to do with the laundry detergent you're using — vulvar skin is delicate, so anything containing perfumes or dyes can quite literally rub your lady parts the wrong way. Opt instead for unscented varieties and skip the dryer sheets altogether.
2. Hey, lady — you're ovulating
Whether you're trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid getting pregnant, you'd probably do well to know your vagina's cues that you're ovulating and are, therefore, particularly fertile. In fact, if you've noticed a recent uptick in your discharge, chances are good your vaj is trying to clue you in to that phenomenon right this minute. Why? It just so happens ovulating women have 30 times more discharge than during any other time of the month.
3. Your eggo is preggo
Maybe you really did miss it when your vagina tried to tell you that you were ovulating and, well, that thing that sometimes happens as a result of ovulation happens: You become pregnant. Most people recognize a missed period as one of your vagina's most obvious attempts to alert you to a pregnant state but, as with ovulating, it also kicks discharge into hyperdrive. This is due to increased estrogen levels during pregnancy.
4. Please start peeing after sex
If you're in a committed relationship, you may no longer rush to the toilet post-romp with the urgent notion "peeing will flush out any rogue swimmers that may impregnate me." (That couldn't have just been something I did, right?) But it turns out your vagina might be trying to tell you to get your bum out of the bed and revive the post-coital pee. This is because having sex can cause anal bacteria — icky, I know — to creep into the bladder, which subsequently can cause a UTI. Peeing before and after intercourse helps cleanse your urethra opening of bad bacteria. Point taken, vagina. Point taken.
5. Yo, lay off the carbs
You love carbs. I love carbs. You know who doesn't love carbs? You guessed it — your vagina. Super sigh. So what does your vagina have against the holy grail of the food groups which includes everything from biscuits and bagels to pizza and pasta? Apparently, the high sugar content in carb-loaded foods causes a spike in glucose levels. This promotes the growth of a fungus known as Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections.
6. You should probably see a doctor
Sometimes, your vagina gives you signs that just can't be ignored. Certain symptoms, while they may be nothing at all, can be your vagina's way of telling you that it's time to get to a doctor. If you notice irregular bleeding, itching, irritation, pain or discharge that is green, yellow or white and curd-like, it's time to call your doc.
7. Something's out of whack
Your vagina is one tough chick, but even she is susceptible to infection or general malaise. Whether it's just an odor that doesn't seem quite right or simply some discomfort, your vagina might sense she needs a little backup. A vaginal gel such as RepHresh works to maintain a healthy vaginal pH, which reduces the risk of vaginal issues.
8. You're having an orgasm (and you are welcome)
Hopefully this is one conversation you and your vagina have frequently. However, if you're not quite sure or just haven't gotten to that point yet, fret not — your vagina wants you to know when you reach the big "O." When the moment is near, you'll notice a whole lotta wetness down there, as well as a pleasurably tingly sensation due to engorgement of the pelvic area. What you may not notice is that your labia will flatten out and open up and inside your vagina will actually lengthen and widen in preparation for, well, you know. Once you climax, rhythmic contractions will course out from the vagina seemingly into your entire body. Congrats! Now thank your vaj; she totally just did you a solid.
Originally published May 2016. Updated May 2017.