“You can explore your vulva with your eyes and fingers to get to know its shape, and even smell your own scent,” she continues, “this way you will be aware if anything changes: sudden skin discolouration or moles, lumps or a change in the smell or structure of your discharge.”
If you are experiencing any discomfort on or around your vulva, it’s best to get a doctors opinion.
“Mildly swollen vaginal lips (labia) is often caused by severe thrush (candida / yeast) infection or sometimes allergic reaction to sanitary products or even fabric softener,” says Pradnya Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, “if there is itching and unusual discharge, it is more likely to be thrush. If there is more redness, it may be allergic reaction.”
It’s not a sexy subject, but you should also get familiar with your vaginal discharge so you can keep an eye out for anything abnormal.
“When it comes to vaginal discharge, everybody is different,” says Pradnya, “some women don’t have any, whilst others always have to wear a panty-liner. It can be there at certain times of the cycle or all the time.”
“One rule doesn’t fit all,” she continues, “you should consider seeing a doctor or gynaecologist if discharge changes in colour (yellow, green or even pinkish or red), if there is a strong odour associated with discharge, if it is a significant change from your ‘normal’ pattern or if it is associated with pelvic pain, itching or a change in temperature.”