The vagina is an interesting part of the female body, not just because men can die to have a go at it, but also because it’s an organ that assumes a life of its own as a woman progresses in age, from birth t0 death.
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Dr Alyssa Dweck, says just like the male sex organ, the vagina also changes as a woman ages.
The changes are absolutely normal, she assures.
Naturally, vaginas differ. Individual body’s responses to natural phenomena such as puberty, pregnancies and menopause differ also. So, how does the vagina fare through the ages? Here…
When you are in your 30s…
- Dweck says if you use birth control pills, by the time you enter your 30s, you may experience some dryness, probably because the pills prevent ovulation, hence disallowing you to have natural lubrication whenever you are ovulating.
- During pregnancy, your vagina may develop varicose veins. The weight of the baby in the womb is mainly responsible for this and it will clear after delivery.
- A healthy vulva is bright red, but this colour may assume a dark hue due to the hormones that your body releases during pregnancy.
- Depending on how the labour goes at child delivery, muscle and nerve damage can occur if the person taking your delivery isn’t skilled enough. So, always patronise good hospitals.
As you enter 40s
- If you were fond of assaulting your pubic region by shaving off your pubic hairs all the time, now that you are in your 40s, you may notice unusual pigmentation in that area.
- Because oestrogen is getting shorter in supply because of your age, the hair may naturally start thinning out.
- You are perimenopausal now, so, you may start losing elasticity down there, and dryness is a lot more pronounced.
In your 50s
- By now, the oestrogen begins to diminish more rapidly, causing you to experience thinner, less elastic, drier vulva and vagina tissue.
- Did you like sex in your 20s and 30s? Now you may start wondering how you survived it all, what with the fact that sexual encounters can now feel as if someone rubs sandpaper on your vagina wall or cause immense irritation.
- Your vulva steadily loses fat and collagen, making your vagina to shrink.
- The pH balance changes drastically, as the acidity of the vagina quickly sends the good bacteria packing, making you be susceptible to infections.
- The vagina becomes less flexible at this age, and tears are a lot more common during sex if you are not well lubricated.
In your 60s
- Menopause is fully here.
- Hot flashes and night sweats are regular companions and you need to work round them.
- The connective tissues holding the uterus, cervix, or even the bowels become loose, making those body parts to droop.
- In severe cases, those body parts may actually protrude out of the vagina, necessitating repair surgery.
The bottom line: If you are worried about changes to your body as you age, see the doctor.
Adapted from Prevention