Here at Health, we're dedicated to educating women about the facts on all things vagina-related. Yet rumors and misinformation about this amazing organ just refuse to die—as gynecologists who field questions from their patients based on some longstanding myths can attest.
Will my vagina be permanently stretched out after I “These are things I get asked about all the time,” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, New York–based ob-gyn and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V.
In the interest of busting the most persistent vagina rumors and boosting your sexual health smarts, we asked leading gynos to tell us the most common hoo-ha myths they hear from their patients—and then had them put these tall tales to rest.
To fight germs, your vagina needs specialcleansers
Too many of the wrong kind of germs can be harmful to your vagina, true. But the incredible thing about your lady flower is that it has its own self-cleaning mechanism to keep bad bacteria and microbes at bay while allowing beneficial bugs to thrive, says Dr. Dweck. Vagina body wash, perfumed soap, douche—none of these cleansing products are necessary and can potentially upset the pH balance in the vagina, allowing harmful germs to breed.
The only washing you need to do is a quick lather with a plain or gentle soap using a washcloth or your hand, says Dr. Dweck. Then rinse with clean water to get rid of the suds. Once or twice a day works, plus after getting sweaty at the gym. Sitting around and letting the sweat dry around your crotch could set you up for a fungal infection, like a yeast infection.
Crazy-itchy discharge? Must be a yeast infection
While infections are super common, and intense itching, redness, and a curd-like are telltale signs, other vaginal infections have similar symptoms, says Dr. Dweck. Assuming you have a yeast infection and running to the drugstore to pick up anti-yeast cream means you waste precious time medicating yourself with a product that may not work. In the meantime, whatever it is you do have could be getting worse.
The right move: hightail it to your gyno's office, describe your symptoms, and let her give you the right diagnosis. Conditions that mimic yeast infections include an allergic reaction to scented down-below products, the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis, brought on by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina.
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Your vagina will bepermanently stretched out after giving birth
Your vagina does change after you have a baby, but it's not like a worn-out sports bra that loses its elasticity forever. How much it depends on a handful of different factors, including the duration of labor and the size of your newborn.
The good news? "Having a baby does cause the vaginal muscles to loosen, but they often naturally bounce back over time," says Leena Nathan, MD, ob-gyn at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. If you're anxious to speed up the vagina muscle recovery process, Kegel exercises are a good way to start.
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The G-spot isn't a real thing
The existence of the G-spot has long been debated. Women who have one and experts who study the G describe it as a small, spongy area located on the front vaginal wall about midway between the vaginal opening and cervix. But a 2012 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine concluded that "objective measures have failed to provide strong and consistent evidence for the existence of an anatomical site that could be related to the famed G-spot."
So while there's no separate organ called the G-spot that works like a sexual pleasure button, Dr. Nathan confirms that this area inside the vagina does consist of "bundles of nerve fibers" that she says can certainly increase sexual pleasure. Whether a woman can tap into the pleasure this spot is able to produce seems to come down to how sensitive you are. "Some people are just more sensitive than others," Dr. Nathan adds.
Hanging out in yoga pants will land you an infection
This myth might stem from the fact that sitting around in sweaty clothes post-workout, especially those made from bacteria-loving synthetic fabrics, isn't exactly vagina-friendly. But there's nothing specific to yoga pants that makes them more capable of triggering an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast and resulting in an infection.
That said, always covering your hoo-ha with tight manmade material can make you feel itchier than if you wore loose boxers or went commando. “It’s important that the vulva and vagina get to breathe and aren’t suffocated by fabric all the time,” says Dr. Dweck. So get out of damp workout clothes or any other tight pants or leggings as soon as you can and consider sleeping sans underwear too, she suggests.