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Despite the displays of female sexuality on the Internet, and scantily clad pop stars and models, the word vagina seems to remain taboo.
In fact, myths and misinformation seem to surround the vagina. For example, you might read on the web that the hymen — the membrane that partially covers the opening of the vagina and breaks during first intercourse — can grow back if you don’t have sex for a long while. It can't.
Also, there hasn’t been much resolution concerning female ejaculation. The medical community still can’t determine whether it exists, yet evidence — some of it dating to nearly 2,000 years ago — suggests that the phenomenon is real.
To separate fact from fiction and myth from reality, we've rounded seven facts worth knowing about a woman’s nether regions.
The vagina is just one part of a women’s private partsSlide 2 of 15
The vagina is just one part of a women’s private parts
Sometimes, a woman's entire genital region is referred to as the vagina. But in fact, the vagina is just a part of the package, so to speak. The outer portion of a woman’s privates is actually called the vulva. That includes the inner and outer labia, the clitoris, clitoral hood and the opening to the urethra and vagina.
The actual vagina is an internal structure, along with the other parts of the female reproductive system including the cervix, uterus, ovaries and Fallopian tubes (which are sometimes called the oviducts).Slide 3 of 15
Kegel exercises don’t only work for orgasmsSlide 4 of 15
Kegel exercises don’t only work for orgasms
Along with helping women who have problems reaching an orgasm, Kegel exercises also strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can help women who have trouble holding in their urine, stool or gas.
“You can do these exercises just about anywhere,” said Dr. Courtney Leigh Barnes, a gynecologist at the University of Missouri.
To do a kegel exercise, act as though you are going to stop peeing and hold it for a couple of seconds, or you can insert your finger into the vagina and tighten your muscles, Barnes said.
"These exercises can also be used to help with pelvic organ prolapse,” Barnes said.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the organs in the pelvis—like the bladder—drops and pushes against the vagina.Slide 5 of 15
Probiotic supplements could help keep the balanceSlide 6 of 15
Probiotic supplements could help keep the balance
Probiotics, also known as the "friendly bacteria," have become a popular treatment against the "bad" bacteria that might cause harm to the body. Some evidence suggests they help digestion and combat diarrhea and gut inflammation.
A few studies have also hinted that using probiotics could help against vaginal infections, such as yeast infections, but according to Barnes, “there isn’t enough proof to make a specific recommendation.”
“More research needs to be done to say for sure when, how much, and what type of probiotics are helpful,” she said.
Barnes said she has had patients who suffered from chronic vaginal infections who have felt better after taking probiotics.
"If I have a patient with recurrent vaginal infections, I will recommend probiotics in the form of fermented goat’s milk," she said, but its not right for everyone, including people with lactose intolerance.Slide 7 of 15
Discharges women should worry aboutSlide 8 of 15