Sex Talk

Is it safe to bleach, bejewel or glitter my vagina?

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions

06 August 2017 - 00:00
Vajazzling involves adorning of the pubic area with crystals or other decorations.
Vajazzling involves adorning of the pubic area with crystals or other decorations.
Image: iStock

Q. My girlfriends are talking about vajazzling, contouring and bleaching their private parts to make them look more appealing. Is this safe?

There are so many feminine products, books, websites and adverts whose sole purpose is to make people, women in particular, feel bad and inadequate about their external genitalia, and to then seek methods to alter its appearance.

The idea that vaginas need some improvement is concerning. Vaginas come in many shapes, sizes and colours and there is no one way for a vagina to look. 

Nonetheless there is an undeniable surge in surgical and non-surgical interventions, and many types of vaginal modifications which are trending.

Some of these include:

• Vaginal bleaching, done mostly using creams, to make the naturally darker skin tone of the vagina lighter;

• Vaginal contouring, aka vontouring, which is the non-invasive, non-surgical rejuvenation of the vaginal muscles and labia;

• Labioplasty, a popular cosmetic surgery, in which the labia are reduced in size and made symmetrical;

• Vajazzling, which is the adornment of the pubic area with crystals or other decorations; and

• Passion dust or glitter balls, which are inserted into the vagina where they dissolve and add flavour and glitter to vaginal fluids. 

There are many products online which promise great results, but one must look at the ingredients - even on so called ‘natural remedies' - prior to using these on the delicate tissue of the vagina. 

Many types of passion dust, for instance, are edible meaning there is likely sugar in them which can lead to pH imbalances and the development of Candida. There is also the risk that the glitter may migrate into the uterus and fallopian tubes.

It is not advisable to insert foreign products which are not tested for safety, and specifically for the risk of  increaded likelihood of sexually transmitted infections, into your vagina.

STAY HEALTHY: KNOW YOUR NORMAL

Every woman needs to know what their "normal" vagina looks like is so they will know if and when to be concerned.

There is a definite distortion in terms of what people consider to be the normal vagina, and they often inaccurately refer to the vulva as the vagina.

The vulva, or external female genitalia, include the soft fatty tissue called the mons pubis, covered by pubic hair; the opening of the vagina, the fleshy lips (labia majora and labia minora); as well as the clitoris and clitoral hood. The urethra, which leads to the bladder, the perineum and the anus are also visible.

There are medical conditions which can alter the appearance of the external genitalia such as inflammation of the clitoris, genital ulcers on the vulva or perineum due to sexually transmitted infections, and vaginitis, which is a change in the normal balance of vaginal yeast and bacteria and can cause inflammation and redness around the vagina. Menopause can cause thinning of pubic hair.

Consult your doctor if you notice:

• A change in colour, odour or amount of vaginal discharge;

• Vulval redness, itching or irritation;

• Vulval bleeding between periods, after sex or after menopause; or

• A mass or bulge in your vagina.

• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za.

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