Lesson 5
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Vaginal Self Examination

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03 March, 2023
Vaginal Self Examination (VSE)
Vaginal Self Examination

As a woman, it is important to be aware of your reproductive health. One way to do this is through a vaginal self-examination. This simple and quick procedure can help you detect any unusual changes or symptoms in your vaginal area, which can be an early sign of a potential health issue.

Vaginal Self Examination

Vaginal self-examination is a method of checking your vaginal and vulva area for any changes or abnormalities. This can be done at home or with the help of a healthcare provider. The goal is to identify any signs of infection, irritation, or changes in discharge that may indicate a health problem.

Why is Vaginal Self Examination Important?

women thinking Why is Vaginal Self Examination Important?

Vaginal self-examination is important because it can help detect issues early on, when they are often easier to treat. By regularly checking your vaginal area, you can become more familiar with what is normal for you, which can make it easier to identify any changes. Some of the most common issues that can be detected through vaginal self-examination include:

Yeast infections

This type of infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, and is usually accompanied by itching, burning, and a thick white discharge.


Yeast infections are a common problem that many people face. They are caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida, which is normally present in small amounts in the body. Yeast infections can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild itching and burning to more serious problems like pain and discharge. Here are some signs that you may have a yeast infection:

  • Itching and burning: One of the most common symptoms of a yeast infection is itching and burning in the affected area. This can be particularly uncomfortable, especially during activities like sex or exercise.

  • Discharge: Yeast infections can cause a thick, white discharge that is often described as having a “cottage cheese” consistency. This discharge may also have a yeasty odor.

  • Redness and swelling: Yeast infections can cause redness, swelling, and soreness in the affected area. This is especially common in women who have vaginal yeast infections.

  • Pain: Some people with yeast infections experience pain or discomfort during sex, while urinating, or while wearing tight clothing.

  • Rash: A yeast infection can cause a red, itchy rash on the skin. This is most commonly seen in people with skin yeast infections.

Bacterial Vaginosis

This is a common type of vaginal infection that is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms may include an unpleasant odor and a thin, gray discharge.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal bacterial infection that affects many women. It’s caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, leading to a foul-smelling bad odour and discharge. If you suspect that you may have BV, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Here’s how to know if you have Bacterial vaginosis.

  • Symptoms: One of the most common symptoms of BV is a strong, fishy odor coming from the vagina, especially after sexual activity. Other symptoms include a thin, gray discharge, vaginal itching or burning, and pain during intercourse.

  • Physical exam: A doctor can perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam, to check for symptoms of BV. They may also take a sample of your discharge to examine under a microscope.

  • pH test: The pH level of a healthy vagina is usually between 3.8 and 4.5. A pH level above 4.5 can indicate BV. A doctor can perform a simple pH test to determine if your vagina’s pH level is elevated.

  • Amsel criteria: This is a set of criteria that doctors use to diagnose BV. It includes symptoms such as a thin, gray discharge, a strong, fishy odor, and a positive result on a pH test.

  • Nugent Score: This is a laboratory test that uses a sample of your vaginal discharge to determine the type and amount of bacteria present. A score of 7 or higher is typically indicative of BV.


Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause changes in discharge or other symptoms that may be noticeable during a vaginal self-examination.

How To Perform A Vaginal Self Examination?

Here is a step-by-step guide to performing a vaginal self-examination:

  • Choose a time when you are comfortable and relaxed. It is best to do this after a shower or bath when the skin is clean and the area is easy to see.

  • Place a mirror on the floor or a table so that you can easily see your vaginal area.

  • Use your fingers to gently spread the outer lips of your vulva, so that you can see the vaginal opening and the clitoris.

  • Check for any changes in color, shape, or size of your vulva and vaginal area.

  • Check for any changes in discharge, including color, odor, and consistency.

  • Check for any lumps or bumps that may be present in the vaginal area.

  • Check for any itching, burning, or pain in the vaginal area.

It is important to remember that vaginal self-examination is not a replacement for regular gynecological exams. You should still see your healthcare provider for an annual exam to ensure that you are staying on top of your reproductive health.


Vaginal self-examination is a quick and simple way to monitor your reproductive health. By regularly checking your vaginal area, you can detect any changes early on, when they are often easier to treat. If you have any concerns or questions about your reproductive health, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Types Of Vaginal Discharge In Women

doctor checking the patient and explaining about the Types Of Vaginal Discharge In Women

Vaginal secretions or discharge is a common experience for many women, and it can be a sign of various conditions – abnormal discharge can be detected. Understanding the different types of vaginal discharge can help women understand their bodies and identify any potential health issues. Here are the most common types of vaginal discharge:

  • Normal discharge: A healthy vagina typically produces a clear or milky white discharge. This discharge is a natural way for the body to clean itself and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.

  • Yeast infection discharge: Yeast infections can cause a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, accompanied by vaginal itching and burning.

  • Bacterial vaginosis discharge: Bacterial vaginosis can cause a thin, gray discharge with a strong, fishy odor. This type of discharge is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.

  • Trichomoniasis discharge: Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause a greenish-yellow, frothy discharge with a strong odor.

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea discharge: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections that can cause a yellow or green discharge with a strong odor.

It’s important to note that vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, but if the discharge changes in color, texture, or odor, it may be a sign of an infection or other health issue. Women who experience unusual or severe discharge should seek medical attention.


Understanding the different types of vaginal discharge is important for women to maintain their vaginal health and identify any potential health issues. If you are experiencing unusual discharge, it’s important to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Vaginal Hygiene

Vaginal hygiene is an essential aspect of overall women’s health. Maintaining a clean and healthy vagina is not only crucial for preventing infections, but it also helps to maintain good odor and overall comfort. In this article, we will discuss some simple and effective tips for maintaining vaginal hygiene.

  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. This step is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina. Always wipe from front to back to avoid contaminating your vagina with fecal matter.

  • Use unscented products. Scented products like bubble baths, body washes, and sanitary pads can cause irritation and disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina. It’s best to use unscented products specifically designed for vaginal hygiene.

  • Avoid using douches. Douching is not recommended by healthcare professionals as it can upset the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and increase the risk of infections.

  • Wear breathable underwear. Wearing breathable cotton underwear can help prevent moisture buildup and reduce the risk of yeast infections. Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants or synthetic fabrics that trap moisture.

  • Wash with warm water and mild soap. It’s essential to wash the vulva (the external area around the vagina) regularly with warm water and a mild soap to remove sweat, oil, and bacteria. Avoid using harsh soaps or scrubs, as they can cause irritation.

  • Change your tampons and pads regularly. During menstruation, it’s important to change tampons and pads every 4-6 hours to avoid odor and the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms during sexual intercourse can help prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s also essential to get regular STI screenings.

Maintaining vaginal hygiene is crucial for overall women’s health. By following these simple steps, you can help keep your vagina clean, healthy, and odor-free. If you experience any unusual symptoms or discomfort, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional

Sexual health is as important as physical and mental health. In most cases, one consultation can go a long way. Personalised, discreet, and judgement-free treatment at your fingertips – book an online consultation with one of Allo’s leading experts.