From sexual intercourse to childbirth to menstruation, the vagina has several roles within the female reproductive system. With time, adult women may begin to experience vaginal stretching at some point in their lives. It can arise due to a variety of reasons and at times, it can be due to a combination of reasons. In fact, it may not even always be a case of stretching of the vagina.
It’s certainly something to pay heed to but not necessarily be alarmed about. However, just like other issues related to intimate health, it’s advisable to understand and treat the condition gently and promptly.
Understanding the anatomy of the vagina
The vagina is an internal organ with an opening on the outside of the body. It is a strong channel that connects the vulva, which contains the external reproductive organs, or genitals, to the uterus, which is located inside the body.
The labia are referred to as the ‘lips’ of the vagina. ‘Labia minora’ refers to the inner lip that connects to the vagina. A barrier against discomfort and harm to the clitoris and vagina. The ‘labia majora’ is a flap of skin on the outside of the vaginal area. It’s typical for the size of the labia to vary from woman to woman and even from one side of the labia to the other.
On the other hand, infections, allergies, a buildup of cysts, and other abnormalities can cause the labia to enlarge and hurt noticeably. In such cases, proper medical attention by the means of a consultation with a gynaecologist is advised.
What causes vaginal stretching?
Through the span of a woman’s life, the vagina can change quite a bit, owing to several factors. Changes to the structure of the vagina can be due to hormonal changes, infections of various sorts, and friction from sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and childbirth among other reasons.
Pregnancy is the most common condition that may lead to vaginal stretching and other forms of structural changes to the vagina. This is because, during the course of pregnancy, as the baby grows, so does the uterus. The uterus expands to make room for the baby to grow and develop. The vagina also stretches because of this expansion. The cervix lifts up and away from the vagina as it expands upward.
Additionally, pregnancy-related changes in hormone levels have an impact on the vagina. The pelvis receives more blood flow, which changes the colour of the vulva and vagina to a deeper degree. The connective tissue of the vaginal walls gradually relaxes throughout pregnancy in order to prepare for childbirth. The vagina and vaginal aperture briefly expand after delivery. Moreover, with ageing, the walls of the vagina become more relaxed and widen in diameter.
During the menstrual cycle, the form of the vagina may change. The vagina adjusts in response to the hormonal changes due to your menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels are at their peak around mid-cycle, vaginal tissue thickens and fills up.
It’s important to understand that, biologically, there is not a constant level of vaginal tightness that lasts. There are fluctuations in the structure of the vagina arising from several factors and conditions. However, if you experience pain or prolonged discomfort in and around your vagina, getting a diagnosis from a medical professional is advised.