Earth 2611137 1920The glamorized image of a flat-abbed woman who can briskly jog off her menstrual cramps and waxes “it all” has become the paradigm of women’s health in popular culture. While there are certainly women who experience this narrow version of vitality, many others wonder why they don’t.

As a women’s health specialist, I believe in the power of a comprehensive understanding of reproductive health in the face of pinhole depictions of the topic. In a recent interview with Bustle, I revealed several little-known reproductive health facts.

6 women’s health secrets:

1. You have a “pooch” for a reason

You’ve been working out like crazy, eating right, but still can’t flatten that little pouch just below the belly. That’s because it’s there for a reason. Our pooch (as it’s sometimes known) is how your body protects your reproductive organs.

2.  The incredible self-cleaning machine

Vaginas are self-cleaning! While the idea of douching or using wonderfully smelling soaps and body washes may seem appealing, these products are discouraged and could actually lead to infection by removing some of the necessary bacteria and disrupting the pH balance we need down there. All you need to keep clean is simple soap and water.

3.  Pubic hair can be powerful

Pubic hair does have a purpose — it serves as a protector (or barrier) for the sensitive skin around the vaginal opening. It also acts as a buffer against friction. So, shave or wax as you wish, but if you experience chafing or other discomfort, consider forgoing the razor.

4.  ANOTHER benefit of orgasms

We all know that orgasms are wonderful. You love them even without an added benefit… but they do, in fact, have one. Orgasms have been shown to help relieve menstrual cramps.

5.  Speaking of orgasms

If you’re unable to orgasm during sexual intercourse, you’re not alone. In fact, 25%–35% of women cannot orgasm from vaginal penetration. Your doctor can talk you through alternative ways to reach orgasm with your partner — don’t be afraid to ask.

6.  Don’t forget to wash your underwear

If you purchase new underwear or a new bathing suit, always wash these items before you wear them. You should really wash all new clothing before wearing it, but it’s especially important with items that come into contact with the sensitive skin around your vaginal opening. Otherwise you could end up with a rash from the chemicals commonly applied to clothing.

Whether you wax, shave, or go au naturel, always remember that your gynecologist is there to help you. If you have any questions or concerns about your body, ask away!

Meet Dr. Savita Ginde

Dr. Savita Ginde is an advocate and thought leader for reproductive health and served as Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for over 13 years. And, until very recently, she served as the Chief Healthcare Officer for STRIDE Community Health Center where she oversaw all of STRIDE’s healthcare services and led their COVID-19 vaccination efforts.