As we age, the body undergoes profound transitions. For women, the body, including the vagina, changes over time. Aging is often associated with wrinkles, dark spots, and saggy skin. Aging also brings about added health concerns, as each year, taking care of one’s health becomes even more important.
Even the most intimate areas of our body evolve with age. For women, the vagina changes mainly due to a decrease in the production of estrogen.
The vagina is different in a woman’s 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. And knowing how a vagina changes over time can help women better take care of their vaginal health and hygiene.
How a Vagina Changes Over Time: Puberty
The vagina’s first major change happens at puberty. The labia grows, along with pubic hair. Around this time, the vagina also starts producing daily discharge due to sex hormones throughout the reproductive system.
Menstruation also typically begins at anywhere between the ages of 8 to 15.
How a Vagina Changes Over Time: Your 20s
In your 20s, the vagina’s skin will not be as thick as it was during a woman’s teenage years and it will continue to thin out over time. For women who have not given birth, their pelvic floor will be at its prime.
The best way to take care of the vagina in one’s 20s is by regularly washing it with unscented soap and warm water.
If a woman is sexually active, it’s best to know the basics of safe sex, like having their partner wear a condom during intercourse.
Natural lubrication at this point is normally not a problem, so there’s no need to use additional lubrication. Stamina and libido is at its peak right now, making sexual intercourse more pleasurable at this phase of life.
This is also the ideal time for childbirth.
How a Vagina Changes Over Time: 30s
In a woman’s 30s, another major change happens to your vagina. The skin of the vagina will become darker.
The other major change is elasticity. Since some women have likely given birth at this stage, which often causes the pelvic muscles to stretch and distend due to childbirth.
Some women may feel dry down there after giving birth in their 30s. This is normal due to the fluctuation of estrogen postpartum, but the good news is that this is only temporary. If there is dryness down there during sex, a lubricant can lessen discomfort.
The best thing you can do for your vagina at this age are Kegel exercises. This helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises help to retain muscles post-birth and it also decreases the risk of bladder and bowel issues.
How a Vagina Changes Over Time: 40s
In your 40s, perimenopause normally starts to happen. Perimenopause usually lasts for 4 to 5 years, on average, before fully transitioning into menopause.
At this stage, a woman’s estrogen level starts to slowly decrease. This leads to irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
Giving birth when you are in one’s 40s won’t be as easy. The vagina cannot heal as fast as it used to, so it will take more time for the vagina to feel normal once more.
Sex in one’s 40s can also be uncomfortable. In their 40s, many women go through a thinning of the vaginal walls and the rugal folds flatten which prevents the vagina from expending.
This can lead to pain upon penetration, rather than pleasurable sensations, even when a woman is aroused. Increasing Kegel exercises can help make sex feel better at this stage.
How a Vagina Changes Over Time: 50s
In a woman’s 50s, the changes in the vagina are more significant. Aside from the loosening of the vaginal walls and the weakening of the pelvic muscles, pubic hair is starting to become gray and sparse at this stage.
A few things that women need to watch out for is the possibility of having the uterus, bladder, or bowel prolapse. When this happens, it can affect the bladder or bowel function as well as vaginal pressure.
Sex at this age can be very uncomfortable, so lubrication is key to avoid vaginal pain and bleeding during intercourse. So it is best to take things slow and really build things up with foreplay to avoid any discomfort or injury.
How to Keep the Vagina Healthy
Vaginal changes as you age will be more visible. But there are certain things you can do to keep your vagina healthy as you go through life.
- HPV vaccination. This is important to protect yourself from the virus that is associated with cervical cancer.
- Limit your intake of alcohol and smoking. Too much of these two can affect sexual function.
- Kegel exercises. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes a day and it will do wonders for your vaginal muscles.
- Avoid douching and using vaginal scented products
Though vaginal changes as you age cannot be stopped, there are ways to help yourself through this natural transition, easing discomfort as much as possible.
You can age in a graceful manner, still ready to take on the world regardless of the changes throughout your body.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.