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Women’s Health: Am I normal down there ?

I’ve talked a lot about overall health, in how it relates to systems that both sexes have. Now, I’d like to take some time and talk about us…the girls! It seems such a taboo subject to discuss, which I suppose makes it all the more important to get out there. I’d like to become more familiar with my body and its female bits. Over the next few posts, I’m hoping to educate myself and anyone who is interested in learning more about their bodies.

Why, at the age of thirty, do I suddenly have the need to know more about me and my bits? I recently got a bit of a shock. I thought I knew a lot about my body. While I may know slightly more than the average person, I do not know as much as I thought I did. Although my husband and I won’t be trying for a family for a little while, many of my friends and acquaintances are producing offspring like it’s going out of style. There are babies EVERYWHERE! This reproduction bonanza got me wondering about my own capabilities. At the suggestion of a friend, I bought the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler, MPH. Well…was I in for a surprise.

Turns out, I’m NORMAL.

You may laugh, but I actually cried. All these years, I thought there might be something a bit off. Why? Two words my female friends: cervical fluid. Ick, I know…ick. But so important to understand. I thought there was something off. You know, those days when you are extra slippery…or extra dry. It was always changing and I didn’t know why, or that it was completely normal.

So, what is cervical fluid?

Cervical fluid is the fluid that comes out of you are certain times in your cycle and can change consistency, as well as colour. I’m not referring to ‘discharge’, which sounds more like your vagina has a cold and hence those times you need a doctor to look you over. I’m speaking of the fluid that tells you that you are fertile. Basically, what seminal fluid is to men, cervical fluid is to women. Men are always fertile and ready to go, so their seminal fluid is always present. If you remember back to that awkward highschool, sex ed seminar, women go through cycles of fertility. Therefore, our fluid is present when we are at our most fertile.

Here is a chart that gives you an idea of a menstrual cycle, but involving your cervical fluid:

borrowed from plannedparenthood.org

borrowed from plannedparenthood.org

Cervical fluid can range from sticky, to creamy or slippery, which is also often described as eggwhite. A lot of women are self-diagnosing themselves when they get to this point in their cycle with a yeast infection or something of the like. Before you rush out to buy a Monistat kit, read on. When you have slippery cervical fluid present, that is often when you are at your most fertile. So if you are avoiding producing a mini-me and you aren’t on the pill, it is very important to either abstain or to use protection during this time. You see, we produce our cervical fluid to make the passage for the sperm easier. It serves to coat the way and make the pH more tolerable. If you have unprotected sex during this time in your cycle, it’s like giving the sperm the FastPass at Disney World so they can get to the end of the line faster. Unless you are planning for an addition to the family, watch out. It doesn’t guarantee your pregnancy, but it certainly ups the odds for it.

cervicalfluid

I hope that all the women who read this, already knew all about their fantastically normal cervical fluid…however, I do doubt that. My secondary hope then, is that you’ve just learned about it and realized, ‘Hey, I’m NORMAL!!’ I highly recommend that you continue your education about your ‘nether region’ by reading “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. Whether you are like me, on a quest for knowledge, avoiding the baby bump for now, or actively trying to start a family. It is incredibly full of knowledge that really, should have been taught to us while we were in highschool. We might have been totally grossed out, but we would have at least been grossed out and informed.

Just to get an idea, I’d love it if you could participate in a poll on the subject. All anonymous of course 🙂

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