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No-Shame Guide to Vagina Goings-On

No-Shame Guide to Vagina Goings-On
23 May 2023 Samantha Anderson

Ahead of World Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28), Founder of WUKA, Ruby Raut, addresses the vaginal goings on you may have been too embarrassed to ask about and debunks some of the age-old myths around menstrual health.

While WUKA prefers the term “menstrual health day” to Menstrual ‘Hygiene’ Day (as periods are not ‘unhygienic’), with World Menstrual ‘Hygiene’ Day fast approaching (Sunday 28 May), there has never been a better time to check in with our vaginas.

The vagina is shrouded in more mystery and taboo than any other body part. While some women are comfortable speaking about vaginal health, so many are still afraid to speak openly and honestly about their ‘private parts’. For many, their vaginal goings-on continue to be a source of embarrassment, anxiety and shame.

Ruby Raut, menstrual lifestyle expert at pioneering reusable period wear brand, WUKA, says: “Even though half of the world’s population has a vagina, conversations about menstrual health continue to be confined to within the walls of a GP surgery. 

“Vaginas come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. Hair, smells, bumps, rashes and discharge – amongst a whole host of other things – should largely be no cause for concern, but because women don’t feel confident talking about what their vagina is up to, we’re all left worrying about what’s ‘normal’ or what it should look, feel and smell like ‘down there’.

“To break the stigma, it’s so important to be open and honest about vaginal health with ourselves, our friends, partners and family members, as well as with medical health professionals. We need to become comfortable with our own anatomy and talk more openly on this topic, so that no woman feels alone if they do ever encounter vaginal health challenges. 

“The lack of education about vaginas plays a huge part in fueling anxieties. Without a proper understanding of vaginal health, women continue to feel too embarrassed to openly discuss any concerns.”

To propel the conversations and in a bid to relieve menstrual health anxiety, Ruby is debunking some of the myths surrounding vaginas. From itches to odours, read on for Ruby’s no-shame guide to vaginal goings on…

Moisture – or lack of it

Vaginas naturally produce lubrication – it’s a natural part of your physiological functioning – so don’t be alarmed if your vagina feels a little damp. The glands in your cervix and vaginal wall create essential lubrication to protect your genital area from injury and to keep your vagina clean and moist. This moisture can be related to sexual arousal, fluctuating hormones, birth control or sweat.

Many women also experience vaginal dryness. Depending on where you are in your cycle, the amount of cervical fluid can vary. A drop in estrogen is a common reason why many experience vaginal dryness and so at times in your cycle when estrogen is lower, such as at the end of your cycle (day 28), it’s likely it may feel a little less damp down below. Vaginal dryness is also very common during perimenopause and menopause when estrogen levels drop significantly.

If you are experiencing some dry spells and this is causing discomfort, there are easy ways to increase vaginal moisture. Creams, lubricants and eating more plant-based foods that are rich in antioxidants and improve circulation, can all help to boost moisture.

Be sure to avoid perfumed toiletries. Only use products specifically adapted to the vaginal area (and preferably recommended by a doctor), to avoid disrupting the natural PH and worsening the situation.

Washing – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Vaginas are self-cleaning, so despite the array of products on offer promising to clean and restore balance, you do not need to use anything specific when washing. Regular secretions enable the cleaning and maintenance of the vagina without the help of any fancy-smelling products.

The vagina contains lots of good bacteria that are essential for keeping it at an optimum (acidic) PH level and preventing infections, so adding any external products into the mix can upset the balance, ultimately doing more harm than good.

Annoying itches

An itchy vagina can be a nuisance, but is far more common than might be expected. Your vagina and vulva (the external genital area including the labia and clitoris) are extremely sensitive and therefore highly susceptible to irritation.

Vaginal irritation – itching, burning or discomfort – can be triggered by an irritant soap, detergent, eczema, menstrual products, a new pair of pants, or even a recent shave!

A common irritation is thrush – a yeast infection with symptoms that include itching, redness, swelling and a cottage cheese-like discharge. Like other vaginal irritations, thrush can be caused by products that irritate the skin (perfumed products, bubble baths or vaginal washing products) – another reason to avoid using any unnecessary cosmetics.

To help ease an itchy vagina, try switching up a few things. Eliminate products or clothing one by one to determine which might be causing the problem and instead opt for alternatives that are plastic and/or chemical free – hypoallergenic soap, period pants or cotton underwear.

But remember that some conditions, like thrush, require a medicated cream or oral medicine to help treat, so you may need to make a visit to the pharmacy. Whilst most cases can improve with at-home care or over-the-counter treatments, there are a few rare conditions that can become serious if left untreated. If a problem persists, be sure to check in with your GP and avoid self-diagnosing.

Odours, scents and smells

All vaginas have their own unique smell and only you know what ‘normal’ means for you. The healthy bacteria that dominate vaginas, known as lactobacilli, are also be found in yoghurt, sourdough bread and some beers, which is why the scents have common ground.

Your vagina’s odour will naturally fluctuate with your menstrual cycle and any other significant times of hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, because different levels of hormones can change your vagina’s PH balance.

If your vagina does end up smelling ‘fishy’, it’s most likely the sign of an infection such as bacterial vaginosis, which can be easily cleared up with a trip to your GP.


Stop worrying about discharge left in your pants after a long day – it is a completely healthy and normal part of everyday life. The discharge is simply protecting your vagina from infection, while also keeping it clean and moist. The amount of discharge will be different for everyone. Much like sweat, some people will produce barely any, while others will generate more.

Discharge will also fluctuate throughout your cycle. During ovulation (approximately 14 days before your period) it may become clearer, stickier and slightly wetter. Right before ovulation, discharge can be white and thick and after ovulation, it tends to be dry, or even disappear completely.

The only time to be worried about discharge is if you notice a change in the usual smell, consistency or colour.

Pubic hair

To set the record straight, there’s no wrong way to style public hair. Whether sporting a full bush, removing it all or even plaiting it, there’s no evidence to show a hairless vagina is a cleaner vagina.

In actual fact, removing your pubic hair can leave you more exposed to contracting STIs, as the process of hair removal causes micro-trauma to the pubic region, creating more entry points for bacteria.

Pubic hair acts as a barrier between the vagina and external dirt or infection and so a full bush of public hair could be deemed the ‘safest way’ to style your vagina.

If you do choose to remove your public hair, try to gently exfoliate the area where hair has been removed to avoid ingrown hairs.

Whatever you prefer, it’s your vagina and you should style it in whatever way will help you to wake up and kick ass each day.

Lumps, bumps and blemishes

Bumps around the vaginal area can be a little unsettling, but there are many reasons for bumps on your vagina or labia that needn’t be too much to worry about.

Cysts, pimples, and even boils can all form in the vaginal area and a lot of the time these will be harmless. Everyone’s vagina is different, so the texture and appearance of the entire area can vary from person to person.

Like blemishes on the rest of your body, vagina pimples normally form when dirt, sweat or bacteria build up inside a pore, causing a small inflammation. To help avoid pores getting clogged, try to change out of sweaty clothes when possible, avoid shaving against the natural direction of public hair growth, and refrain from clothing that is too tight or rubs against your genital region.

If a bump is painful or persistent and is causing you concern, never be afraid to check in with your doctor.

The bottom (or ‘front-bottom’) line is, there is no ‘normal’ vagina, but, it is so important that we feel comfortable talking about it! Addressing what’s going on or what might be worrying you with your family, friends or a doctor will likely ease much concern and will help you realise that your experience of sticky discharge, an in-grown hair or the occasional whiff has happened to them too!

The only things to look out for are new, unusual or persistent changes in or around your vagina and the easiest way to solve those problems is to check in with your GP.

For more information visit


 Note to editors:

  • WUKA Co-Founder, Ruby Raut is available for interview
  • Please contact the WUKA team should you be interested in receiving product samples for review or for competition prizes
  • Support WUKA in its mission to AxePeriodPantTax 

For further press information, please contact:
Rebecca Claxton | Anna Nyman | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera Kemp
T: +44 (0)203 440 8930
E: [email protected]

About WUKA
Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.

WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.

Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.

WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.

All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.

WUKA is an award-winning business and in 2022 received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, as well as the Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year Award, for co-founder Ruby, at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. In 2023, WUKA became the first reusable period underwear and sportswear brand to be granted B Corporation certification.

WUKA is an official period partner for Wales Women, the Welsh National Rugby team, Watford F.C. Women’s team, London Titans Wheelchair Basketball and the Scottish Gymnastics Association.

WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products directly online at