We live in our bodies everyday, but that doesn’t mean we’re experts when it comes to knowing what the hell is going on inside there. It’s so easy for us to be absent-minded about some crucial warning signs and as a grown woman, it’s more than vital for us to understand and be conscious of any changes or irregularities.. especially concerning our ladyparts. Here’s what you should be wary of:

1. When your period is due

Everyone’s menstruation cycle varies and not all of us pay attention to the exact dates. Aside from a possible pregnancy, you should take note of whether your periods are shorter or longer than usual, if the bleeding is abnormal and whether you are bleeding between your cycles or after sex. Keeping tabs on your period can help detect something serious like cervical cancer. Can’t commit to keeping a diary? Download an app on your phone.

Photo: Getty Images

2. What your discharge looks like

Think of discharge as your vagina’s self-cleaning mechanism. Discharge should be clear or very pale yellow, and it shouldn’t be sticky or have an odour. The amount of discharge that gets secreted also changes within your menstrual cycle. It’s clear and slippery when you ovulate, and after you release an egg, it gets thicker and cloudier (to trap sperm if present). Hence, don’t be alarmed should you get lots of discharge at one point, only for it to disappear completely shortly after.

3. Physical inconsistencies down there

Always, always pay attention to the texture of the skin down there to check for any odd bumps or lumps. They tend to either be from ingrown hairs, herpes or warts. If you shave down there and the bumps are raised and hard, it’s probably ingrown hair. If it comes off as a blister with a clear top and red base, it may be herpes. And if a bump grows where hair doesn’t, it’s more likely to be an STD. Ring up your ob-gyn immediately if anything worries you.

Photo: Medium

4. How to keep it clean

Guess what? The vagina is great at keeping itself clean without any help, so there really isn’t a need for any special products like douche, deodorant, soap, spray or feminine wash. All you need is warm water. Using other products may kill off the healthy bacteria that protects against infections, and this could possibly encourage other issues to crop up like itching, yeast infection, pain during sex or bacterial vaginosis.

5. The birth control methods you prefer

If you are sexually active, good on you. Go forth and have fun, but don’t ever take for granted how critical it is to comprehend the use of birth control. You could be on the pill, get an IUD or an implant, but nothing safeguards you from STDs and STIs like condoms do. Don’t put your health at risk in the heat of passion, and you have every right to say no to sex should he refuse to put one on. No glove, no love yo.

[Source 1, 2]