As we worry about the ways that time changes our appearance in terms of crow’s feet and laugh lines, do we ever consider what kind of effect it’s having on our privates?
Just like everything else about our bodies, our genitals will also bear some of the signs of aging, for good and for ill.
However, when we think about how age will affect our respective junks, and in this case the vagina in particular, take heart that these natural changes are ones that will be experienced by everyone.
After all, no one escapes time’s unstoppable march forward. So, as we look at the ways a vagina changes in a woman’s 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, know that you’re certainly not alone and that many have already shared this experience.
After you start birth control (likely your late teens or anytime in your twenties), you may notice your natural lubrication decreases somewhat. This is because, for all of the amazing things that a vagina can do, taking birth control will inhibit some of those functions, like lubricating.
You see, there’s a hormonal ecosystem going on down there that birth control pills are meant to interfere with, so when taking them, don’t be surprised if they have some unintended consequences, however small.
Of course, this is not to say that a twentysomething taking birth control will find that they’re suffering from vaginal dryness. In fact, most won’t even notice the dip in self-lubrication.
After some years of hair removal (think your mid to late 20s and early 30s), your vulva may change in appearance–depending on the removal method. Laser hair removal and frequent waxing of the vulva can cause hyperpigmentation, or a change in the color of the area being treated.
Usually the change is hardly noticeable, color-wise, and either way doesn’t represent a health problem so much as a mere difference of aesthetics.
Pregnancy and childbirth (late 20s through your 30s) can cause some big changes to your entire vaginal area–obviously. These include varicose veins on your vulva that can appear during pregnancy, owing to the increased amount of blood flow to the area throughout this period.
While they’re harmless and tend to disappear after the birth, some women do experience some discomfort from these varicose veins and they do sometimes stick around permanently. Like wearing a compression sock to deal with these types of veins appearing on the legs, expecting mothers can buy compression pantyhose or tights to deal with any discomfort.
Of course, after childbirth many women claim that their vaginas are a little ‘roomier’ as their bodies just went through the task of pushing an entire tiny human out of it.
Their pelvic floor muscles that support all of the reproductive organs may need some repairing by way of kegel exercises as well, but for the most part, the vagina goes pretty much back to normal all by itself.
In one’s mid-forties to early fifties is when menopause begins in earnest, which comes with a number of changes. First of all, you’ll notice that your pubic hair is changing, in ways that some women won’t mind at all.
Your pubic hair will become sparser, which means less need to groom so, score? You may even notice a gray hair or two start to pop up!
In addition to follicular transformation, your vagina may change in appearance in terms of your labia becoming less robust (i.e., it will shrink a bit) and change to a lighter color. This is from slightly decreased blood flow related to aging.
One of the main ways that menopause and aging will affect your vagina’s sexual function is that vaginal dryness at this point can become a real barrier between you and pleasure.
Your natural lubrication is linked to your body’s levels of estrogen, which are declining at this stage of life. As said before, and as we will say again and again, lube is your friend no matter what stage of life you’re at.