This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

Is my Vagina Normal? Myths, Facts & Essential Info

Is my Vagina Normal? Myths, Facts & Essential Info


Self-check mirror and image by Nyssa

You are not alone if, at some stage, you have thought “Is my vagina normal?”, “Is my vagina too big or too small?” or "Are my lips normal?”.

Sex organs play a crucial role in reproduction and sexual pleasure and whilst there have been numerous studies on the appearance and size of the male genitals, there are surprisingly few studies on the female genitals with media portrayals and pornography often promoting unrealistic beauty standards and leading to body image concerns among women.

Factors such as genetics, hormones, age, and childbirth can all influence the appearance of the vagina and it is important to remember that there is a wide range of "normal". 

Before we tackle these questions, a quick clarification on terminology…


Defining the Vagina

The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal that connects the uterus to the external genitalia. The term "vagina" is commonly used interchangeably to refer to the entire female genitalia, which includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. For a more anatomically correct description of female internal and external organs, refer to our blog on The Female Anatomy.

Biology lesson aside, let's take a look at what publications have revealed. 


Labia Size & Appearance

The labia vary widely in size, symmetry, colour and rugosity or “wrinkliness”. Whilst studies we took a look at varied in size ranges, the overriding commonality between all studies is that there is a wide degree of variance;

  • Labia majora (the outer lips) ranged from 7 to 12cm in length with an average of 9.3cm
  • Labia minor (the inner lips) ranged from 2 to 10cm in length with an average of 6cm.

Variance in labia appearance is evident in an art piece titled "The Great Wall of Vulva" in which artist Jamie McCartney made plaster casts of 400 people's vulvas.  

Great Wall of Vulvas by Jamie McCartney


Altering or reducing the labia or vulva through surgery is known as labiaplasty or vulvoplasty and the number of procedures for genital surgeries has been on the rise. In an article published by the ABC in 2017 titled "Labiaplasty: Understanding why women have cosmetic surgery on their vulva" it surmised one of the reasons for the rise of labiaplasty was due to media portrayals. It mentioned the Australian Classification Guidelines state "Realistic depictions may contain discreet genital detail but there should be no genital emphasis." This article went on the mention that inner labia are often airbrushed out in order to show a single crease only in order to gain classification for M15+ audiences rather than be bumped up to an R18+ classification. The Classification Board published a media release 10 days later noting they have "sought to actively discourage the practice of genital airbrushing among relevant Australian publishers" and that they "have no involvement or influence over the content of international publications imported into Australia that may include genital airbrushing."

Whilst there are some medical instances where labial surgery is necessary many labiaplasty surgeries are carried out purely for aesthetic reasons aesthetic reasons; because a person may feel their labia are too large or asymmetrical – this is often touted as a ‘vaginal rejuvenation’. These surgeries are carried out to meet a person’s perceptions of normality, or rather desirability, and are often due to exposure to idealized media representations of the female genitals. Surgery for cosmetic purposes can be costly and like all surgery, genital surgery carries risk; there may be significant scaring and an impaired sensation or disruption to the nerves and blood vessels of the labia so entering any surgery for purely cosmetic purposes should not be taken lightly.

Another concerning trend is Doctors are reporting now seeing patients as young as 10 years of age presenting with genital anxiety and 97% of women expressing some concern with regard to whether their genitals were normal. In the last 10 years, labia surgery has increased fivefold.

There are cases where the labia can cause significant impairment to your function. These can include;

  • discomfort when sitting
  • discomfort during sex
  • chaffing or irritation when wearing some items of clothing
  • pain when participating in sports or
  • frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

  • Please see your physician to discuss your options if you experience any of the above symptoms. Otherwise, take the time to assess if may just be your own misconception or belief that there is an "ideal" appearance for the labia. Variation is "normal" and should be celebrated rather than stigmatised.



    Vaginal Size

    Vagina Elasticity

    The vagina is a remarkable organ capable of stretching and contracting to accommodate sexual intercourse and childbirth. It is elastic and can expand to several times its resting size when necessary.

    The ability of the vagina to stretch and return to its original shape varies from person to person. Factors such as age, hormonal status, childbirth, and pelvic floor muscle tone can influence vaginal elasticity.


    Vagina Length

    In a study of 77 subjects, who underwent an MRI, the average vaginal length was around 6cm whilst another study of 39 women using rods, showed vagina lengths varied from 6.8cm to 14.8cm.


    Vagina Width

    Vaginal widths in this study ranged from 4.8 to 6.3 cm whilst the vaginal opening or introitus diameter ranged from 2.4 to 6.5 cm.

    As you can see, there’s a wide range of “normal” when it comes to the appearance and size of the female genitals and vagina.

    It is also important to note that the notion of a "loose" or "tight" vagina is subjective and has no scientific basis. Sexual satisfaction and comfort depend on factors beyond vaginal size or "tightness", such as emotional connection, communication and sexual techniques.


    Vagina Shape

    Results and means of obtaining statistical data vary from study to study however what we do know is that there is also a wide range of variance when it comes to vaginal lengths, diameters and shapes.

    study of the shape and dimensions of the human vagina revealed there are 5 different shaped vaginas including; parallel-sided, heart-shaped, conical, pumpkin and slug-shaped.


    Vaginal Odor

    Another misconception surrounding the vagina is related to its odour. Many people worry about the scent of their vagina, fearing that it is abnormal or unpleasant. 

    The vagina has a natural smell that can vary slightly depending on factors such as hormonal changes, menstrual cycle, hygiene practices, and even diet. It is important to note that a mild, musky odour is normal and typically not a cause for concern.

    Significant changes in vaginal odour, such as a strong fishy or foul smell, may indicate an infection or other underlying medical condition. In such cases, it is advisable to seek medical attention.


    Vaginal Discharge

    Vaginal discharge is a normal and healthy occurrence. It serves as a self-cleansing mechanism, helping to keep the vagina stay clean and lubricated. The volume, consistency, and colour of discharge can vary depending on the individual and the stage of their menstrual cycle.

    Normal discharge is typically clear or white and may have a mild odour. It can become more abundant and change consistency during ovulation and in response to sexual arousal.

    If the discharge becomes yellow, green, frothy, has a strong odour, or is accompanied by itching, irritation, or pain, it may indicate an infection. In such cases, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


    Uterus shapes

    Beyond the vagina, several congenital anomalies may result in an anomaly in the uterus. This may also affect the fallopian tubes, cervix and upper vagina.

    Examples include;

    • hypoplasia uterus - a small uterus
    • unicornuate uterus - a one-sided uterus
    • uterus didelphys - a double uterus
    • septate uterus - a uterus with a partition in the middle
    • arcuate uterus - a uterus with a dent on the top part
    • bicornuate uterus - a heart-shaped uterus
    • absent uterus
    uterus shapes


    Maintaining Vaginal Health

    To keep the vagina healthy, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines:

    1. Practice good hygiene: Gently clean the external genitalia with warm water and mild, fragrance-free soap. Avoid douching, as it can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina and increase the risk of infection.
    2. Wear breathable underwear: Choose cotton underwear that allows air circulation, reducing the risk of moisture build-up and potential infections.
    3. Practice safe sex: Use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and maintain overall sexual health.


    When to seek Medical Assistance

    If you experience persistent discomfort, pain, unusual odour, or changes in vaginal discharge, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. 





      1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018). Vaginal "Rejuvenation" and Cosmetic Vaginal Procedures. Retrieved from
      2. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Vaginal Discharge: What's Normal, What's Not. Retrieved from
      3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Vaginal Health: How to Keep Your Vagina Healthy. Retrieved from
      4. Baseline dimensions of the human vagina. Retrieved from
      5. the Great Wall of Vulva
      6. Gemma Sharp, Olivia Willis. “ Labiaplasty: Understanding why women have cosmetic surgery on their vulva”, ABC News, 7 September 2017,
      7. Alice Klein. “ Biggest study of vaginas shows there’s no such thing as ‘normal’”, New Scientist, 29 June 2018,
      8. Lykkebo AW1, Drue HC, Lam JUH, Guldberg R. “ The Size of Labia Minora and Perception of Genital Appearance”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, July 2017,
      9. Kurt T. Barnhart Adriana Izquierdo E. Scott Pretorius David M. Shera Mayadah ShabboutAlka Shaunik. “ Baseline dimensions of the human vagina”, Oxford Academic, 14 February 2006,
      10. MD Anne M. Weber, MD Mark D. Walters, PhD Leslie R. Schover, MPH Allison Mitchinson. , " Vaginal anatomy and sexual function", Science Direct, December 1995,
      11. Jillian Lloyd, Naomi S. Crouch, Catherine L. Minto, Lih‐Mei Liao, Sarah M. Creighton. “ Female genital appearance: ‘normality’ unfolds”, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 12 January 2005,
      12. Gemma Sharp, MSc Marika Tiggemann, PhD Julie Mattiske, PhD. “ Factors That Influence the Decision to Undergo Labiaplasty: Media, Relationships, and Psychological Well-Being”, Oxford Academic, 18 February 2016,
      13. NS Crouch, R Deans, L Michala, L‐M Liao, SM Creighton. “ Clinical characteristics of well women seeking labial reduction surgery”, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 24 August 2011,


      Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.