What is the Vulva?

What is the Vulva?

The vulva is the outside part of the female genitals. This is often misunderstood to be the vagina, however the vagina is the hole in the vulva, used during vaginal sex or to give birth.

What does the vulva look like?

The vulva includes the:

  • Labia minora (hairless thin skin folds around the vagina hole)
  • Labia majora (hairy skin around the labia minora)
  • Clitoris (helps with feeling good during sex)
  • Clitoris hood (skin fold above the clitoris)
  • Urethra (pee/urine hole)
  • Vagina (hole for sex or giving birth)
4 1 Vulva English Labels
illustration of vulva

Have you ever wondered “is my vulva normal?” Like any body part, the vulva varies in shape, size, colourings and is usually uneven on each side. To learn more about different types of labia, visit the labia library www.labialibrary.org.au.

What can cause vulva irritation?

The vulva can be easily irritated (get sore/itchy/dry) from:

  • Too much washing or use of unsuitable products on the labia such as soap, talcum powder, or perfumes
  • Not having enough lubrication (natural fluids) coming out from inside vagina during sex
  • Infections such as thrush or a sexually transmissible infection
  • Changes in hormones around the time of your menstrual period or during menopause.

What can I do to improve my vulva health?

  • Only wash the labia with water or suitable soap free products
  • You can use lubricants (also called lube) during sex. Check the product label to see if you can use it with a condom. You can buy these at the pharmacy or supermarket
image of lube bottle
  • Get tested and treated for any infections

For more information:

This is general information only. Speak to your doctor or nurse for advice and further instruction

Last updated: 29 August 2018