It is important that every women from her teen years onwards regularly (monthly-in between menstrual periods) performs a vulvar self-examination. This practice is medically recommended and enables each women to become aware of any changes that may be occurring. It is important to identify the colour of vulvar tissue, to note if it has a healthy pinkish colour or if the skin is becoming white or reddened in areas. As you examine each section, note the texture of the skin and note any sores, splitting skin, lumps, cysts or scaly tissue. Identify any areas of special sensitivity, note any unusual discharge, odour or traces of bleeding. Generally speaking any changes that may be of concern should be discussed with your doctor at the earliest opportunity.
To assist you with the self-examination, familiarize yourself with the anatomy diagram and then with the assistance of a hand held mirror attempt to identify each of the parts of the vulvar. Remember that the smaller glands and ducts may be too small to see with the unaided eye. You should also be mindful that vulvas can look very different from one women to the next. The differences can be most noticeable in the shape and size of the labial lips, the location of the urethra and the outline of the vaginal opening. Your medical practitioner can answer and clarify any questions and concerns you may have.