"Many people think that just men have smegma, but that is not true. Women also have smegma. Some of you may be asking what is smegma? The definition in the Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary for smegma is " the secretion of a sebaceous gland; specifically: the cheesy sebaceous matter that collects between the glans penis and the foreskin or around the clitoris and labia minora." The pronunciation example that Mirriam Webster gives is, \'smeg-mə\. Notice that the definition mentions the clitoris and labia minora as well as the penis and foreskin. So there you have it, women have smegma too.
More about smegma
Glands that are located around the clitoris and the vulva secrete sebum. When the sebum is not washed away, it accumulates. The accumulation of sebum combined with dead skin cells forms smegma. Smegma is a white, cheese like substance that sticks to the skin. Some women produce more smegma than others do. Some women may never notice their smegma. Other women may find that they have to cleanse their vaginas several times a day to remove the accumulation of smegma.
What is the purpose of smegma in women?
According to femininehygiene.com, "It is very important for the glans of the clitoris to have adequate lubrication. This permits the clitoral hood to slide over the glans of the clitoris easily and without undue sensitivity or discomfort."
Hygiene and smegma
Proper hygiene is always important. Several problems can arise if smegma is not regularly washed away. One common problem is odor. The build-up of smegma can produce a strong and sometimes unpleasant odor.
When smegma is allowed to accumulate for too long, it can dry out and become hard, which can produce irritation in the vagina. The irritation can present symptoms of pain, burning or feeling itchy. This is particularly the case when smegma accumulates under the clitoral hood.
A more serious complication is clitoral and labial adhesions that can result from the build-up of smegma. A clitoral adhesion is when the clitoral hood becomes attached to the clitoris. When this happens, the clitoral hood can not slide over the clitoris. A labial adhesion is when the labia attach together. This can result in the labia or (lips) not being able to be spread apart from each other. Both clitoral and labial adhesions can cause a great deal of discomfort.
Sometimes clitoral and labial adhesions can be treated at home. One way is gently rub vitamin e oil on the adhesion to try and soften the smegma. This may soften the smegma and release the adhesion. Another way is to soak in a bath to try and soften the smegma and release the adhesion. It is important to be gentle with the area and not try to force the adhesion apart, because vaginal skin is very delicate and can tear easily. If these methods do not work, then a doctor will have to be seen to release the adhesion.
Cleaning smegma and the vagina
Soaps and detergents can be very irritating to the vagina. They can affect the delicate ph balance of the vagina, cause sensitivity reactions and can even cause infections. Really all that is needed to clean the vagina is water. When cleaning the vagina with water, it is important to remember to clean around the labia and to retract the clitoral hood in order to remove smegma that may have collected there. A q-tip or cotton ball may be used to help remove smegma. If smegma is difficult to remove, especially under the clitoral hood, a little bit of vitamin e oil can be used on a q-tip. This method works very well.
Smegma is nothing to worry about
Smegma is naturally produced by a woman's body. As long as proper hygiene practices are used, a woman should not have any problems with smegma."
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