Vaginal smell can make a woman to have low self-esteem especially when the smell becomes so obvious so that the next person perceives it. Every female has a natural vaginal scent that can change throughout her menstrual cycle. A strong odor however, can be a sign of an infection, particularly if she is sexually active. Certain sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) such as trichomoniasis can cause a different odor.
The vagina, just like the mouth, the skin, and other areas of the body, has a unique fragrance. Vaginal odor is a very common problem that affects women and teenage girls who have reached puberty. Unusual vaginal odor happens from time to time. Even when you’re taking good care of your body and your vagina, you may experience unfamiliar smells. What’s not normal, however, is persistent or strong odors.
Before telling yourself you have vagina odors, ask yourself; “what is the normal odor?” Vaginas have natural odors and each woman’s odor is different. A healthy vagina’s typical scent may best be described as “musky” or “fleshy.” A menstrual cycle might cause a slightly “metallic” scent for a few days. Intercourse may change the smell temporarily.
The mucus membrane of the vagina, uterus, and cervix produces a clear or whitish fluid, and this is known as vaginal discharge. Its consistency and color depend on where you are on your monthly menstrual cycle. This discharge is usually odorless or may have a faint odor. It provides lubrication, protects against irritation and infection, and keeps the vagina healthy. However, abnormal vaginal discharge that has a foul odor may be a cause for concern.
The vagina cleanses itself naturally. If you leave your vagina to its own devices, it can naturally maintain a healthy pH and keep unhealthy bacteria at bay. But if you notice a stark difference in your odor, then you may be experiencing a sign of a potential problem. Strong odors, itching and irritation, and unusual discharge are all signs you may have something other than just unusual vaginal odor.
There are many factors that can lead to vaginal foul odor. The following are the usual causes of various types of vaginal odor:
1. Vaginal yeast infection resulting in thick, white discharge.
2. Sexually transmitted infections.
3. Bacterial infections (bacterial vaginosis) that result in that fishy, foul smell.
4. Change in estrogen levels due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause.
5. A forgotten tampon, which is producing the foul odor.
6. Thongs! As tempting, colorful, and fancy as thongs may be, avoid wearing them. They can lead to irritation and excessive perspiration and odor. Wear cotton undergarments because your private parts need to breathe.
7. Soap! Using too much soap in the vaginal area can cause dryness and lead to an
imbalance in the production of natural chemicals, which leads to an unpleasant odor.
Apart from the causes mentioned above, certain serious diseases can also be responsible for abnormal vaginal discharge and a disgusting smell. These include cancer of the cervix or vagina. However, these conditions will be accompanied by pain and even vaginal bleeding.
To get rid of vaginal odor, here are some things to keep in mind;
1. Practice good hygiene. Cleansing will wash away dead skin, sweat, and dirt. Don’t use perfumed soaps or body washes. The scents and chemicals may upset your vagina’s natural pH. Bar soaps may be more gentle than body wash.
2. Use only exterior deodorizing products. If you want to use any sprays or perfumes, only use them on the outside of your vagina. Don’t insert them.
3. Change your underwear. It is time to get rid of the satin, silk, or polyester panties. Make the switch to 100 percent cotton. Cotton is breathable. Excess moisture can upset your natural bacteria levels.
4. Try essential oils. This treatment has very little medical research to support it, but anecdotal evidence suggests tea tree oil, a type of essential oil, helps eliminate vaginal odor. This essential oil has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which may help reduce and eliminate bacteria.
5. Soak in vinegar. Frequent hot baths and hot showers can upset your natural pH, but one type of bath may be useful. Pour a cup or two of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Vinegar may naturally reduce bacteria.
6. See a doctor. Prescription treatments can help eliminate underlying causes that are contributing to the odor. If your home or over the counter treatments aren’t successful, it may be time to seek treatment from your doctor.
Once you have successfully eliminated or have not at all experienced the upsetting vaginal odor, here are a few tips to prevent it from occurring or reoccurring.
1. Maintain a healthy diet. Aim to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
2. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is good for more than just your skin. It can help your vagina’s overall health.
3. Avoid douches and scrubs as they eliminate the good bacteria. Let your body work out the bacteria ratios, and skip these unnatural washes.
4. Wash your vagina before and after intercourse. Sex introduces bacteria, as well as foreign substances like lubrication and spermicide from condoms. Wash before and after sex to help maintain natural bacteria levels.
5. Cut out tight clothes. Clothes that are too tight don’t let your vagina and groin area breathe.
6. Wear cotton panties. Cotton panties wick away excess moisture from sweating or discharge.