No one wants to talk about vaginal odor but it is quite normal. Moreover, most women will experience an unusual odor at some point in time. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not taking proper care of your body. In many cases, there are simple home remedies that you can use to improve the smell. However, if you’re experiencing strong and persistent odors, something is wrong, and you should see a doctor.
Is Vaginal Odor Normal?
Your vagina is supposed to have a natural odor and each woman’s normal odor is different. Typically, a healthy vagina smells musky. At certain times during your menstrual cycle, it may smell a little metallic. The smell may also change temporarily after sexual intercourse.
Usually, the vagina cleans itself and if left alone, it can maintain a healthy pH balance and control the presence of bad bacteria. However, if you detect a major difference in the smell, this may indicate there’s a problem. If the unusual smell is accompanied by itching, irritation or abnormal discharge, something is amiss.
How to Reduce Vaginal Odor
There are a few things you can try when you notice an unusual vaginal odor.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
Be sure to clean the outside of your vagina with a gentle soap. This will get rid of the dirt, sweat and dead skin which can be a haven for bacteria. You shouldn’t use perfumed body washes or soaps since the chemicals can upset the pH of your vagina. You should also avoid loofahs which can cause small tears in the skin.
2. Use Personal Deodorizers on the Outside Only
If you want to use scented products around your vagina, make sure you only use them on the outside of your genitals. Putting them inside is likely to cause even bigger problems. You should make sure you’re using products designed specifically for use in your genital area.
3. Wear Cotton Underwear
If you usually wear silk or polyester panties, try 100 per cotton underwear instead. Cotton is a lot more breathable and it will draw sweat away from your body. This is important since moisture can help to facilitate an increase in the bacteria levels on your skin.
4. Use pH Balanced Products Only
If your vagina’s pH balance has been disrupted, you can try over-the-counter products to help restore the balance. If this doesn’t work or the odor gets worse, you need to make an appointment to see your doctor since you may require a prescription product.
5. Use Tea Tree Oil
Anecdotal evidence suggests tea tree oil can help to reduce vaginal odor since it has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with water and apply a drop to the outside of your vagina. Try this for three to five days. If the odor doesn’t go away or it gets worse, you should stop using this remedy.
6. Take an Apple Cider Vinegar Bath
Apple cider vinegar can also be used to help reduce odor-causing bacteria. Try pouring one or two cups of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.
When to See a Doctor About Vaginal Odors
If the only symptom you’re experiencing is a bad odor, you can try these home treatments for a few days and only go to the doctor if they don’t work. However, if you’re experiencing other unusual symptoms, you should give your doctor a call before you do anything else. Your doctor will try to find the underlying cause of the odor before recommending the appropriate treatment.
Symptoms Which Suggest You Need Medical Treatment
If your vaginal odor seems to be getting stronger and stronger, you should make an appointment. You should also seek medical attention if you experience unusual discharge, a fishy smell or persistent itching.
If your vaginal discharge increases significantly or it no longer translucent or white, you may have an infection.
This can be caused by a range of things. It is can be a sign that you need prescription medication from your doctor to relieve your symptoms.
What Causes Fishy Vaginal Odor?
There are many treatment options for a fishy vaginal odor. It all depends on what is causing the smell. In some cases, you may simply need cream or ointment to clear up your symptoms. Other times, you may have a serious condition that needs to be treated for a longer period. Some of the most common causes of a fishy smell are:
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Trichomoniasis or other STDs
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Yeast infection
- A tampon that was left in for long
- Excessive sweating
- Your diet
- Inadequate hygiene
Tips for Preventing Odor in the Future
Once you figure out how to get rid of your vaginal odor, you will want to prevent it from occurring again. Let’s look at some of the things you can do.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Taking care of your overall health can help to ensure your vagina remains healthy. You should eat a balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Consider adding foods like yogurt and kombucha which are rich in probiotics. These can assist in maintaining the pH balance in your vagina. It is also a great idea to drink lots of water.
Wash Your Vagina Correctly
You should never use douches or scrubs in your vagina. They get rid of both good and bad bacteria and this can lead to bad odors. Wash your vulva with plain water or unscented cleansers and resist the urge to put scented products inside your vagina. If you’re worried about your smell, see your doctor. Another way to prevent odors is to wash your vagina before and after sexual intercourse. This help to get rid of bacteria, lubrication, and spermicide.
You should also avoid wearing tight clothing or underwear which don’t let your skin breathe.
To Sum Up
It is normal for your vagina to have a natural smell and you don’t need perfumes or fragrances to improve the smell. However, you notice an unusual odor, you can try a home remedy. If that doesn’t work, you should see a doctor since you may have a more serious medical problem that needs to be addressed. Trying to treat the condition on your own may make it worse. If you think about it, it’s better to go to the doctor with a simple issue than to delay treatment for a serious health problem.