Human body may produce various odors and it’s a perfectly natural condition. When we sweat, we smell different. When we wake up, we might have a bad breath. All of these odours are caused by different types of bacteria that exist in our bodies and on the skin surface.
These smells are very easy to remove through an adequate hygiene routine, like brushing the teeth or showering. What to do, however, if you notice an unusual odor from the vaginal area? Removing this odour is not as simple as getting rid of a bad breath. The vagina is not an easily accessible organ and its foul smell may be caused by factors that are relatively difficult to eliminate.
Your vagina almost always has some kind of smell. Nature designed it this way in order to attract males and to continue reproduction. Most of the time this smell is not even noticeable neither for you nor for your partner, but sometimes might turn into a foul odour that some women describe as metallic, musty or even ‘fishy’. This is usually a signal of some bacterial imbalance in your vagina.
Causes of vaginal odour
STD, BV and Candidiasis
If the odour from your vaginal area is accompanied by irritation, itchiness, burning sensation or an unusual discharge, you probably suffer from a bacterial infection (Bacterial vaginosis or BV) or a yeast infection (Candidiasis). It may also be a symptom of an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), so if you have had unprotected sex with a new partner, contact the doctor to do a test that will help diagnose the reason for the symptoms occurrence.
The odour from the vagina may also be caused by using harsh detergents to wash your underwear or by using inappropriate products for cleaning the groin and for shaving. All of these products should have pH adjusted to the natural pH of the vagina, which is 3.5 to 4.5. You can find many intimate hygiene products designed to maintain the pH of your vaginal area balanced so if you suffer from irritation and foul smell from your groin, the first step you should take is to change the regular soap for a more gentle product.
Some women are prone to yeast infections when they undergo an antibiotic treatment. If you take antibiotics and after a few days you notice a foul smell from the vagina or a thick discharge that looks like cottage cheese, chances are that you developed a yeast infection. It doesn’t mean you have to stop taking antibiotics. In fact, it’s vital that you finish the whole course of treatment to fight the original medical condition that they were prescribed for. However, you should try some remedies to restore the balance in your vagina.
Wrong Hygiene Routine
Foul smell from the vaginal area may be caused by following a personal hygiene routine that does not favour this sensitive area. Frequent shaving, washing with soap, wearing underwear made from unnatural fabrics, showering too much or not frequently enough, douching the inside of the vagina and prolonged use of the same pad or tampon may all cause irritation and infections and result in a foul odor being produced by your intimate areas.
When the semen comes in contact with the extra secretions you produce during an intercourse, it affects the pH balance of your vagina and may result in a foul odour. Some women may even have an allergic reaction to the semen of their partner. Unless you are trying for a baby, wash your groin after the intercourse and let the majority of the semen flow out of your vagina. The shorter it will stay inside, the fewer chances there will be for a bacteria build-up.
How to avoid vaginal odour
In order to avoid vaginal odor, you need to follow an appropriate intimate hygiene routine. It doesn’t mean that you have to take a shower three times a day. Vaginal odour may be commonly associated with not showering enough, but the opposite situation, where you wash off all the protection with a harsh soap and put the pH out of balance may have exactly the same result. Make sure you take a shower once a day and that you dry well the intimate area in order to prevent yeast infection.
Rinsing the inside of the vagina, called douching, can be harmful to the good bacteria that exist in your body and protect the vagina from infections. Even douching with pure water can have a negative influence on the pH and makes you more vulnerable to the attacks of yeast and bacteria. Remember that vagina cleans itself and all you need to do is wash the labia with a product of an appropriate pH.
Don’t Use Perfumes Down There
Perfumes contain alcohol and may irritate and dry the skin if used on sensitive areas. Using perfumes doesn’t solve the problem of foul smell from the vaginal area. It can only make things worse. If you feel really uncomfortable with your vaginal odour, you can use a feminine deodorant during the treatment, but don’t make it a habit.
Also, remember that if you are perfectly healthy and don’t notice any unusual smell but still use the perfumes down there just to smell nice for your partner, you are actually weakening the power of your pheromones and it’s them that actually turn the opposite sex on.
Your skin needs to breathe in order to stay in a healthy condition. Humid environment enhances the development of yeast so you need to make sure that the underwear you choose is made of natural fabrics that will draw the humidity outside. Cotton is the best bet. Nowadays, it’s easy to find some really nice cotton briefs that are both sexy and skin-friendly. Keep the silky underwear for special occasions if you want to avoid fungal infections and the foul smell that they cause.
Six Hour Rule
When you have the period, change the tampon or the pad regularly and don’t use the same tampon for more than six hours. While it’s not healthy for the walls of the vagina to take out a tampon that hasn’t absorbed enough blood and might irritate the inside of the vagina when being pulled out, it’s even worse to keep it inside for too long. The build-up of bacteria from blood may result in Bacterial vaginosis, which, in turn, will cause a foul smell from the vaginal area.
You can boost your immune system by increasing the amount of products that are rich in pro-biotics. The best one is natural, unsweetened yoghurt that contains lactobacillus, which helps restore the pH balance in your body, including in the vagina. Eating one yoghurt a day is recommended as a method of preventing yeast infections. You should have two or three a day when you are fighting a fungal infection that causes odor from the vaginal area.
Clean the Toilet Seat
Avoid contact with the toilet seat when you use a public toilet. At home, clean the toilet seat regularly with an antiseptic product. Toilet seats are full of bacteria and unless cleaned regularly, they may transmit bacteria onto your skin and into the vagina.
Whenever you have sex with a new partner, use condoms to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Diseases as well as fungal and bacterial infections. If you notice that after sex with your permanent partner you feel some changes in the discharge or the smell from your vagina, you may be too sensitive to his semen and should consider using a condom.
How to get rid of vaginal odor
Natural yoghurt contains a high level of lactobacillus, the bacteria that helps you fight infections in the vagina. To get rid of vaginal odour, you should eat two to three natural yogurts a day in order to restore the pH balance in your vagina. You can also apply the yogurt directly inside. The simplest way to do it is to soak a clean tampon in the yoghurt for 5 minutes and insert it into the vagina. Leave it for two to three hours and pull it out. Repeat this procedure twice daily for four to five days to get noticeable results.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti fungal properties and is often used to fight skin infections. It may be, however, too harsh on the gentle skin of your groin and your vagina. If you want to balance the pH in your vagina by using vinegar, the best way to do it is by drinking it. Make a solution of 1 cup of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. Drink it 3-4 times a day and you will get quick results in fighting vaginal odour.
Boric Acid Supplement
Another remedy you can use to restore the safe pH in your vagina is boric acid. Again, due to its high level of acidity, it’s not suitable for direct application to the affected area unless you choose special suppositories. They will help inhibit the growth of bacteria by lowering the alkalinity of the environment in your vagina. You can use them not only when you are fighting the foul odour, but also during every menstruation to prevent the passage of blood from changing the pH of your vagina.
While vitamin C doesn’t directly fight the bacterial or fungal infections which cause vaginal odor, its supplementation is highly recommendable whenever you suffer from Candidiasis or Bacterial vaginosis. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and helps your body deal with infections faster. You can either take vitamin C tablets or increase the intake of foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, kale, broccoli, pineapple and kiwi. Citrus fruits additionally help restore the acidic environment in the vagina.
Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, baking soda is a very efficient home remedy for vaginal odor. Add half a cup of soda to the bath and soak your body for 20 minutes, then dry it with a towel. Baking soda bath gives you the extra effect of gentle exfoliation and softening of the skin. Two birds killed with one stone.
Tea Tree Oil
Just like boric acid, tea tree oil can help you get rid of vaginal odor but may be too harsh on the skin. You need to dilute it with olive oil or water, dab a cotton ball in the solution and apply it on the labia. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Repeat this procedure three times a day for 4 days in order to reduce the symptoms of the infection and to get rid of the foul smell.
Eating these fruits has so many benefits for the urinal tract and vagina that they seem to have been created for women. Cranberries have antifungal and antibacterial properties and thanks to a high level of vitamin C they strengthen the urinal tract. Cranberries supplements are recommended to women who suffer from various feminine organs conditions and can even heal the bladder infection.
If you want to fight vaginal odours, you should eat 200 g of cranberries a day or drink four to five glasses of cranberry juice. If you are not a fan of the bitter taste, you can choose to take cranberry supplements available in many pharmacies and health food stores.
Turmeric is becoming a more and more popular ingredient of antibacterial skin products. When you add turmeric to the food you eat, you make it easier for your body to fight bacteria that caused the vaginal infection and foul smell from your intimate areas. If you want to achieve quick results by using turmeric as a home remedy for vaginal odour, prepare a solution of 1 glass of milk and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Mix it well, warm it up and drink it three to four times a day. If you don’t like the taste of turmeric, you can add a teaspoon of organic honey into the solution. Honey will boost the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of this home remedy.