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 bad breath. All of these odors 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 odor is not as simple as getting rid of 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 odor 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 Odor
STD, BV, and Candidiasis
If the odor from your vaginal area is accompanied by irritation, itchiness, burning sensation or 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 occurrence of the symptoms.
The odor 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 a 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 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 favor this sensitive area. Frequent shaving, washing with soap, wearing underwear made from unnatural fabrics, showering too much or not frequently enough, touching 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 intercourse, it affects the pH balance of your vagina and may result in a foul odor. 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 Odor
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 odor 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 the 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 odor, you can use a feminine deodorant during the treatment, but don’t make it a habit.