Let’s make it clear that the vagina has a scent of its own. Every woman has unique properties influenced by the environment, diet, biological makeup, sexual activity, and hormonal balance that contribute to the aroma of their vagina. Some develop an unmistakeable smell that does not bode well for their well-being, but in any case it’s well known that the process of achieving a desirable odor can be implemented easily.
Vaginal odor, at first glance, is more often than not a topic, which people usually avoid. The prevalent social stigma associated with vaginal odor causes a lot of embarrassment with the afflicted. In most cases, the cause of vaginal odor ranges from improper hygiene upkeep to contracted diseases from sexual activity. It’s important to find the cause of the odor to implement the optimal solution for eliminating the unwanted smell.
Causes of vaginal odor
- Menstruation and Hormonal Changes
Vaginal odor becomes apparent usually during the menstrual cycle. The fluids released from the vagina produce this unpleasant odor – but there is no correlation with harmful diseases when this happens. Sexual activity in this period does not signify that it’s hazardous to one’s health, just be aware of the foul smell it secretes.
Hormones released during this time contribute to the effect of the smell of the area. Especially during the secretory cycle, in which the production of progesterone progresses, that leads to additional excretions that aid in developing vaginal odor.
Suppressing the odor with vaginal douche is not highly suggested. Health professionals recommend to maintain the pH level of the area, as it makes it highly susceptible to bacterial infection.
- Poor Hygiene
Having poor hygiene provides an avenue to develop vaginal odor. The unkempt area becomes a hub for bacteria to flourish and grow assisting in developing the foul smell. It is advisable to wash the area religiously to avoid accumulation of bacteria causing odors.
Sweat also plays an important role when it comes to poor hygiene. Scientifically, the area surrounding the genitals has apocarine sweat glands also located in the armpits, nipples, ear canals, eyelids, and the nostrils. They secrete an oily fluid that stabilizes the growth of bacteria on the skin, which becomes the odor.
Another issue that can contribute to the odor is the prolonged use of tampons inside the body. The accumulation of discharge, absorbed by the tampon, can lead to irritation, itchiness, and smelling, or worse, it can lead to an infection. It is advisable to change tampons at least twice a day to prevent unleashing unpleasant odors and keep the vagina as clean as possible.
What you eat is also an important factor of gaining a smell all throughout the body. But there are certain foods that cause vaginal odor. Foods, such as caffeine drinks and products, excessive meat and dairy products, onions and garlics, and especially spices, are roots of the uninvited smell.
Spicy food and peppers assist in intensifying the secretion of vaginal discharge, which enables bacteria to grow in the moist environment. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, on the other hand, help in maintaining the healthy and natural smell for the area.
Trichomoniasas is a sexual transmitted disease that is more common than most other transmissions. It is caused by a parasite that causes foul smelling vaginal discharge. Symptoms may include itching, irritation, and soreness of the local area. This parasite can also affect childbearing duties which may lead to premature delivery or complications at birth.
Men can carry this infection without any symptoms, which can be transmitted to women via sexual intercourse. Thus, it is crucial to get both partners to get tested and use latex condoms to stay safe amongst transmission.
- Bacterial Vaginosis
One of the most common causes of vaginal odor, bacterial vaginosis – also known as BV – is the higher rate of bacterium growth found inside the vagina. Thirty percent of women correspond to bacterial vaginosis, who are of childbearing age. It frequently develops after sexual intercourse with a new partner, but even women without prior experience may acquire this. It is not considered as a sexually transmitted infection but may provoke further irritation. The symptoms may include vaginal discharge as watery, white or gray in color, and a distinct “fishy” odor.
The main cause of BV is the imbalance of bacterial flora growth found inside the vagina, but doctors do not know why this happens. It may appear and disappear without a trace but, in most cases, there are no other harmful effects, rather than a foul smelling odor.
- Yeast Infection
Yeast infection is also one of the most common causes of the unwanted smell in the genital area. In most cases, this happens during the most unstable hormonal distribution period, such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and mood changes. Bacterial imbalance in the vagina also causes yeast infection, which may have the same symptoms of BV and Trichomoniasis, but is triggered by different variables.
Lactobacillus acidophilus help keep the yeast under control, thus, it is highly advisable to promote drinking lactobacilli, which can be easily bought in drug stores or supermarkets. Yogurt intake is also viable to aid in strengthening the lactobacilli in the vagina.
Vaginal and cervical cancer can contribute to the prevalence of vaginal odor. Although it is not as common as the other causes, the imbalance of bacteria growth inside the vagina due to increasing tumors are the sources of rampant vaginal odors. There is no known cure for cancer thus the best way to prevent cancer is to get tested frequently to immediately find solutions to get rid of vaginal odors.
Preventing vaginal odor
Preventing the widespread presence of vaginal odors is the sure fire way to keep the genital area healthy and within the bounds of acceptable aroma. Below is the list of ways to avert this unwanted odor.
- Implement proper hygiene upkeep
It is imperative to have a proper hygiene regimen to stop vaginal odor in its infancy. Keep yourself clean by changing sweaty and soiled clothes as frequently as possible. Regularly change tampons to prevent prevalence of bacteria in the vagina. Clean the area thoroughly but be mindful not to overclean it. Some of the bacteria keep the vagina pristine of diseases and odors.
- Eat a healthy diet
Food is one of the major factors that contribute to the overall aroma of the genital. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt fosters a friendlier smell. Avoid consuming large amounts of fish, meat, dairy products, and spices, which can cause changes with general body smell.
- Avoid douching
Contrary to popular belief, douching may assist in promoting vaginal odors. It kills the good bacteria that keeps the vagina free of odor, causing bacteria. It is better to wash the area with soap thoroughly to keep the area clean while not disturbing the natural balance of bacteria growth inside the vagina.
- Practice safe sex
Keeping yourself safe during sexual intercourse provides a higher chance of preventing acquiring of sexual transmitted diseases. Wearing condoms for the partner enhances the viability of staying healthy and keeps the spread of the disease at bay.
Numerous do-it-yourself home remedies for mitigating the incessant odor are easily available. These aren’t alternatives to medical prescriptions that target the root cause of the problem but instead they offer a short-term solution, delivering comfort and ease for the affected area.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar offers antibacterial and antifungal properties suitable in warding off vaginal odor. Application of the vinegar not only cleans the area but further prevents outbreak of the disagreeable smell. Swabbing a piece of cloth in vinegar and applying to the outer layer of the vagina destroys bacteria. Left untreated, growth and spread of this bacteria can blossom to unsatisfactory heights.
One easily available product is garlic, which has antimicrobial and also antifungal properties. It aids in keeping the area free of odor. It is uncanny to treat an odor with an ingredient that also has its own unique smell but its positive qualities outweigh its cons. Consuming raw or cooked garlic on a daily basis helps in keeping the genital free of yeast infection and keeps the vaginal bacteria in balance.
Lactobacilli is a cultured probiotics that helps fight the “bad” bacteria in the vagina. According to health professionals, it is a major determinant of making the bacterial flora growth inside vagina balanced. Intake of yogurt helps in providing the required equilibrium to ward off against vaginal odor. Other drinks that contain this “good” bacteria are also advisable for consumption.
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, like apple cider vinegar, contains the same antibacterial and antifungal properties. Applying tea tree oil diluted in water by means of cotton swabbing to the local area ensures that the genital is free from odor. Remember to apply at least once weekly to get rid of the smell as quickly as possible.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
As stated before, it is vital to consume a healthy diet to employ a better smell for the region. Fruits with desirable fragrance, such as mangoes, strawberries, apples, and bananas, contribute to the overall welfare of the vagina. The chemicals of the fruits are the basis for the smell it produces. These are then broken down in the body and excreted through the pores. Remember that we are what we eat. So eat attractive smelling food to reinvigorate your personal fragrance.
- Neem Bark Extract
Neem bark extract supports the balance of the internal bacterial flora found in the vagina. As well as tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar, it also has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can be applied topically with submerged cottons in the extract. Oral intake of capsule-based extracts can also be applied.
Studies have shown that it can fight other genital-based diseases and infections, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes. It also improves the response time of white blood cells for the invading bacteria. Sexually active women can take this simple solution to help them stay active and make their chances of transmission smaller.
- Baking soda
Applying baking soda in the local region keeps the pH balance in the vagina in check. The cause of the odor can lie in the pH balance. Thus it is crucial to always balance out the scales of the level of acidity in the area to prevent the stench from budding.
Just add in a half cup of baking soda to the bath water and soak in it for 10-15 minutes to regulate the natural pH of the body. Make sure to dry off thoroughly, so moisture does not build up in the skin folds or groin area. Be aware of the possible gradual increase of moisture – this can lead to the unwanted odor.
- Liquid Chloropyl
Liquid chlorophyll is a natural liquid that conceals unpleasant smells in the body. It may suppress or eliminate the vaginal odor. It is available in most local drug stores, and it is advisable to get a hold of this and consume at least 1 teaspoon a day. You can dilute it into 8 oz. of water if the concentrated form is undesirable to your taste.
Overall, it is not uncommon to find yourself with the problem of the stench that your genitals produce. It is best to be mindful of the causes of this slight complication in order for you to find the right solutions.
Home remedies are advisable to be used for daily upkeep to prevent this from happening. Most causes of the odor equate to being unconcerned with one’s health and lifestyle. Improving on the bad habits, which accumulate over time, is the best solution for long term prevention of vaginal odors.
But if you find yourself conducting a healthy lifestyle and yet the stench is still present, it would be of the highest concern to contact your doctor immediately. There is no replacement for medical professionals that offer the foremost solutions. Home remedies and thorough research can only get you so far. Don’t be afraid of finding the best solutions to your problems. It is, afterall, the only body you have so make the most out of it!