What Is Vaginal Odor?
Vaginal odor is the smell that your vagina—and usually your discharge—gives off.
Why Does Vaginal Odor Happen?
1. You accidentally left a tampon in there.
Some people may put in a just-in-case tampon toward the end of their period and forget about it, don’t remember that they already have one in before putting in a new one, or forget and have sex with one in and it gets pushed sideways into the back of cervix.
2. You have a bacterial infection.
Bacterial vaginosis (usually just known as B.V.) is the most common vaginal infection in people ages 15 to 44, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it happens when there is too much of certain bacteria in your vagina. This throws off the pH of your vagina.
3. You ate something funky.
If you find that your usual scent is off and you know you recently ate a bunch of very fragrant foods (like garlic) or anything that’s not normally in your diet—and the change bothers you—you can consider whether what you eat may be contributing. If you’re not sure whether the change in smell is due to food or something else, call your doctor to get checked out.
4. You recently had sex without a condom.
You might notice things smell a little different down there after sex, which makes sense. You’ve got your fluids mixing with another person’s fluids, and maybe some sweat too. Plus, semen has an elevated pH, and that can cause an odor to form. Typically, the smell will clear up on its own within a day or so—or after you shower—but if it persists, call your doctor.
5. You have your period.
You’ve probably found that your vaginal odor smells a little more intense when you’re bleeding and that’s normal. Blood has an elevated pH, and that can throw your vaginal flora off a little during your period. Usually it’s not a huge change in scent, and it goes away once your period wraps up.
6. You have a yeast issue.
You probably associate yeast infections with a certain discharge, but they can also cause a particular odor to develop. OTC yeast infection medications should help clear up the infection—and smell—but if you’ve tried that once and it didn’t work, check in with your doctor.
Have a Smelly Vagina? Here are 10 Ways to Change That
1. Don’t Forget to Wash
If you don’t want to have a fishy vaginal smell, wash your vagina regularly. Take the time to properly clean the outside of your vagina. Using regular mild soap and a gentle washcloth can do the trick.
2. Don’t Leave It Wet
Bacteria like to live in damp places. It’s a playground for them. So after washing, keep in mind you have to properly dry it too. Use a clean towel and pat it. If you just used the toilet, use wipes or gentle tissue paper to wipe off yourself.
3. Never Reuse Your Underwear
Who doesn’t like wearing fresh underwear? No matter how tempted you are, never wear your dirty underwear. If you somehow found yourself on an unexpected overnight trip, don’t be too creative and think of wearing the same underwear by turning your panties inside out. Side A and side B don’t work here. Drop by at a convenience store and buy clean ready to wear undies. Again, just like the first one, this is a pretty solid tip.
4. The Bushes Must Go
Your pubic hair actually holds sweat, oil, and bacteria, bringing a slightly stronger odor on your genitals. Don’t worry though as you can get rid of the odor through regular washing.
However, if you’re bothered with the strong smell, you can remove your pubes by doing the following hair removal techniques:
With this method, you’re not removing all your hair, but just keeping it in a manageable length. You can use a pair of scissors, an electric razor or bikini trimmers. Use a mirror to clearly see the areas that you need to trim.
This is one of the most effective and painless ways of removing your pubes. However, you need to be cautious with this method. If you’re not shaving properly, your coochie might end up with skin irritation, ingrown hairs and razor burn.
To properly shave off your pubes, you need to find a spot where you can freely spread your legs. After that, clean your intimate area first, then go for a position that allows you to shave your pubes (such as squatting position). Then, use a sharp and clean razor to gently shave off your pubes. Use a mirror to clearly see the areas that need some shaving. For a more comfortable experience, use a mild shaving cream or lotion before shaving.
7. Sip That Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks in the world. It’s packed with antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. The catechins found in green tea can prevent UTI infections. It can also put a stop to vaginal yeast infections which are often the cause of a smelly vagina.
8. Avoid Consuming Spices with Strong Odors
Foods with strong odor such as garlic, onion, asparagus and some spices are going to do a number on your vaginal odor. They can change your pH balance so you may gain a funky odor from eating too much of these.
9. Eat More Fruits
For fruits that are high on natural sugars such as apples, pineapples, grapes, cranberry juice, and watermelon. It can give your lady juices that sweet-scented smell. Here’s the best part: After eating any of these fruits, it can take an immediate effect on your smell down there.
10. Switch to Cotton Undies
Panties that are 100% cotton can give you that breathable feeling down there and just by wearing one, you decrease your chances of getting vaginal infections.