All human beings have odors that come from different parts of their body. Women can even develop a vaginal odor, a natural and perfectly normal vaginal scent.
It does not mean anything is wrong with you if you are a woman with a vaginal odor. But you may still feel annoyed or embarrassed by your vaginal odor and afraid of what your intimate partner might think about it. So perhaps you will want to find a way to eliminate the vaginal odor so your vagina smells fresh and clean.
First, please understand that healthy bacteria exist in the genital region of the body, including the vagina, vulvar, and groin skin. Since the genital area has sweat glands, a woman may experience significant sweat in this region of her body that will cause strong odors to form. This is natural.
Avoid Douching or Excessive Scrubbing
Of course, every woman experiences a different level of genital and vaginal sweat, especially after sexual intercourse or while pregnant. But if you do not like the smell of your vaginal odor, you may be anxious to look for ways to eliminate it.
You must be very careful when attempting to reduce or eliminate your vaginal odor because you could make it worse if you take the wrong actions. For example, aggressively scrubbing or overwashing your vaginal area could destroy the healthy bacteria inhabiting the vagina.
Healthy bacteria work to stop unhealthy bacteria from growing in the vagina. So, if you destroy the healthy bacteria by douching too much, it will create an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the vagina. Then you could have more unhealthy bacteria in your vagina that cause unwanted health issues and more foul odors.
In addition, you must avoid using scented soaps or any soap loaded with harsh ingredients because they could severely irritate your vagina. Between vaginal irritation and the growth of unhealthy bacteria, you could develop a severe problem in your vagina.
The Risk of Infection
When you experience vaginal irritation and an unusually robust vaginal odor simultaneously, you should immediately see your primary care physician for advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
Many women with vaginal odor have a sexually transmitted infection called trichomoniasis. They usually get it from having sex with multiple partners without any protection. You will know if you have this infection because your vagina will emit a minor odor and a green and bubbly discharge. You will also experience pain or irritation while having sexual intercourse with your partner. As soon as you recognize the signs of this infection, seek long-term treatment from your doctor immediately.
Another common vaginal infection is called bacterial vaginitis. Women can get it from having sex with one partner, multiple partners, or no partners. Even smoking and douching can cause bacteria vaginitis because it still creates an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina.
Women with bacterial vaginitis will experience a vaginal fishy odor, irritation, excessive discharge, itching, and/or burning sensations. You can expect this infection to occur whenever anaerobic bacteria outnumber the healthy bacteria in the vagina. Seek antibiotic treatment from your doctor to eliminate the infection. Some women may need long-term treatment to battle the bad bacteria if they reoccur continuously.
Many women experience yeast infections as well. The typical sign of a yeast infection is a sweet odor resembling a similar odor to beer. The odor will be followed by symptoms like irritation, thick and clumpy discharge, itching, and dryness. The common cause of a yeast infection is overconsuming antibiotic medication, which can eliminate good and bad bacteria together. Yeast infections can also occur from some menstrual products and untreated diabetes. Since a yeast infection is fungal, your doctor will prescribe antifungal medication to treat the problem.
How to Reduce the Risk of Vaginal Odor the Right Way
Some degree of natural vaginal odor will always be there. However, you can reduce the intensity of the odor by practicing better habits and techniques to sustain the natural balance of healthy bacteria in your vagina.
Here are some healthy tips for reducing vaginal odor intensity:
- Avoid undergarments made of unbreathable fabrics, such as spandex and polyester. Instead, wear undergarments made of breathable fabrics like cotton. And if you sweat a lot at nighttime while you sleep, try wearing no undergarments.
- Do not apply scented soaps, perfumes, deodorants, or powders in your vagina because they will irritate it. Avoid antibacterial soaps too.
- Gently wash your vagina with a mild use of soap, if any. Try not to clean more than once daily unless you have done a lot of physical exercise.
- Do not wear soaked or wet undergarments for extended periods because they will accumulate too much harmful bacteria.
- Use a vaginal probiotics such as Pro-Fem which is clinically tested to balance your pH and eliminate odors
- Take a shower after swimming in a river, lake, or swimming pool
- Do not wear panty liners because they trap sweat and moisture on the vaginal skin and increase bacterial growth
Remember that some cases of unusual vaginal odor may be attributed to poor hygiene, diet changes, or using vaginal or skin products with harsh chemicals. Therefore, please consult a physician to learn more about safely avoiding unusual or significant vaginal odors.