Tuesday, 2 October 2018


If you have ever asked yourself if it is normal to have vaginal odour; if you have ever expired unfamiliar odours from your vagina, you’re not alone. Even when you take good care of your body and vagina, you may experience unusual smells occasionally. Well, the good news is, healthy vaginas are supposed to smell. In fact, this is an ordinary situation for most women. Vaginas emit natural odours but what exactly is the difference between a natural and abnormal smell? 

TYPES OF VAGINA ODOUR; It is common for women to be self-conscious about their vaginal smell. These negative feelings can affect self-esteem and body image. However, it is also normal for the vagina to have a mild, musky smell. Indeed, research suggests that this odour is partially due to pheromones that can increase sexual attractiveness and subtly communicate information about fertility.
This odour changes with hormonal shifts during pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle. So a subtle smell is not a cause for concern. Some other odours, however, warrant a call to the doctor.

 FISHY VAGINAL ODOUR: Bacterial vaginitis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age. When something upsets the vagina's complex chemistry, harmful bacteria can grow out of control, producing a fishy odour.

SWEET OR BEER LIKE VAGINA ODOUR; A yeast overgrowth in the vagina can produce a sweet smell reminiscent of honey or cookies. The vagina might also smell like beer, flour, or bread. Sometimes the odour smells sour, but it can also be pleasant. Intense burning, itching, or feelings of dryness usually accompany yeast infections. They tend to get worse over time, and some women may notice a discharge that resembles cottage cheese.

OTHER ODOURS; Hormonal changes during menopause may alter the scent of the vagina, and leave the vagina feeling dry. Any shift in vaginal odour, particularly if the smell is strong or unpleasant, demands a trip to the doctor. It is not recommended to use perfume to mask the smell.

HYGIENE; Safe, gentle vaginal hygiene practices can reduce vaginal odour. Some strategies include: Wiping front to back: This prevents faecal matter from getting into the vagina; Urinating immediately after sex, Using a gentle, fragrance-free soap on the vulva only, Inserting soap into the vagina can alter vaginal pH, causing infections and a foul odour. Changing underwear daily, or when underwear is sweaty or soiled. Washing underwear in unscented products, showering after sweating or exercise as trapped sweat can increase vaginal odour, washing the vulva with water if there is an unpleasant odour. Between showers, women can use a washcloth to gently wipe down the area, removing sweat and other sources of odour.

MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS; Some women notice a stronger vaginal smell when they get their periods; some women smell an iron-like metallic odour, and others smell ammonia. Some menstrual products trap odour, compounding this effect. To reduce odour: Try wearing internal products. The moisture of maxi pads and reusable cloth pads can contribute to odour. Sitting on a wet pad can also cause an infection. Change menstrual products frequently. Some women notice a strong fishy odour immediately after sexual intercourse, which is a telltale sign of bacterial vaginitis. Others notice a less distinct smell.
HOW SEX AFFECTS VAGINA ODOUR; sometimes interactions between semen and vaginal fluids can cause vaginal odour. Some lubricants can also change vaginal pH and the odour that comes with it. To reduce the odour associated with vaginal intercourse, use a condom to prevent semen from coming into contact with vaginal fluids. Compare different condom brands and products to choose the most suitable one before purchasing. Rinse the vagina and vulva with plain water following intercourse. Do not douche,avoid using scented or flavoured lubricants.

CLOTHING; Clothing can trap things in or around the vagina such as: sweat, dead skin, discharge, leaked semen from earlier intercourse and other sources of odour. Very tight-fitting clothing is a common culprit; and this includes some shape wear. Fecal matter that travels to the vagina can cause infections and odours, so avoid clothing that encourages this spread; e.g tight-fitting thong underwear. Breathable cotton is the best choice for women concerned about vaginal odour.
Cotton is less likely to hold moisture close to the vagina. This makes it more difficult for bacteria and other sources of odour to accumulate and produce a strong smell. 

DIET: Very sugary foods can trigger an overgrowth of yeast, altering the odour of the vagina. There's some evidence that other strong-smelling foods might also change the vagina's smell. Onions, coffee, and other strong-smelling foods can alter the smell of the vagina by changing the smell of sweat and other bodily fluids.

There's little scientific research supporting the use of any specific food to change the smell of the vagina. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some sweet-smelling foods, such as watermelon, apple, and celery, might help. It's also important to drink plenty of water. Remaining well-hydrated prevents bacterial overgrowth. It can also prevent sweat from smelling bad, resulting in less pronounced vaginal odour.


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