It’s normal for your vagina to smell a little. However, if you feel that your vagina smells strong, e.g. fishy or unpleasant, this could indicate a health condition or problem. The odor could accompany other symptoms such as itching, burning, skin irritation or vaginal discharge. Generally speaking, if you have vaginal odor without additional symptoms, the odor is probably not unnatural. Several common vaginal infections can cause an unpleasant odor, and you can try home remedies and professional products to get rid of the odor quickly.
Table of Contents
- 1 Maintain good hygiene in the intimate area
- 2 Use food and natural home remedies
- 3 Identify the cause of the odor
- 3.1 Notice if your vagina smells fishy, you have gray or white discharge, or if you feel a burning sensation when you urinate.
- 3.2 Check if you have a foul-smelling odor and yellow or green discharge.
- 3.3 Determine if you have a yeasty vaginal odor and thick, white discharge.
- 3.4 Check if you have a strong vaginal odor and watery discharge.
- 3.5 Notice if you notice a strong odor after exercising or sweating.
- 3.6 Make sure you haven’t forgotten to remove a tampon.
- 4 Get medical help
Maintain good hygiene in the intimate area
Don’t use douches.
Douching that forces water or a cleanser into the vagina can remove the healthy bacteria in your vagina and push an infection (if it’s present) up into your uterus, making the condition worse. You should also avoid intimate sprays, as they are similar to douches and can irritate your vagina or cause allergic reactions. Remember that your vagina naturally cleanses itself. As long as you maintain good personal hygiene, you shouldn’t have to force her to clean or interfere with her natural cleansing process.
Rinse your vagina while showering or bathing.
Make sure your private parts stay clean by washing your vagina and labia with water and a mild, fragrance-free soap. Avoid using harsh and scented soaps on your intimate parts, as they can irritate the sensitive skin.
Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear.
This improves airflow in the groin area, especially when exercising or sweating, and prevents moisture from building up, which counteracts odors from sweat or bacteria. You should always take off your workout clothes once you’re done with your workout. Wear wet, sweaty clothing longer than necessary, as this can lead to unpleasant odors. Put on clean underwear every day to prevent bacterial growth and odor build-up.
Wipe your privates from front to back after you have a bowel movement.
Prevent bacterial transfer from your butt to your vagina by wiping from front to back after you pass stool. This keeps your vagina free of bacteria that can cause odor and possibly even infection.
Change your tampon or pad every four to six hours.
Also, practice good personal hygiene during your menstrual period by changing your tampon or pad every four to six hours. This will prevent odor build-up and ensure that your vagina is not unnecessarily irritated during menstruation. Changing your tampon frequently will also ensure that you don’t forget to remove a tampon, as this can also lead to an unpleasant odor and pose serious health risks.
Use food and natural home remedies
Eat yogurt to promote a good yeast balance.
Yogurt contains natural probiotics that can help balance bacterial secretions in your vagina and the rest of your body. If you suffer from recurrent vaginal thrush, consuming yogurt daily is a good and healthy option to eliminate vaginal odor caused by yeast infections. Check if your yogurt contains active live cultures to ensure it can help your body produce more lactic acid bacteria.
Avoid eating odor-causing foods.
Eating certain foods and drinks can actually change your vaginal odor, since the foods you eat can trigger your body to release certain odors. If you’re concerned about your vaginal odor, avoid drinking coffee and alcohol. You should also avoid onions, spicy foods, red meat, and dairy products. However, keep in mind that you must consume these foods in large quantities so that they can greatly change the smell of your vaginal discharge. However, you can try eliminating these foods and beverages from your diet and see if you notice an odor reduction.
Take a hot bath with salt and vinegar.
A natural home remedy is to add 125 ml of brandy vinegar (or diluted vinegar essence) and 130 g of salt to the warm bath water. You can then bathe extensively in the salt and vinegar mixture. This will help the odor go away and restore the natural pH of your privates. However, this treatment is best only used as a short-term solution as it cannot completely eliminate vaginal odor.
Use an herbal supplement.
The herbal supplement Femanol® is specially formulated to help women eliminate vaginal odor and stop vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis. This supplement contains Garlic, Neem Bark, Biotin, Zinc, Selenium and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. According to the manufacturer, Femanol® should help restore the beneficial bacteria in your vagina and help your immune system fight possible infections. Remember that not all herbal supplements available online are federal health agency approved and should be used with caution.
Identify the cause of the odor
Notice if your vagina smells fishy, you have gray or white discharge, or if you feel a burning sensation when you urinate.
These are all symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV for short; also known as Gardnerella infection, amincolpitis or Haemophilus vaginalis infection), a common vaginal infection. The cause of BV is unknown, but it can lead to an overgrowth of naturally occurring vaginal bacteria, thereby causing an infection. Many women with BV have no other symptoms besides the unpleasant odor. However, your doctor can determine if you have BV during an exam. Certain actions, such as unprotected sex and frequent douching, can increase the risk of BV.
Check if you have a foul-smelling odor and yellow or green discharge.
Additionally, you may also experience pain when urinating. These are the symptoms of trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease caused by parasites. Men who have trichomoniasis usually have no symptoms, so both sex partners should be treated for this STD as soon as it is diagnosed. You should always have protected sex and use condoms to reduce the risk of trichomoniasis.
Determine if you have a yeasty vaginal odor and thick, white discharge.
You may also experience itching, soreness, and a burning sensation during urination or intercourse. These are all symptoms of a vaginal thrush. This yeast infection occurs when too much yeast grows in your vagina.
Check if you have a strong vaginal odor and watery discharge.
These could be signs that the odor is caused by hormonal changes during menstruation or between ovulation and your next period. You are particularly prone to unpleasant vaginal odors during these cycle phases. Depending on your age and health history, you may also be experiencing another hormonal change: menopause. Women can have a smelly, watery vaginal discharge during menopause.
Notice if you notice a strong odor after exercising or sweating.
When your entire body sweats, your vagina can become sweaty and smelly. Your external genitals have special apocrine sweat glands or scent glands, which are also located under your armpits, on your nipples, ear canals, eyelids, and nostrils. These sweat glands can secrete a greasy liquid metabolized by the bacteria on your skin’s surface, releasing a distinctive odor. Wearing tight clothing and sweating can increase this odor since it keeps the sweat and bacteria on your skin. If you are overweight, it may be difficult for your body to release odors in the groin area as you have more skin folds due to excess weight.
Make sure you haven’t forgotten to remove a tampon.
If you leave a tampon in your vagina, your menstrual blood and bacteria can collect there. This buildup can irritate your vagina, causing itching, an unpleasant odor, and discharge. If you find that you forgot to remove your tampon, you should see your gynecologist immediately. He/she can safely remove it and treat any possible infection caused by the forgotten tampon.
Get medical help
Contact your gynecologist if you suspect bacterial vaginosis.
Your gynecologist will perform a pelvic exam and take a sample of your vaginal discharge to determine if you have BV. He/she will then prescribe you pills or an ointment to fight the infection. You could get metronidazole, a drug that comes in tablet and gel forms. Your gynecologist may also prescribe clindamycin, which comes as an ointment that you rub inside your vagina. Finally, your gynecologist may prescribe tinidazole, which is taken by mouth. You should avoid alcohol while taking metronidazole and tinidazole and for at least a day after completing treatment. It is common for BV symptoms to return within three to 12 months of treatment. If this is the case for you, ask your doctor about treatment alternatives.
Have your gynecologist prescribe you a medication for trichomoniasis.
Your doctor will examine a sample of your vaginal discharge to determine if you have this STD. If positive, he/she will give you a large dose of metronidazole or tinidazole. If you have a sex partner, you should both be treated for trichomoniasis. Once the infection has healed, you should wait a week after treatment before having sex again. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours after taking metronidazole and 72 hours after taking tinidazole, as it can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
See your gynecologist for treatment of a yeast infection if you have one.
Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and sample your vaginal discharge to determine if you have a yeast infection. If you have an uncomplicated yeast infection, experience mild to moderate symptoms, and experience this infection only occasionally, your doctor will prescribe a one-time or three-day dose of an antifungal medication in cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository form. Your doctor may also recommend an over-the-counter remedy. Suppose you have a complicated yeast infection that keeps coming back with severe symptoms. In that case, your doctor may prescribe a vaginal cream, ointment, tablets, or suppository for seven to 10 days.