Vaginal odour is a phenomenon that most women deal with but nobody knows the reason, the science or even what to do about it. How would you react if someone told you the mud is dirty? Popular response would be its mud, of course it is dirty, in fact it can be equated to dirt. That is exactly what it is to say that the vagina has an odour. A vagina is the home to millions of good bacteria and hence the odour is normal. The odour also changes based on multiple factors like work outs, menstrual cycle, period products, etc. In any case if the odour really bothers then there are some tricks you may try in order to get rid of vaginal odour.
Types and Reasons for vaginal odour
Vaginal odour might be caused due to bacterial vaginosis, which is the most common type of bacterial infection. It is when the number harmful bacteria increase in the vagina. But if the odour is caused due to bacterial vaginosis, then you will experience other symptoms like itching, redness, pain etc.
Other reasons could be excessive sweating, tight clothes/ underwear, sexual activities, periods, STIs etc.
The different types of odour which you may experience are:
- Coppery or Metallic odour– This is a normal odour experienced by many women. It is usually nothing to worry about. It may occur when your vagina comes in contact with semen, affecting the pH levels, resulting in metallic odour. In rare cases this may be caused due vaginal bleeding but in that case the odour shouldn’t last long after your period ends. If you experience this odour along with itching and discharge then visit your medical health professional.
- Sweet molasses/beer like odour– Again this is most commonly caused by changes in pH level, but in this case the contributing factor may be yeast build up in the vagina. Nothing concerning about this odour, unless it is accompanied by intense burning, itching, or feelings of dryness.
- Chemical odour: Out of all the odours we’ve spoken about already, this one is the most concerning and requires medical attention if you are experiencing it. The reasons include bacterial vaginosis and excessive ammonia in urine. A buildup of urine in your underwear or around your vulva could put off a chemical smell. Remember, urine smelling strongly of ammonia is a sign of dehydration.
- Skunky or earthy odour: Yes! Its normal! This odour is usually caused emotional stress or anxiety which causes the sweat glands in your vulva to secrete sweat thereby causing this smell.
Remedies to avoid vaginal odour
Like we have already mentioned multiple times, vaginal odour is completely normal and you don’t need to get rid of it but if it bothers you or affects your self-esteem in anyway then you can try these methods to keep vaginal odour controlled
- Avoid douching: You know by now that vagina is a self-cleaning organ and douching (spraying water inside your vagina using a device) does nothing but wash away the good bacteria and thereby resulting in the disbalance of pH levels.
- Don’t use scented products: Quite ironic that you should avoid this in order to counter odour but its true. Any scented tampon, scented pads, scented intimate washes etc. all affect the environment by disbalancing the chemical formulation, of your vagina.
- Care for vagina when involved in sexual activities: Remember to use condoms, it reduces the risk of STIs and transfer of other bacteria. Pee and then rinse your vulva immediately after sex. Avoid using scented lubricants.
- Avoid tight fitting clothes: Tight fitting clothes trap fluids and substances in the vagina thereby resulting in bacteria build-up. Choose breathable cotton underwear as opposed to tight fitting spandex ones.
- Switch to internal period products: Sanitary pads often contribute vaginal odour as they rest on the outside with the collected blood. Consider switching to tampons or menstrual cups if you want to control vaginal odour.
- Maintaining an overall good hygiene: Washing regularly, changing your sanitary napkins in regular intervals, change your underwear whenever you feel wetness etc.
Vaginal odour changes constantly depending on what you’re doing at that point and how your lifestyle is. It is completely normal as long as it is not accompanied with other symptoms. If one particular smell is prolonged then you may want to visit your doctor. But remember you don’t have to feel the need to get rid of the odour for anyone else, do it only if it makes you feel better.
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