Vaginal odor is one of those topics that you may cringe talking about, even with your doctor. This silence may leave you puzzled about what is normal and what is not. With over 2,100 scent molecules that create the smell of the vagina, it’s hard to know if your smell is okay. If you’re noticing a scent that you’re not quite comfortable with, there are a few things you could do. Keep reading to learn five great tips to minimize and hopefully treat vaginal odor.
#1 Avoid Using Perfumed Or Scented Soap
When you notice a change in your vaginal odor, you may be tempted to start using perfumed soaps to cover up the odor. But, this is not always a great choice. These perfumed soaps can disrupt your natural pH levels, and you don’t want that. Such a disruption could help bacteria grow, which would only worsen any odor challenges.
So, if you want to stay on the right track, here’s what you should know. Doctors recommend only washing the outer areas of the vulva, and even then, be sure to use the gentlest soap. You should also resist the urge to scrub the skin around your vagina too hard. This could create small skin tears, giving bacteria more area to multiply in. Instead, use unscented soap and a gentle, clean washcloth. If you need something quick, use a hypoallergenic and pH-balanced flushable wipe.
#2 Cut Out Smelly Foods In Your Diet To Treat Vaginal Odor
Perhaps it should not surprise you that the food that you eat can influence how your vagina smells. Pungent foods can create a more pungent odor down there. Some foods that can be culprits for this are garlic and onions. Super spicy foods can also fuel these smells.
If you want to lessen your vaginal odor, you may want to cut back on these potentially smell-inducing foods. Another great option is to up your vegetable consumption. Many women report a decline in vaginal odor when they make the switch to being a vegetarian. Consuming more fruit could boost your sweet smell as well.
#3 Think About Adding In Probiotics
As we noted above, a healthy, well-balanced diet high in vegetables and fruits can be a great way for you to reduce and treat vaginal odor. Sometimes though, your body may need an additional nudge in the right direction. One relatively easy and inexpensive nudge is for you to add in a daily probiotic. There are many options available at your grocery store or local pharmacy. This probiotic is important because odor often happens because your natural bacteria are out of balance. The probiotic will help rebalance your vagina and leave you feeling fresher.
#4 Practice Good Hygiene After Exercise
Exercise gets your blood pumping and the sweat flowing. Even though you may not always think about it, you can also sweat below the waist. And this sweat may pool in tight workout clothes creating a strong odor over time.
Bladder leaks and incontinence can compound this problem. Some women may experience bladder leaks during exercise, especially exercise that requires jumping or running. You may have even noticed some dampness yourself when doing a recent set of burpees. This dampness can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which we know can contribute to some of the most troublesome odors.
What should you do to counteract this problem? Make sure to shower before you leave the gym and change into dry clothes – especially your underwear. And, if you are noticing dampness after some exercise sets, definitely consider buying some discreet pads for bladder leaks.
#5 Vaginal Odors Can Go Beyond Lifestyle Choices
As we mentioned above, you can take steps on your own to restore your vaginal health and reduce vaginal odor. But, sometimes, the problems are more difficult to address, and you need the help of a medical professional, either your primary care doctor or your gynecologist.
Wondering when you should reach out to a medical professional? The short answer is any time that you think something is not normal. But, there are some signs or symptoms that should nudge you towards a visit to your doctors. One of these is if you notice that your vagina has a fishy or musky smell. This can be a symptom of an infection that may require antibiotic treatment to prevent long-term problems.
Also, you should reach out to your doctor if you notice that the new smell is accompanied by thick discharge. This may also be a warning sign of an infection. The sooner you treat an infection, the better it will be.
Wrapping Up How To Treat Vaginal Odor
You may have recently noticed a new and maybe unpleasant odor coming from your vagina, and naturally, you may feel uncomfortable discussing this…with anyone. But, there are some essential things for you to remember. Vaginal odor is usually normal, and there are steps that you can take at home to address this. In instances where these at-home steps are not enough, you should not hesitate to reach out to your doctor! They may have a wide range of treatment options available for you.
Been looking for the perfect, gentle wipes to help promote vaginal health and cut down on odor? Lily Bird’s got just what you’re looking for! With aloe, chamomile and coconut, these hypoallergenic cleansing cloths are pH-balanced to give your lady downstairs the refresh she’s been asking for.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH