Perhaps the most common vaginal odor described by women is a fishy odor. The fishy smell is in actuality due to an imbalance in the vaginal pH. Doctors at Emory University state that as healthy lactic acid bacteria is reduced in the vaginal environment, unhealthy bacteria and organisms grow readily. These bacterium have a natural smell to them that when added to vaginal discharge smells fishy. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common culprit of a fishy odor emitting from the vagina, and can be easily rectified with home remedies, supplements or by contacting your doctor.
Vaginal Odor Plus Discharge/Pain/Irritation
As stated above, when vaginal odor is accompanied with a yellow or whitish cottage cheese looking discharge, itching, burning and irritation of the vagina and the labia – chances are high that an infection is present. The smell can vary from person to person, and is normally mild compared to the irritation caused by the discharge. If there is blood in the discharge, then the infection may have spread from the vagina to the reproductive organs and medical attention should be sought.
Additionally, vaginal odor that does not go away with anti-fungal or anti-bacterial creams or home treatments can be caused by a sexually transmitted disease such as Trichomoniasis, or Chlamydia. Remember, if a sexually transmitted disease is present, your partner may not show any symptoms – but will need to be treated as well to prevent re-infection.
Vaginal Odors After Sex
According to the expert, many people have a problem with a foul odor in the vagina after intercourse. This is especially true if your partner ejaculates inside of you. The pH of the semen, along with the extra secretions during sex can create a cocktail of odorous proportions.
In a report by LiveStrong Organization, it was determined that some women are actually ‘allergic’ to their partner’s semen, which can eventually cause bacteria to build up, yeast infections and urinary tract infections. One reason that the problem is pronounced after sex is because the natural movement of intercourse tends to push the bacteria higher into the reproductive organs. If you have this problem, you should ask your partner to ejaculate outside or use a condom. However, many women also have a bad reaction to the latex and chemicals on condoms as well. If the odor primarily comes after sex, then simply wash the vagina with warm water and mild soap afterwards. You might also want to start taking a pro-biotic or eating yogurt on a daily basis to build up your beneficial flora.
Vaginal Odor During Pregnancy
ACOG (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) reports that around 9 out of every 10 women experience an unusual vaginal odor during pregnancy. The reason, is normally harmless, and caused solely by the immense amount of hormone secretions and overworking sebaceous sweat glands in the vaginal area that are stimulated into a frenzy during pregnancy.
Additionally, as your body becomes deficient in vitamins and minerals that are now transferred to your baby, the pH of your vagina can be thrown off kilter. Still, the subject should be breached with your OBGYN during routine visits. Chances are they will check for infections such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, which can be treated easily during pregnancy. But more than likely, this will be yet another pregnancy side effect you will have to deal with.
How To Get Rid Of Vaginal Odor And Prevention
Remember, that every woman has a certain smell to her vagina. If you feel the smell is offensive, onsets suddenly, or warrants a trip to the doctor – the following tips can help to eliminate vaginal odor and keep it from returning.
- Eating plenty of plain yogurt is found to be effective. Make sure that this is organic, unflavored yogurt, especially the non-sugary type. Yogurt is rich in lactobacillus, which helps to restore the normal vaginal pH level, helping to prevent the condition from recurring.
- Apple cider vinegar helps restore the acidic quality of the vaginal flora and fights off the toxins that cause infection. Simply indulge in a long bath with two to three cups of this natural antibacterial agent in your bathing water to achieve quick results.
- Garlic is one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics. Inserting a clove of garlic into your vagina and retaining it for a couple of hours can alleviate the bad vaginal odor to a large extent.
- Pour half cup of vinegar and half cup of salt into a bathtub and soak several times a week. This will help to balance the vaginal pH.
- Avoid douching. Instead, wash with warm water and mild soap. You may find a hand held shower attachment can help you to feel cleaner. Be sure to wash the labia and inner folds of the vagina as well.
- Wear cotton panties and loose fitting clothes. Tight jeans and fabrics that don’t allow your vagina to breathe can result in vaginal sweating, causing bacteria build-up, an eventually will cause an odor.
- Always wipe front to back after bowel movements to avoid spread of rectal bacteria.
- Changing pads, tampons, and pantie-liners frequently.
- Changing underwear daily.
- Avoid using scented product, harsh laundry detergents, or feminine products designed to ‘freshen’ the vagina.
- Take a pro-biotic supplement to ensure you maintain a healthy level of ‘good’ bacteria in your body.
Remember that vaginal odor to a certain degree is absolutely normal! Paying attention to your body and being aware of any sudden changes, and seeking medical attention accordingly, are your best defense against recurring feminine odor. Still, any sudden change in your feminine odor is a sign your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, and it should be heeded.