What Causes Vaginal Odor?
The vagina’s normal odor is often described as smelling slightly musky. Your personal scent comes from a combination of your chemical make- up including pheromones, and the things you consume as part of your daily diet. This is a natural part of you and your odor does have purpose, such as attracting your partner to you and acting as a cue that your body is in balance.
This odor will change slightly throughout the normal reproductive cycle each month. An unpleasant odor may be caused by a lack of proper hygiene, sweat and clothing that is too tight or made from a synthetic material. However, a pungent or fishy odor accompanied by vaginal discharge indicates an upset in the natural balance of the vagina. An infection such as yeast or bacterial vaginosis along with sexually transmitted diseases are typically the causes of these more obnoxious smells.
What Can I Do About Vaginal Odor?
There are several simple home remedies for vaginal odors which you can use to treat a mildly unpleasant odor caused by improper hygiene or mild yeast infections.
The easiest thing you can do is to simply wash your body thoroughly every day. Avoid harsh chemicals or antibacterial soaps as they can kill the helpful bacteria that naturally live in your vagina. You will also want to discontinue scented soaps as they are known to be irritants. Instead use a small amount of mild, preferably unscented soap that won’t irritate delicate skin. Once you have showered, dry yourself off thoroughly to avoid moisture sitting on your skin.
Wearing 100 percent cotton panties helps to absorb sweat, drawing it away from your body and preventing it from being trapped next to your skin. Man-made materials do not have the ability to do this so the moisture becomes trapped, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to flourish. If you have a lot of moisture you may want to use an unscented panty liner to help with additional absorption. Make sure to change it throughout the day to help keep you dry. It is also a good idea to sleep without panties. Allowing your body to be exposed to air during the night allows it to breath.
Temporarily changing your diet may also help reduce the odor you are experiencing. If your feminine odor is related to an over growth of yeast, avoiding foods that are made with yeast is advisable, as well as sugary foods and simple carbohydrates (yeast thrive on sugar). Consuming foods such as breads, pasta and other processed items will only add to the problem. Instead, try consuming more foods that will naturally help reduce the high levels of yeast. Yogurt with probiotics is a yeast fighting food that can help eliminate the bad fungus by encouraging the good bacteria found in the vagina to grow instead of an excess of unwanted microbes.
Tea tree oil is another commonly used home remedy for vaginal odor. Its natural anti-fungal and antiseptic properties help kill the excess bacteria in the vagina. To use this remedy simply dilute a couple of drops of oil in lukewarm water creating a solution. Soak a wash cloth and then gently cleanse the vaginal area.
MayoClinic Vaginal Odor