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How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor

written by: BStone • edited by: BStone • updated: 4/13/2011

No woman wants to live with a foul odor. Find out how to get rid of vaginal odor and what may be causing it.

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    Vaginal Odor Gone Wrong

    When vaginal odor has a 'fishy' or foul smell then there is a something amiss with the ecology of the vagina. A frequent cause of an unpleasant odor is excessive growth of bacteria in the vagina, known as bacterial vaginosis. Excessive douching can upset the balance, leading to an off-smelling odor as well as itching and irritation. Some sexually transmitted diseases can be the cause as well. Poor hygiene, a yeast infection and pelvic inflammation disease are other possible causes.

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    Conventional Treatment

    Wondering how to get rid of vaginal odor? If vaginal odor may be caused by a sexually transmitted disease or if it is persistent, it is important to see your doctor. They can give you a proper diagnosis. If a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea is present, they can give you medication for treatment. Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics. Yeast infections can be addressed with a prescription or over-the-counter cream or suppository.

    Consistently using antibiotics can suppress the immune system, but in some cases, such as with an STD, it is important to take whatever medication your doctor recommends to overcome the disease. Some yeast infection medications come with side effects such as irritation and an increased risk of infection; be sure to fully read the product label of an over-the-counter medication you are taking or talk to your doctor about possible side effects of a medication that they prescribe. An overgrowth of bacteria or yeast can be remedied over time with lifestyle changes and natural remedies.

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    Lifestyle Changes

    There are also steps you can take to help improve the health of your vagina. This involves proper hygiene — wash externally with water and a small amount of unscented soap. Avoid chemical douches sprays which can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Wear lose, breathable clothing — natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo and hemp are good choices.

    What you eat can also impact the health and odor of your vagina. Nutritional deficiencies such as a lack of B vitamins can cause problems. Be sure to eat lots of yogurt and high-fiber foods such as whole grains and fresh vegetables. Minimize processed, sugary and yeast-containing foods. Avoid aged cheeses, chocolate and citrus fruits while overcoming an imbalance.

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    Home Remedies

    You can also use the following home remedies to reduce vaginal odor:

    • Soak in a warm sitz bath with one cup of pure apple cider vinegar for fifteen to twenty minutes.
    • Use an herbal antiseptic douche made from tea tree oil, calendula or echinacea. Use one ounce of herbs to one quart of water, steep for Echinacea half an hour and then strain.
    • Drink three to four glasses of cranberry juice a day, as well as plenty of clean water
    • Supplement with garlic capsules

    Knowing how to get rid of vaginal odor you can take control of this unwanted problem. While a healthy, balanced diet and natural remedies can help to balance the body, your doctor can help to treat an underlying condition.

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    MedicineNet. Vaginitis.

    Mayo Clinic. Vaginal Odor Causes.

    Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).

    photo by David Light/flickr