Causes of Vaginal Odor and Natural Ways to Prevent It
The best way to prevent vaginal odor is to address the source of the problem. The problem can be as simple as improper hygiene or more complex like infections.
It is important to keep your vaginal area clean. An unclean area can allow bacteria to grow and multiply. Bathe daily and after strenuous workouts/activities. Wash your vaginal area with warm water and soap (gentle and unscented) only. Showers are preferred because baths can expose your vaginal area to bath water impurities.
Do not over wash. Over washing can be just as harmful as not washing enough. Once or twice a day is recommended.
The vagina is self cleansing and only the external area needs to be cleaned. Vaginal secretions naturally clean the vagina and control bacteria. To help prevent vaginal odor, do not douche. Vaginal douching washes away vaginal secretions, making the vagina more favorable for bacterial growth.
Regular vaginal douching puts women at a higher risk of developing vaginal infections, including bacterial vaginosis (BV) and moniliasis (also called “yeast infection”). Vaginal infections can cause an unpleasant odor (BV has a “fishy” odor), a vaginal discharge, itching, swelling, and/or burning.
Vaginal douching can force bacteria into the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, increasing a woman’s risk (by 73%) of getting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Besides being a risk factor for infections, vaginal douching can also increase a woman’s risk of:
- not becoming pregnant (by approximately 30% during a particular month)
- having an ectopic pregnancy (by 76%)
- developing cervical cancer (4 times as likely).
Do not use chemical products such as feminine hygiene sprays and wipes. These products harm vaginal secretions and cause irritation to delicate mucous membranes.
Wear cotton panties. Cotton absorbs moisture and allows your vaginal area to “breathe”. This will help prevent odor by stopping the growth of bacteria. Avoid wearing pantyhose, tights, leotards, girdles, spandex, and tight pants.
Other ways to help prevent vaginal odor and infections include:
- changing sanitary protection frequently, including pads and tampons
- avoiding harsh detergents
- not using contraceptive creams or foams
- not using colored or perfumed toilet paper
If the cause of vaginal odor is due to an infection, you must have it treated. This includes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Protect yourself from STDs and be aware that vaginal douching does not prevent STDs or pregnancies.
Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.