Vaginal odor sounds off-putting, but every woman has their own particular, natural odor, often described as “musky”. It’s nothing to be ashamed or worried about. There are even some natural substances that can slightly alter it without concern, such as certain fruit, or during menstruation when it can become slightly metallic. But if the smell becomes unpleasant, this may be a sign that something is wrong. There are a few different possible causes of unpleasant vaginal odor, and one of the main, and most common, is bacterial vaginosis.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
• Bacterial Vaginosis is a common complaint among women of child-bearing age.
• It’s different from an STD or a yeast infection, although some of the symptoms are similar.
• The usual symptoms are abnormal vaginal discharge, whatever that may be for each woman – every body is different, although grayness or a change in the amount of discharge is quite a clear indication; and an unpleasant smell, generally foul-smelling, or fishy.
• Bacterial vaginosis is caused by bacteria. Vaginas naturally have bacteria, but if it becomes imbalanced, this causes the symptoms.
• It’s not dangerous, but the symptoms can make women feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. It does need treating, especially during pregnancy, as there is a chance that it can affect the baby.
• It is common for it to come back, even after being successfully treated.
Can I Prevent It?
Prevention is not only possible, it’s the best way of stopping it – before it even starts. These tips are part of a positive lifestyle that will help to naturally keep you healthy down below. Just add these habits to your daily routine.
1. Basic Vaginal Hygiene
This is a must anyway, to avoid contamination from other sources. For example, always make sure to wipe from front to back on visiting the bathroom. When menstruating, make sure to change tampons and pads frequently. Dry around your vagina after washing, swimming and working out, and always change your underwear regularly – especially after exercise. Washing is extremely important before and after intercourse, as many foreign substances can be introduced.
When washing, avoid the chemicals in most wash products – soaps, bubble bath and shower gel – and use a plain, unscented one instead. Never use perfume or deodorant around the groin area as it can irritate and disturb the natural balance of bacteria.
Vaginas actually clean themselves naturally, so all you need to do is let it. Mostly, you just need clean water, and showers are better for this than baths. Although there are many times when you might need to clean that area, don’t do it too often, either, as you can wash away the positive bacteria that it needs. Keep to natural washing and allow your body to organically clean and balance itself.
2. Eat and Drink Healthily
Eating nutritious, healthy food, and staying hydrated is just as important. Processed food is high in fat and sugar, and can contain other hidden chemicals, so make your own, balanced meals. Use plenty of fruit and vegetables, and choose whole grains and lean proteins. Other types of food that are vagina-friendly are probiotics – good bacteria which also aid digestion. Effective probiotics to add to your diet are yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut, and kombucha.
3. Go Natural With Your clothes
When cutting out chemicals that disrupt the body’s natural processes, many people miss those that can build up in clothes. Avoid washing them with strong detergents, especially underwear. Other chemicals can be found in synthetic fabrics, which block the natural flow of air. Cotton underwear allows skin and more intimate areas to breathe, and they are better at directing excess moisture (such as discharge), away from your vagina.
Unpleasant vaginal odor is common, but thankfully there are many home treatments which can naturally re-balance this sensitive part of your body.