Unusual vaginal odour happens from time to time. Even when you’re taking good care of your body and your vagina, you may experience unfamiliar smells. What’s not normal, however, is persistent or strong odors.
The first question you should ask yourself if you consider your vaginal odor abnormal: What’s normal? Vaginas have natural odors and each woman’s odour is different. A healthy vagina’s typical scent may best be described as “musky” or “fleshy.” A menstrual cycle might cause a slightly “metallic” scent for a few days. Intercourse may change the smell temporarily.
Your vagina cleanses itself naturally. If you leave your vagina to its own devices, it can naturally maintain a healthy pH and keep unhealthy bacteria at bay. But if you notice a stark difference in your odour, then you may be experiencing a sign of a potential problem. Strong odors, itching and irritation, and unusual discharge are all signs you may have something other than just unusual vaginal odour.
Occasionally, you may need a little help getting rid of an odor. The following techniques may help you naturally eliminate unusual vaginal odors:
Clean the outside of your vagina regularly with a washcloth and mild soap. Loofahs may cause small tears and expose the area to possible infection. Cleansing will wash away dead skin, sweat, and dirt. Don’t use perfumed soaps or body washes. The scents and chemicals may upset your vagina’s natural pH. Bar soaps may be more gentle than body wash.
If you want to use any sprays or perfumes, only use them on the outside of your vagina. Don’t insert them. They can upset your natural chemistry and lead to bigger problems.
If you normally wear satin, silk, or polyester panties, make the switch to 100 percent cotton. Cotton is breathable and does an excellent job wicking away sweat and fluids from your body. Excess moisture can upset your natural bacteria levels.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products may be helpful for restoring your vagina’s natural pH. If you try one and the odor remains or grows worse, make an appointment with your doctor. You may need to use a different product or look for a stronger prescription alternative.
This treatment has very little medical research to support it, but anecdotal evidence suggests tea tree oil, a type of essential oil, helps eliminate vaginal odor. This essential oil has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which may help reduce and eliminate bacteria. First, mix a few drops of tea tree oil with water. Then, apply a drop or two to the outside of your vagina. Repeat this for three to five days. If symptoms don’t improve or worsen, discontinue use.
Frequent hot baths and hot showers can upset your natural pH, but one type of bath may be useful. Pour a cup or two of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Vinegar may naturally reduce bacteria.
Prescription treatments can help eliminate underlying causes that are contributing to the odor. If your home or OTC treatments aren’t successful, it may be time to seek treatment from your doctor.