One of the most commonly occurring and least talked about feminine concerns is vaginal odour. Every woman has a unique scent that fluctuates during her menstrual cycle and may change depending upon hormone levels. The scent originates from vaginal secretions and can vary throughout the month.1
Vaginal odour can be caused by a number of different factors. Some are a result of normal bodily functions while others may indicate infections that require treatment by a healthcare professional.
- Vaginal secretions
- pH imbalance
- Sexual Intercourse
*If you suspect you may have an infection, do not use any over-the-counter feminine products. See your healthcare professional right away.1
How To Make Vagina Smell Go Away
Remedies for your vaginal odour will depend on the cause.
You may need to see your doctor for certain treatments.
Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as Cleocin (clindamycin), Flagyl (metronidazole), or Tindamax (tinidazole) if you have an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
In general, you can control mild vaginal odour by:
- Wearing cotton underwear and loose clothing, to prevent moisture buildup and increase airflow to the area
- Changing clothes promptly after exercising
- Losing weight (if necessary)
- Practising good hygiene, by washing your vaginal area with warm water and non-irritating soap
- Avoiding foods that increase the odour
- Wiping front to back after urinating or making a bowel movement to prevent spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina
- Eating yoghurt or other probiotic foods — or taking a probiotic supplement — to balance the bacteria in your body
- Avoiding feminine sprays and creams, which can lead to irritation
A herbal supplement called Femanol is also available to help reduce vaginal odour.
The manufacturer claims that it helps your body build a strong immune system and restore good bacteria in the vagina.
Note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements or confirm their safety or effectiveness, so you should use caution when using Femanol.
Don’t take any dietary supplement without first discussing it with your doctor.2
When to See a Doctor
If this odour is accompanied by unusual symptoms, you should skip the home treatment and consult your doctor.
You should visit your healthcare provider if your vaginal odour is:
- Persistent or long-lasting
- Accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching, burning, discharge, or irritation.2
Tips For Preventing Future Odour
Once you eliminate the unusual vaginal odour, keep these tips in mind for preventing another problem later:
Consider probiotics. Probiotics, which are good-for-you bacteria, can help maintain the pH balance in your vagina. Probiotic-rich foods include yoghurt, kombucha, and unpasteurized sauerkraut.
Maintain a healthy diet. Aim to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet makes for a healthy body, and that includes your vagina.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is good for more than just your skin. It can help your vagina’s overall health, too, by encouraging healthy sweating and fluid release.
Avoid douches and scrubs. You might think they’ll help eliminate bad bacteria, but they also eliminate the good bacteria. Let your body work out the bacteria ratios, and skip these unnatural washes.
Wash your genital area before and after intercourse. Sex introduces bacteria, as well as foreign substances like lubrication and spermicide from condoms. Wash before and after sex to help maintain natural bacteria levels.
Cut out tight clothes. Clothes that are too tight don’t let your vagina and groin area breathe. Getting plenty of oxygen is vital to good vaginal health.
Wear cotton panties. Cotton panties wick away excess moisture from sweating or discharge. Synthetic fabrics are not as good at this.3