Vaginal odor is a topic that often gets swept under the rug, but let's face it: vaginal odor is something that many of us deal with. It's estimated that over 75% of people with vaginas experience vaginal odor at some point in their lives. So, let's get real and talk about five must-know facts about vaginal odor.
Vaginal odor is normal
Let's get one thing out of the way: a healthy vagina DOES have an odor. It's completely natural and normal for your vagina to have a slightly musky or sour scent. This scent can change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, what you've been eating, and other factors. So, don't worry if you notice a smell down there - it's probably nothing to be concerned about.
Strong, fishy odor can indicate an infection
Here is where things get interesting. While some vaginal odor is normal, a strong, fishy smell can be a sign of an infection, like bacterial vaginosis (it occurs when there's an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina, which can cause a fishy odor, itching, and discharge)
If you're experiencing these symptoms, we recommend speaking to your healthcare provider.
Your diet can affect vaginal odor
Yep. We're as surprised as you are!
So, what you eat can impact how you smell. Strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and spicy dishes can contribute to a stronger vaginal odor. Similarly, foods with high levels of sugar can make it easier for bacteria to thrive in your vagina, which can also lead to odor. So, if you notice a change in your vaginal odor after eating certain foods, it might be worth cutting back and seeing if that helps.
Tight clothing and synthetic fabrics can worsen odor
Wearing tight clothing or synthetic fabrics like polyester can trap moisture and bacteria against your skin, leading to a stronger vaginal odor. This is why it's important to wear breathable fabrics like cotton underwear and to avoid tight pants or leggings that don't allow your skin to breathe.
Good hygiene is key
Finally, good hygiene is key when it comes to managing vaginal odor. This means washing your vulva regularly with warm water and mild soap, and avoiding douching or using scented products that can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. It's also important to change sweaty workout clothes or swimwear as soon as possible to prevent odor from developing.
Vaginal odor is a natural part of having a vagina, but there are some instances where it can be a sign of an infection or other issues. By understanding these must-know facts about vaginal odor and taking steps to maintain good hygiene, you can help keep your vaginal odor in check and feel more confident in your body.