First of all, it is important to explain and both men and women should understand that vagina is supposed to have a smell.
This is specific subject and many women are too shy and insecure to ask some advice when they have problem such this.
In case you are wondering whether your vagina smells like daisies and roses or a seafood restaurant, continue with reading and find out the answers.
Various factors have affect on the smell down there. In fact, the private area of every woman has different smell due to specific combination of the normal bacteria that lives in the vagina, what type of food you consume, clothes that you wear, the level of hygiene, how much do you sweat, and what your glands actually secrete.
All women should be aware that perfumes, crotch sprays and perfumed soaps have negative impact on the natural pH balance of your vagina. The vagina’s natural smell is not supposed to be as a flower garden.
The author of “The Hormone Cure”, Sara Gottfried M.D. explains that majority women don’t have realistic expectations about the smell of her private place.
She says: “There’s so much shame around the normal range of what women smell like. We’re stuck with this mindset that women are expected to be nice, pretty and for their lady parts to smell really good, like some fake scent. Like you’re going to smell like a gardenia. And that’s just going to make you miserable because that’s not the normal human scent”.
Some women have stronger vaginal odor while other have no vaginal scent and the situation in both cases is totally normal. Namely, scent that signals that bacteria is present and something is wrong, usually is accompanied by other symptoms, like itching, swelling, discharge or pain while urinating.
Below you can read about several smells you should look out for:
- Fishy Scent
An intense fishy smell is sign of two very common vaginal infections, particularly among young women: bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that represents certain imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. This imbalance is not an STI, but it still can be triggered by sex with a new partner. The most common curable STI in America is Trichomoniasis (even though it sometimes may be contracted through nonsexual means). Both infections are manifested with fishy scent (and often white or gray discharge) as a symptom, and easily can be cleared up with prescription antibiotics.
- METALLIC SCENT
This type of scent may occur right after you had your period or when insemination just took place. In both cases the pH of the vagina is changed which results in a change of the smell. This kind of occurrence of smell often is temporary but if it is persistent you should visit your doctor.
- YEASTY / BREAD SCENT
At most women the yeast infections don’t give off a scent, but there appear some other symptoms such as thick, white discharge or itchiness. In some cases when there is yeast infection, it emits a slightly musty, bread-like odor and which is indication that something is wrong. This smell actually can help you to distinguish if it comes to yeast infection from bacterial vaginosis or other infections.
- MUSKY SCENT
If you notice that there is slightly muskier scent down there, it means you’ve been sweating a lot or wearing too tight underwear and there is not enough breathing room. However, it is very easy to get things back to normal. Simply wash your vagina using mild soup and wear looser clothing. This type of smell doesn’t indicate that there is anything wrong.
- ROTTEN SCENT
If your vagina has a rotten smell you should visit a doctor immediately. The reason for that is because it may be a sign of a tampon gone astray – which occurs way more often than you’d think. In cases such this, the tampon will stay there until it is pulled out. You should know that the ob/gyn has definitely dealt with extracting a long-forgotten tampon before, so you should not be shy or worried.
These factors are the most common reasons that indicate that something extra is going on in your private area. However, you should be aware that factors for such problem can be numerous.
Gottfried notes: “Many women notice after having their periods that there is a different odor”. Normally, the pH of the vagina is below 4.7, which means that it is acidic. During your period, as the menstrual blood has a pH of 7.4, it alters the pH of your vagina, which may change the scent. It is important to mention that the semen has a pH level of around 8, so after sex your vagina may have different smell.
Gynecologists advise you that warm water and gentle soap is all you need for maintaining the hygiene of your intimate part. Also, you can use pH-balanced, alcohol-free wipe as quick swipe if you are traveling.
Last, but not least, you definitely should avoid synthetic underwear. The synthetic material traps the odor and it also may trigger more sweating than usual. Therefore, cotton is the best choice.