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How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor at Home: Remedies and Treatments

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Any smell that comes from your vagina can be classified as vaginal odor. This smell could be pleasant or unpleasant.Some vaginal odor is to be expected because everything has its distinctive smell and that includes your lady parts. After all, vaginas aren’t supposed to smell like nothing!Contrary to popular belief, vaginas are NOT supposed to smell like pineapples, berries, daisies or any other exotic fruit or flower. Your vagina naturally smells musky, coppery, meaty or just… fleshy.Fun fact: The odor of your vagina differs during different stages of your menstrual cycle or other times like pregnancy or menopause.

Is Vaginal Odor Natural?

Yes, it is completely natural for your vagina to smell a little bit. Think of it like the rest of your body parts – scalp, armpits, belly button, or even your feet.How your vagina smells also depends on your hydration levels, the food you eat, any medications you might be on, and your own distinctive smell during different phases of the period cycle.If you have recently engaged in any sexual activities, you might smell just a tad bit different, especially if any exchange of bodily fluids was involved.You might notice that your vagina smells different (for a short amount of time) than usual due to the following reasons:
  • Sweating
  • Your sexual activities
  • Your period cycle

Causes of Vaginal Odor

If your vagina smells fishy or has a chemical-like odor or smells different from what we have described so far, we might have a problem. Here are a few reasons:
  • Bad hygiene
  • A tampon forgotten inside the vagina
  • Bacterial overgrowth caused by an infection called bacterial vaginosis
  • Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection

What causes vaginal odor during pregnancy?

All the ladies, you all must've had a lot of questions regarding vaginal odor during pregnancy - how to reduce vaginal smell being the most common one. Vaginitis is a common reason for experiencing unusual vaginal odors during pregnancy, but other factors can contribute to changes in scent.Many women report an increased sense of smell during pregnancy, and cravings may lead to the consumption of different foods, affecting the natural odor of the vagina. The rise in blood flow to the vagina and fluctuations in pregnancy hormones, including estrogen (sex hormone), progesterone, and prolactin (female hormones), can influence the pH level and lead to the perception of new smells.After childbirth, it is typical to notice a distinct vaginal odor. As the uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy state, it releases a discharge known as lochia, containing blood, mucus, and other remnants related to pregnancy. Lochia has a characteristic stale, metallic, musty odor similar to that of menstrual blood.

Natural Home Remedies for Vaginal Odor

Remember, no slapping your vagina with vagina perfumes, flowery intimate hygiene washes, or scrubbing your insides with soap or any other sketchy products. If you’re worried about bad vaginal odor, here’s how to get rid of vaginal smell.

·    Shower or Bathe Regularly

Often the smell you mistake for stink fumes from your vagina is the result of your own poor decisions! Yes! Chances are you are not cleaning the skin around your vagina properly.Hear us out. Your vagina has its own cleaning mechanism. The vagina is extremely acidic and kills all the bad, smell-causing bacteria itself, hence, cleaning itself out in the process.However, the skin around your vagina, called the vulva needs to be washed with soap and water. The delicate folds in your vulva need to be cleaned regularly or they might accumulate a lot of bacteria and germs causing you to stink bad down there.

·    Stop Washing Inside Your Vagina

Washing inside your vagina with water or other products, medically referred to as douching is a common practice. And like we said earlier, no trying to clean the inside of your vagina.The medical professionals are with us on this, as this could lead to a lot of vaginal infections. And if you already have bacteria down there, you’re just inviting more trouble by unwittingly pushing it inside.

·    Change Pads Frequently

Try not to wear sanitary pads or tampons for more than the time recommended. Change sanitary pads every 3-4 hours and tampons every 4-6 hours.Try to find the lowest absorbency for products that are inserted inside the vaginal tract. This ensures you stay protected from TSS (toxic shock syndrome) and smell fresh.Menstrual absorbency products are bound to start stinking after a while because they house trapped blood, tissues and other bodily fluids.Moreover, if your pad or tampon contains chemical fragrances, not only does it make your vagina smell that much worse but can also give you infections.For a vagina that stays fresh, choose RIO pads. RIO Pads are free of artificial and chemical fragrances. Additionally, they are latex, chlorine and free of other harmful chemicals to keep you protected from rashes, bacteria and infections. Choose RIO, for better periods!

·    Stay hydrated

There isn’t anything water can’t do. Birth weird creatures out of it, keep a few billion of the said creatures sustained for centuries, and make your vagina smell good? Sure! Water can do it all!Remaining well-hydrated ensures there is no bacterial overgrowth in your vagina, the production of urine and other bodily fluids from being too concentrated and smelly. In turn, helping your vagina stay fresh and healthy.

·    Diet

There is no solid evidence to back up claims that certain kinds of food can make you smell better down there. Some studies claim your dietary intake has a direct relation to the pH levels of your vagina.Nonetheless, while maintaining a balanced diet, here are a few foods you can try to find out for yourself:
  • Watermelon (sans the sugar, if you know what we mean *wink wink*)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pineapple (by now, TikTok has made sure everyone and their mothers know what this is for, right?)
  • Plain yogurt, etc.
  1. Check for recent product swaps Periodically assess recent product changes, ensuring that any new personal care items, detergents, or intimate products align with your body's needs. We might also end up buying products for vaginal odor,which may or may not have a negative impact. Sudden alterations can impact the vaginal environment, potentially leading to irritation or infections. Stick to familiar and gentle products to maintain vaginal health.
We have listed above some of the home remedies for vaginal odor, which, to a certain extent, can help you with bad vaginal smell.

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Vaginal Odor Treatment: Prescription Treatments for Vaginal Odor

There is no real scientific evidence to suggest that probiotics can protect you against infections and a bad-smelling vagina. But, you can still have your doctor prescribe you some as probiotics are mostly safe to take anyway.

Vaginal odor ‘treatments’ to avoid

How to get rid of vaginal smell can be a tricky question to answer ourselves. At times, in an attempt to diminish bad vaginal odor, you might unintentionally worsen the situation by:
  • Overwashing or scrubbing the area
  • Using potentially irritating soaps, such as antibacterial or scented varieties
  • Employing douching (direct a spray of water into a bodily cavity for cleaning)
  • Applying scented deodorant sprays to the vagina
These practices can disturb the natural vaginal flora, the bacteria that maintain vaginal health and prevent the proliferation of harmful organisms. An imbalance in these organisms, leading to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria, may result in a stronger odor, although it doesn't necessarily indicate a problem.

How can vaginal odor be prevented?

Reduce the risk of vaginal odor by following these tips:
  • Cleanliness and Hygiene:

    • Shower regularly with mild soap or water; avoid bubble baths.
    • Refrain from using vaginal sprays and scented products.
    • Use plain white toilet tissue.
    • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
    • Wash hands before touching the vaginal area.
    • Urinate after intercourse to prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Tampons, Sanitary Pads, and Liners:

    • Use unscented products and change every 2 to 3 hours. RIO Comfort Weave Padscan be your best companion in India's hot and humid weather.
    • Remove tampons before bedtime and use pads instead.
  • Douching:

    • Avoid douching unless advised by a healthcare provider, as it may disrupt the vaginal balance and cause infections.
  • Clothing:

    • Wear cotton or cotton-lined underpants for moisture absorption.
    • Avoid tight-fitting leggings, tights, and pants.
    • Change out of damp or sweaty clothing promptly.
  • Lifestyle:

    • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.
    • Follow your healthcare provider's advice regarding weight management.
    • Limit sexual partners and use condoms for STI prevention.
These are some tips for your query of how to get rid of vaginal odor at home.

When to see a doctor

When things smell fishy down there, you should be concerned. A fishy-smelling vagina is often the result of an infection. Visit a doctor immediately if you experience this.If your vagina has a strong, unpleasant smell that did not go away on its own over the course of a few days, visit a doctor.Don’t try vaginal odor treatments without the help of a doctor. You could very well end up making things worse. When in doubt, seek a professional.

FAQs

What is a ‘bad’ vaginal smell?

A 'bad' vaginal smell is a strange, foul, fishy odor that may indicate an imbalance in the natural flora, potentially caused by infections or other factors.

What do yeast infections and BV smell like?

Yeast infections may have a distinct, bread-like odor, while Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) often produces a fishy smell.

Can sex cause vaginal odor?

Intercourse itself doesn't cause a lasting odor, but changes in pH or introducing new bacteria during sex can temporarily affect the scent.

How long does vaginal odor take to go away?

The duration varies; addressing the underlying cause, maintaining hygiene, and following medical advice can help resolve it.

Is it normal for the vagina to have a smell?

Yes, a mild, natural odor is normal, but sudden changes may warrant attention.

Why do I have a strong odor down there?

Strong odors can result from infections, hormonal changes, or bad hygiene practices; consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance.

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