Vaginal odor affects many women and teenage girls who have reached puberty. The vagina is home to a variety of friendly bacteria, including 20 species of Lactobacillus alone! The constitution of the bacterial flora and its concentration may alter on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis. With the change in the bacterial composition, the natural odor of your vagina may also change. Hence, unusual smells emanating from your vagina is a natural and common occurrence.
Even though your vagina is self-cleaning, it could smell unusual at times, despite you paying close attention to its hygiene. The 7 common vaginal odors include:
- Tangy/Fermented: due to lactobacilli bacteria that maintain an acidic medium
- Coppery/Metallic: caused by menstruation or sex
- Sweet/Earthy: due to bacteria
- Fishy vaginal odor: due to bacterial vaginosis (BV)(1) or trichomoniasis
- Earthy/Skunky/Herbal: caused by emotional stress
- Chemically: released as a result of concentrated urine or BV
- Rotten: caused by a forgotten tampon
While these odors are relatively common, sustained, and overpowering odors are not only embarrassing but could point at an underlying issue. Here’s what causes vaginal odor:
- Vaginal infection
- Sexually transmitted infection
- Bacterial infection
- Changes in hormones (vaginal odor during pregnancy is fairly common)
- Forgotten tampon
How To Get Rid of Vaginal Odor
There are many remedies for treating vaginal odor. However, natural remedies have grown in prominence for their convenience, quick, and healthy ways to get rid of vaginal odor:
[Read: Natural Remedies for Vaginal Itching]
1. Tea Tree Oil
You can use a wash prepared from tea tree oil for fixing vaginal odor. Given the antibacterial and antifungal properties(2) of tea tree oil, it can attack the root cause of infections, causing the vaginal odor.
- 3-4 drops of tea tree oil
- A cup of water
- Mix the tea tree oil and water, and use it to wash your genital area.
- Alternatively, mix tea tree oil with a carrier, dip a tampon in this mixture and insert the tampon. Allow it to sit for an hour.
Wash your vagina with a tea tree oil solution several times a day. On the other hand, you can carry out the tampon treatment a couple of times a day.
[Also Read: Tea Tree Oil for Yeast Infection ]
2. Neem Essential Oil
Neem essential oil has been widely used to treat skin-related issues. However, it can also alleviate vaginal odor and its symptoms
Neem possesses potent antimicrobial properties(3). It not only attacks the principal cause of the vaginal odor but also prevents any future growth and infections. Further, using it along with coconut oil for vaginal odor will increase its benefits as coconut oil has antifungal qualities.
- 10mL of neem essential oil
- 10mL of coconut oil
- Combine the oils to make an oil blend.
- Apply it over your vaginal region. And let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with warm water and pat the area dry.
Apply the oil 3-4 times a day, daily until the odor subsides.
[Read: Benefits of Neem Oil ]
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, has multiple uses. Did you know that ACV is an excellent cure for vaginal odor too?
Apple cider vinegar can help with vaginal odor as it can help in getting rid of the toxins that cause the fishy vaginal odor. It helps restore the acidic pH of the vagina, and it is antibacterial(4) properties that eliminate the bacteria causing the odors.
- A cup of ACV
- Mix the ACV in your bath water and sit in it for at least 20 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can mix two teaspoons of ACV in 250mL water and drink it.
Use an ACV bath soak daily for treating vaginal odor. On the other hand, drinking ACV should be followed twice a day.
[Read: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar ]
4. Baking Soda
Sometimes, the cause of vaginal odor could be due to the fluctuations in the pH levels. In such a case, baking soda can help restore your vaginal health that, in turn, gets rid of vaginal odor.
- Half a cup of baking soda
- Mix the baking soda in your bath and sit in it for at least 20 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can stir in a tablespoon of baking soda in two cups of water and use the solution as a vaginal douche.
You can soak in baking soda water once daily. You can also use the douche to wash the vagina once or twice a week.
Isn’t it strange that yogurt and the vagina have a similar odor sometimes? It is because of the presence of Lactobacilli in both media.
The probiotics present in yogurt is a cure for vaginal odor. Probiotics help fight yeast and bacterial infections(5), which may be responsible for the odor. Further, it also helps restore the normal pH of the vagina.
- Two teaspoons of yogurt
- A tampon
- Dip the tampon in yogurt and use it as you would generally use it.
- Let it sit for an hour or two.
- Wash the area once you remove the tampon.
Follow the remedy overnight for a noticeable difference.
[Read: Yogurt for yeast infection]
As pineapples contain a high concentration of sugar and enzyme, it can permeate into your vaginal secretions, making your vagina smell tropical and amazing!
- A cup of fresh-cut pineapple
- Eat the pineapple chunks.
- Alternatively, juice them with water to have pineapple juice.
Have the fruit or juice daily for a noticeable improvement in your vaginal odor.
Tips to Prevent Vaginal Odor
Now that you know the various vaginal odor treatment, here are a few tips on preventing vaginal odor:
- Maintain vaginal health and always wipe front to back.
- Change menstrual products frequently.
- Wear breathable underwear and change them frequently.
- Drink enough water.
- Practice safe sex and urinate after intercourse.
- Avoid sugary foods.
Whether it is your vaginal discharge odor or changing hormones – vaginas smell, and we have all been there. With just a little care and precaution, you can easily overcome the unpleasant odors. Try the remedies outlined above!
1. Does Poor Hygiene Cause BV?
Interestingly, BV is caused by excessive hygienic measures such as douching and usage of feminine sanitary products as it can upset the vagina’s natural pH.
2. Can Antibiotics Make Your Vagina Smell?
Yes. Taking antibiotics could change the flora of your vagina, causing it to smell.
3. Does Pubic Hair Make You Smell?
Yes. Pubic hair can trap bacteria and urine droplets, which could make your vagina smell.