You’ve come across adverts for different products that promise to make your vagina smell nice. Nice, for most women, means that their vaginas should smell like flowers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are two truths.
- Your vagina should not smell like roses.
- You are not a flower.
While you can use perfumes and deodorant to combat smells in other parts of your body, the vagina is a bit different. It is not just any part of the body, and you need to be careful what you put or let inside it.
Why Your Vagina Is Different
The vagina is a dark, warm part of your body. It is unique, with its natural set of bacteria. These bacteria are good (lactobacillus) and harmful bacteria. The bacteria, glands, and natural vaginal discharge give your vagina its natural odour that can vary depending on your cycle, diet and other factors. The smell may not be noticeable most times. But some events such as sexual intercourse or your period may make your natural smell stronger.
This smell is not a cause for concern, neither does it indicate poor hygiene. Still, most women are curious about knowing if their whiff down under is regular.
Here are some healthy types of vaginal smells
Fermented: The natural bacteria found in the vagina create an acidic environment that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. They also play a role in giving your vagina a sour odour.
Metallic: During your menses, or after sex, the vagina can take on a metallic smell due to the blood passing through during your period, light bleeding after sex, or the presence of semen that can alter the vagina’s pH.
While these smells are conventional, they may vary in combination from person to person. But one common fact is this. Strong vaginal smell, itching, or painful urination, may be indicators of something more significant happening. You should know what you smell like on a good day, so you can easily pick up when something is off. Beyond that, there are some kinds of vaginal smells that are problematic.
Some types of bad vaginal smells
Fishy: An imbalance in the ratio between the various bacteria in your vagina can lead to overgrowth and a strong fishy smell. This condition is called bacterial vaginosis.
Rotten: This can be caused by forgetting objects like tampons in the vaginal cavity. It may be associated with pain in urination, abdominal pain, vaginal itching and swelling. These symptoms may be signs of an ongoing infection, and you should speak to a doctor immediately to get the best help. You can do so online here.
To ensure that your vagina smells fine (as defined for you) and stays healthy, here are some tips to let in (into your mind).
The famous douching and nicely packaged feminine wash are harmful. These practices can upset the pH of your vagina, cause bacteria overgrowth that leads to bacterial vaginosis, and putrid vagina odour.
Avoid using soap to wash inside your vagina. You can clean the vulva (outer part) with water, and mild soap (this isn’t necessary). But you don’t need to clean inside the vagina. Your vagina is self-cleaning, and it doesn’t need your help.
Keep one sexual partner. Having multiple sexual partners or having sex with a new sexual partner can increase your chances of having STIs and change the balance of bacteria in your vagina.
Now that you know the truth about how your vagina should smell, spread the word and share with five women you know and love. You will be doing their vaginas a favour.
You can read more articles on female health here.