There are multiple products lined up in the supermarket shelves that encourage the females to keep their private parts pleasant smelling and clean. The line from a commercial selling a douching product many years ago is still remembered by many of us-“Do you ever get that not-so-fresh feeling?” This has made many females start doubting cleanliness of their vaginal area at quite a young age. The fact is that the majority of the women have a slight odor, which is normal. The smell from your vagina doesn’t need to be that from a field of flowers that are made on the box of women deodorant spray. There are circumstances you need to worry.

My Vagina Smells Really Bad: Why?

Some of the more common causes of a smelly vagina are:

Bacterial vaginosis (BV): Normally the vagina is colonized by healthy bacteria; however, if the ecosystem is disturbed by something, then unhealthy bacteria can flourish. BV is usually caused when the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis overgrows. The symptoms of BV include a runny, thin grey discharge along with a fishy odor. The odor becomes more pungent when the discharge comes in contact with semen, so quite often it is noticed as a strong odor after having sex. BV can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Your diet: Diet has an effect all the way down to your vagina. Odoriferous foods such as onion, garlic, asparagus and curry are known to have an effect on the body odor.

Supplements/medicines: Medicines including antibiotics can have an effect on the balance of bacteria in your vagina, resulting in changes in discharge and odor. Moreover, herbal medicines, antihistamines and essential oils can change the vaginal odor.

Sweat: Like your armpits, the skin surrounding the genital area also sweats excessively. Sweat and discharge combined can increase the natural odor to a whole new level of unpleasant smell. To reduce the smell, it is advisable to change clothes after doing a round of exercise and wear cotton fabrics or clothes that are made of breathable fabric.

Hormonal changes: My vagina smells really bad, why? The quantity of vaginal discharge is variable throughout the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills, hormonal therapies and vaginal creams can all have an effect on the pH and odor of the vagina. Major changes are also caused during menopause as reduced levels of estrogens can result in increased incidence of BV and yeast infections.

A forgotten tampon: The odor of a forgotten tampon is so foul, that it is not like something you have ever smelled in your entire life span. It’s the smell that can make even the gynecologist gag. Some of the patients have described the smell as something has crawled up in the vagina and died. Though the odor is very offensive, it quickly resolves after you remove the tampon. A serious infection could also result from a retained tampon on rare occasions, hence, it is important to visit your doctor should the symptoms occur which include a foul odor and a brown discharge.

Trichomoniasis: A very common STD (sexually transmitted disease), trichomoniasis is a disease caused due to an infection caused by protozoan parasite referred to as Trichomonas vaginalis. The urethra, vulva and vagina are the most commonly infected part of the body in females. In males, the most commonly infected part of the body is the inside portion of the penis (urethra). During sexual intercourse the parasite is transferred from a penis to a vagina or from a vagina to a penis. It can also be transferred from a vagina to a vagina. Signs and symptoms do not develop in about 70% of the individuals infected with trichomoniasis. The symptoms in females include burning, itching, soreness or redness of the genitals, pain with urination or a thin clear, greenish, whitish, or yellowish discharge with an unusual odor.

My Vagina Smells Really Bad-Less Common Causes

  • Rectovaginal Fistula: It is an abnormal opening between your rectum (the lower part of your large intestine) and your vagina. The various symptoms of rectovaginal fistula include passage of stool, gas or pus from the vagina; vaginal discharge that smells foul; recurrent infection of the urinary tract or the vagina; pain and irritation in the vagina, vulva and the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus); pain while having sex. A fistula may indicate a more serious problem including pus-filled, infected abscess or cancer.

  • Cervical Cancer: It is a kind of cancer that occurs in the cervical cells. Usually no symptoms and signs are produced by an early stage cervical cancer. Symptoms and signs of a more advanced stage of cervical cancer includes bleeding from vagina between periods, after intercourse or after menopause; bloody, watery discharge from vagina that may become heavy and have a foul odor; pain in the pelvis and pain while having sex.

  • Vaginal Cancer: A rare cancer, vaginal cancer is the cancer of the vagina. No signs and symptoms may be produced by early stage vaginal cancer; however, as it progresses, it may produce the following signs and symptoms: vaginal bleeding after intercourse or after menopause; watery discharge from vagina; a mass or lump in vagina; pain during urination; frequency of urination; constipation and pain in pelvis.

My Vagina Smells Really Bad: What to Do?

  • Wash regularly: To smell nice and good you need to wash and shower regularly. The exact frequency depends on your body type but you should wash at least in every 2-3 days.

  • Use the right soaps: You should avoid using soaps that contain heavy perfumes, excessive unnatural ingredients or that have bacteria killing properties. Instead use fragrance free, natural soaps.

  • Don’t douche: Douching is only required when your doctor advises to do so. A terrible imbalance in your body’s natural bacteria will occur by douching and you may always end up with some type of infection.

  • Wipe carefully: Infections can occur due to incorrect wiping. Always wipe in the correct direction from front to back and ensure to be thorough.

  • Use products carefully: Using lubricants that not based in water or silicone can lead to infections. Hence, always be careful while using products around your vagina.

  • Wear fresh, clean and correctly fitting underwear: Wear fresh and clean underwear that is made of cotton.


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