What does your body odour say about you? 8 Causes of Vaginal odour

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What does your body odour say about you? 8 Causes of Vaginal odour

Vaginal odour is a topic that many women avoid discussing. However, getting to know your body can help you determine what’s ‘normal’ for you and when you should seek medical assistance.

So, what does a typical vaginal odour smell like? It normally ranges from a somewhat tangy or sour fragrance to a more metallic smell around or after your period, according to research. ‘There’s no need to be concerned if you’re feeling good and your vaginal scent or discharge isn’t unusual for you.’

Note body odour is most likely to occur in the following places:

  • the feet
  • the groin
  • the armpits
  • the genitals
  • pubic and other hair
  • the belly button
  • the anus
  • behind the ears

Why do vaginas smell? Research notes that the vagina has a natural bacterial flora that helps to maintain a healthy balance. The fragrance of cervical mucus in the vaginal canal is due to this natural bacteria. As the pH balance in your vagina varies during your menstrual cycle, you may notice alterations.

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Here are eight frequent reasons for vaginal odour and when you should seek medical help.

  • Bacterial vaginosis

Vaginal odour: fishy
Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common causes of a smelly vagina, affecting 15% to 50% of women of reproductive age. ‘It’s a condition where there’s an imbalance in the vaginal flora.

The first symptom is often a fishy smell, which can progress to a frothy, or grey discharge. You may also feel itchy and swollen. Some studies have proven that the use of anti-probiotics could be helpful. The s*exual partner may be the cause of your infection, so talking to them about their personal hygiene and using external or internal condoms for a while might be a good idea. If you’re having these symptoms, you should see a doctor rule out any underlying conditions that may need treatment. This is important especially if you’re pregnant.

  • Trichomoniasis

Vaginal odour: pungent and fishy, similar to BV
Trichomoniasis is the world’s most common nonviral s*exually transmitted infection (STI). ‘ It’s a parasite infection that usually doesn’t have many symptoms. Some people have modest signs such as a yellow-green vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odour, and their vulva may be inflamed and itching. It normally clears up after a course of antibiotics.

  • Vaginal thrush

Vaginal odour: yeasty                       

vaginal odour                                                                                                                                          

Thrush is a type of vaginal yeast infection that causes itching, burning, and changes in vaginal discharge, which can become lumpy and white, akin to curdled milk. However, this discharge is usually not exceedingly pungent. ‘ If your thrush symptoms are severe enough to cause an unpleasant odour, visit a doctor to rule out any underlying issues.

  • Syndrome of toxic shock (TSS)

Vaginal odour: very unpleasant, but the odour is generally a minor symptom
Toxic shock syndrome has become a fairly rare ailment, with high-absorbency tampons being the most common cause. ‘If this bacteria gets into your system, you’ll get sick soon.’ You’ll have a high fever, blood pressure abnormalities, a rash, and potentially diarrhoea or vomiting, as well as feeling faint.

‘If you develop these symptoms, go to a doctor immediately.’ From research “TSS” cases are currently extremely rare.

  • Hormonal changes

Vaginal odour: individual                                                                                                                                                   Other hormonal changes can modify the fragrance of your cervical mucus, similar to how it changes throughout your menstrual cycle. The fragrance can change during menopause and post-menopausal years. The cervical mucus changes as well throughout pregnancy. You may have more discharge, or it may be thicker or thinner at times, but it should not be stinky. You should see a doctor or a midwife if you’re pregnant and have a foul-smelling discharge.

  • UTIs and other urinary issues

Vaginal odour: ammonia                                                                                                                                                   Urine could be to blame if you have an ammonia-like vaginal odour. If you have a urinary tract infection, this can happen (UTI). This is more common if you have an untreated UTI and are leaking. ‘An infection that isn’t treated will result in a fever, as well as a distinct and unpleasant odour.’

According to research, an ammonia-like odour can occasionally be a sign of an undiagnosed incontinence problem. ‘These are pretty common problems. Treatment alternatives can be discussed with a doctor or gynaecologist.’

  • Gynaecological cancers

Vaginal odour: metallic and sickly                                                                                                                                         A foul-smelling discharge might be a sign of cervical or uterine cancer in rare cases. However, discharge and odour are unlikely to be the only early signs.

‘You may have had bleeding during intercourse or sporadic spotting that has grown more frequent. There will be a metallic scent. The odour is distinct from the fishy or rotting odours associated with BV or a forgotten tampon.
Always seek medical advice if you encounter unusual bleeding.

How do I get rid of the odour down there?

So, what are the options for vaginal odour treatment? Many women who are concerned with vaginal odour want to know the best feminine wash for the smell.

vaginal odour

The area around the vulva, like any other sweaty part of the body, can stink. However, soaps can disrupt the vaginal bacterial flora’s normal equilibrium, thus increasing the risk of bacterial vaginosis. Douching, washing or rinsing the vaginal area, can also help.

Instead, use nothing but water to wash down there, and avoid using fragrant sanitary pads or vaginal deodorants. You can use vaginal moisturisers if you’re very dry due to breastfeeding, vaginal atrophy (the thinning, dryness, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, commonly caused by reduced oestrogen levels) or a recent illness, but not with perfume.


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When should I speak to a doctor about vaginal odour?

It’s critical to recognise if the odour is unusual for you. Simple lifestyle modifications, such as washing down there with only water and avoiding fragrant products, are an excellent place to start. There are also a variety of home cures for vaginal odour, such as eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice on a daily basis, although these may not be effective for everyone.

However, if the odour persists or you experience additional symptoms, consult a doctor.

The medical/health information on this site is offered solely for educational and informational reasons and is not intended to replace expert advice. As a result, we recommend that you get professional advice before taking any actions based on this material.

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