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Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. Diet, health, and other factors can affect the natural fragrance, which should still not smell foul. It's neither safe nor healthy to attempt to eliminate the vagina's scent. In fact, doing so can lead to infections that cause an unpleasant odor. In this article, we explore some strategies that can reduce vaginal odor safely and address underlying medical causes. It is common for women to be self-conscious about their vaginal odor.
These negative feelings can affect self-esteem and body image. However, it is also normal for the vagina to have a mild, musky smell.
Indeed, research suggests that this odor is partially due to pheromones Bad smelling vaginal discharge can increase sexual attractiveness and subtly communicate information about fertility. This odor changes with hormonal shifts during pregnancy, menopauseand the menstrual Bad smelling vaginal discharge.
So a subtle smell is not a cause for concern. Some other odors, however, warrant a call to a doctor. Bacterial vaginosis BV is the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age. When something upsets the vagina's complex chemistry, harmful bacteria can grow out of control, producing a fishy odor.
Some women with BV experience other symptoms, such as itching or burning, which may feel like a yeast infection. For many women though, the smell is the only symptom. Prescription antibiotics can treat the problem.
A yeast overgrowth in the vagina can produce a sweet smell reminiscent of honey or cookies. The vagina might also smell like beer, flour, or bread. Sometimes the odor smells sour, but it can also be pleasant. Intense burning, itching, or feelings of dryness usually accompany yeast infections.
They tend to get worse over time, and some women may notice a discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
People can treat these infections using over-the-counter medicines. However, a woman experiencing her first yeast infection should talk to her doctor to rule out other causes. Many of the same measures that prevent BV, such as avoiding scented products and never douching, can also prevent yeast overgrowth.
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Hormonal changes during menopause may alter the scent of the vagina, and leave the vagina feeling dry. Some STIs, notably trichomoniasis, may also alter the smell of the vagina.
Any shift in vaginal odor, particularly if the smell is strong or unpleasant, demands a trip to the doctor. It is not recommended to use perfume to mask the smell.
Some women notice a stronger vaginal smell when they get their periods; some Bad smelling vaginal discharge smell an iron-like metallic odor, and others smell ammonia. Some women notice a strong fishy odor immediately after sexual intercourse, which is a telltale sign of bacterial vaginosis.
Others notice a less distinct smell. Sometimes interactions between semen and vaginal fluids can cause vaginal odor.
Some lubricants can also change vaginal pH and the odor that comes with it. To reduce the odor associated with vaginal intercourse:. Probiotics support healthy bacteria throughout the body, including in the vagina. Probiotics may help prevent some vaginal infections, especially yeast. Compare different products before purchasing. By controlling Bad smelling vaginal discharge, probiotics can reduce causes of vaginal odor.
Because probiotics help restore the vagina's normal pH, they also help reduce vaginal odor. Very tight-fitting clothing is a common culprit. That includes some shapewear.
Fecal matter that travels to the vagina can cause infections and odors, so avoid clothing that Bad smelling vaginal discharge this spread. This includes tight-fitting thong underwear. Breathable cotton is the best choice for women concerned about vaginal odor. Cotton is less likely to hold moisture close to the vagina.
This makes it more difficult for bacteria and other sources of odor to accumulate and produce a strong smell. Cotton underwear can be purchased online. There's some evidence that other strong-smelling foods might also change the vagina's smell.
Onionscoffeeand other strong-smelling foods can alter the smell of the vagina by changing the smell of sweat and other bodily fluids. There's little scientific research supporting the use of any specific food to change the smell of the vagina. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some sweet-smelling foods, such as watermelon, apple, and celery, might help.
It's also important to drink plenty of water. Remaining well-hydrated prevents bacterial overgrowth.
It can also prevent sweat from smelling bad, resulting in less pronounced vaginal odor. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion Bad smelling vaginal discharge revenues if you make a purchase using a link s above.
Article last reviewed by Sun 21 May All references are available in the References tab. Bacterial vaginosis - CDC fact sheet.
Human pheromones and sexual attraction [Abstract]. Oral probiotics can resolve urogenital infections [Abstract].
Symptoms of yeast infections. Trichomoniasis - CDC fact sheet. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
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