First rule: Don’t panic. Despite what you’ve been taught to believe, your vagina isn’t supposed to smell like a meadow of fresh flowers.
Just like the gut, the vagina has its own microbiome filled with different bacteria and yeast, many of which are incredibly helpful, and yes, those bacteria give your vagina its own signature scent.
But what does a vagina typically smell like? “The acidic pH naturally found in the vagina might be a little sour smelling, sometimes a little “musty,” says Christine Masterson, MD, ob-gyn at Summit Medical Group. “But it shouldn’t be an overwhelming odour.”
There is a myriad of potential causes for a funky smell coming from down there. So, what could the different smells mean?
This is probably due to bacterial vaginosis which is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 – 44. This happens when the vagina’s pH get’s thrown out of whack by an overgrowth of bad bacteria. The smell could be especially pungent after sex. An over-the-counter treatment should do the trick, but if the smell doesn’t disappear within a week or so, speak to your doctor.
A thick, cottage cheese-like discharge is the hallmark of this itchy nuisance. You’ll likely smell a little like a brewery down there (sorry) if you have this yeast infection. Other symptoms may include irritation around the vagina and a stingy sensation during sex, or when you urinate. It’s best to see your doctor with this one. He/she will most likely prescribe something you can buy over-the-counter.
This is probably due to your period. During this time, your vagina’s pH level changes. You just have to ride this one out.
This is probably due to your diet or a yeast infection. Sometimes fruit could be the culprit, but if you’re also having symptoms of a yeast infection, head to the pharmacy for over-the-counter meds.
This could be a forgotten tampon that’s been left in your vagina. Try to dislodge it or see your doctor as soon as possible to get the job done. If left in too long, the bacteria can lead to a more serious infection that may require medical treatment.
There’s a chance that the smell is coming from your urine, especially if you’re dehydrated. Intercourse could also trigger an ammonia smell. If it doesn’t fade in a few days, check with your doctor.
So, remember ladies, a faint musky smell is just your run-of-the-mill, healthy vaginal odour.
If you smell like you always have, you’re probably just fine, however, you shouldn’t ignore a funky odour coming from down there if it seems out of the ordinary.
As for those special hygiene washes? You don’t need them. Actually, your vagina is self-cleaning. A daily wash with warm water and a gentle soap is all you need.
Source: cosmo.ph, refinery29.com, womansday.com, cosmopolitan.com, womenshealthmag.com, prevention.com, bcog.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.