Can you smell yourself through your pants? Is the smell kind of funky? If it is, what you have is vaginal odour. And, it’s pretty common, but it’s often perceived as an indication of a serious medical condition. The fact that we are not talking about this problem enough creates misconceptions about it. So, it’s about time we finally discuss to avoid any more misconceptions. In this article, we will tackle:
- What Vaginal Odour is
- Signs of Concerning Vaginal Odour and their Causes
- Proper Intimate Care to Avoid Vaginal Odour
What is Vaginal odour?
First things first: your vagina shouldn’t not have a smell. If your partner is considering leaving you because your vag has a smell and all his other partners’ peepees smell like flowers, you should consider leaving him first because it’s not supposed to smell like flowers. (And maybe advise his exes to go see their OBs)
So, that’s clear. Your vag is supposed to have a scent, and that scent is called vaginal odour. It varies from your occasional vaginal secretions (a.k.a. white mens or white discharge) to a distinctively fishy smell that is usually a sign of infection.
The smell will depend on your intimate area’s hydration levels, recent food intake, health status, menstrual cycle, and the medications you’re taking.
If you want to know if the smell of your vagina is normal, it is supposed to have a mild, musky scent. The smell is strong but not unpleasant.
Another typical and healthy scent of your vagina is sweet, which results from eating citrus fruits.
If you’re vag smells anything but sweet or musky, then you might have the following conditions.
Signs of Concerning Vaginal Odour and their Causes
1 – Fishy or like Ammonia
A fishy vag is an infected vag. But, the smell is only the first thing you might notice as a sign of infection. So, check for other signs.
If you smell the fishy or ammonia scent after sex or peeing and notice more discharge on your underwear, you might have bacterial vaginosis. If your discharge is green in colour and you notice itching or burning sensations in your genitals, you might have trichomoniasis. Go to your gynaecologist so that you can be prescribed the right antibiotic. Antibiotics is the typical vaginal odor treatment for infection.
These infections are often caused by having multiple sex partners, not using protection, and douching. Avoid these to prevent yourself from getting any of these two infections.
2 – Bleach or Chlorine
If your vag smells like a swimming pool, the scene is not coming from you. It’s coming from the condoms and lubricants you used with your partner.
This smell is not concerning, but if it bothers you, you just have to clean your intimate area properly and buy yourselves new condoms and lubricants.
On the note of cleaning your vag, do not overclean to the point of removing the bleach or chlorine-like smell. Again, your vag is not supposed to smell like flowers.
3 – Yeasty
If you’ve baked bread before and are familiar with the smell of yeast, you’ll easily know you have a yeast infection if your punani starts smelling like your the bread you’re baking.
If you’re not a baker, a yeasty smell is sort of like a sweet, beer scent. Add to that the burning of your vulva, itchiness, and discharge that looks a lot like cottage cheese and you have yourself a yeast infection.
The causes of this infection are often from artificial lubricants, spermicides, taking antibiotics, and pregnancy.
When you notice the signs of a yeast infection, approach your gynaecologist and ask for anti-yeast medication.
4 – Metallic
If your area starts smelling like metal or tin, it’s a sign you’re about to get your period. So, if you’ve been having your regular menstruation, this scent is not a stranger to you.
Another possible reason why you would have a metallic-smelling vag is semen. But, do not worry because this smell is not concerning.
If you’re bothered by the smell, a proper clean-up will do.
5 – Onion or garlic
If eating too much citrus fruits can make your vagina smell sweet, eating onion or garlic can make your vag smell like… well, onion and garlic. It’s an unpleasant smell but it does not cause concern.
So, the next time you smell like your mother’s kitchen down there and you’re bothered by it, you either do a proper clean-up or lay off some garlic and onions for the moment.
6 – Rotten meat
When your “taco” starts smelling like beef, it’s an indication you might have left something up there to rot, like a tampon or a sex toy.
So unless you want your vag to smell like a rotten deli, don’t leave tampons in there. And, if you plan on using sex toys to amp up your sex life, be responsible to remove them after your sexy time.
Proper Intimate Care to Avoid Vaginal Odour
We’ve mentioned several times how taking care of your intimate area is key in avoiding vaginal odour. So, what are the Do’s and Don’ts of Intimate Care
Do wash it regularly. And by wash, we do not mean douche or scrub it hard until the odour is gone. Your vagina has to have a balance of good and bad bacteria to ward off infections, and overcleaning can rid your vag of such bacteria. At best, use warm water and gently swish the water on the lips of your vagina. That’s how mild you should go.
Don’t wash the inside of the vagina. This step isn’t just inessential; it can actually cause harm to your intimate health. Washing the inside of the vaginal canal will disrupt the natural bacterial makeup and pH of your vagina. So, leave it be. Wash only the outside of your female organ.
Do hydrate yourself. The more water you consume, the more you sweat and pee to flush out bacteria.
Young Asian woman sitting on bed and feeling sick, taking medicines in hand with a glass of water
Don’t douche your vag. Douching is another form of intense cleaning that your vagina just doesn’t need. Otherwise, you disrupt its natural cleaning process. So, unless prescribed by your doctor, don’t douche.
Do wear comfortable underwear. What you want to avoid is irritating your feminine area. And, what else usually causes such discomfort? By wearing uncomfortable underwear, like nylon, acetate or manmade fibres or thongs. What you want to wear are cotton panties. They are breathable and comfortable to wear.
Don’t use fragrant feminine washes. The same ingredients used to create a fragrant product are the same ingredients that are common irritants. So, if you can get yourself mild feminine washes, please do.
Do eat a balanced diet. As you might have learned from this article, eating too much of a certain thing can cause the unpleasant smells in your vagina. But, that won’t happen if you eat a balanced diet. If you’re eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you’ll end up with a very normal-smelling vagina.
Image Source: iStock
There you have it. All the need-to-knows about vaginal odour. The next time you smell something funky down there, go back to this list to find out if you need to call your doctor or just need a proper wash.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.