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How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor Permanently/ Vaginal odor is any odor that originates from the vagina. It’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odor. But, a strong vaginal odor, for instance, a “fishy” smell might be abnormal and could indicate a problem. The abnormal vaginal odor that happens because of infection or another problem is usually associated with other vaginal signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.
Having a healthy vagina is extremely important to overall health, healthy births, and healthy marriages, and vaginal odor can be a signal that there might be a health issue at play. How this affects a woman’s self-esteem is another side effect, not to mention how it can affect her relationship with her significant other due to the impact it may have on their sex life.
Causes of Vaginal Odor
Common causes of abnormal vaginal odor include
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Poor hygiene
- A retained or forgotten tampon left in place for several days
- Rectovaginal fistula (an abnormal opening between the rectum and vagina that allows feces to leak into the vagina)
- Cervical cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vaginal Secretions
- pH imbalance
- Sexual Intercourse
Symptoms of Vaginal Odor
A bad smell could be due to genital infection or disease. Clues include:
- excessive vaginal discharge
- itching (pruritus vulvae)
- pain and soreness.
What conditions cause vaginal malodor?
- Bacterial vaginosis – This causes a fishy smell and is the most common cause of the foul vaginal smell.
- Trichomoniasis – A sexually transmitted infection, this causes a frothy, foul-smelling discharge.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – This is associated with foul-smelling, brownish vaginal discharge and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Candidiasis – This issue is very common in women and gives off a “yeasty” smell.
Other causes of bad vaginal smells that are non-infectious in nature include
- Poor genital hygiene
- Foreign bodies, such as forgotten tampons, diaphragms, sponges or even bits of condoms
- Fistulas (abnormal passageways) linking the vagina with the rectum or bladder. This may occur following childbirth, injury, or surgery.
- Excessive sweating is a very common cause in overweight or obese individuals.
- Chronic constipation or bloating, leading to the passage of smelly farts
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Vulval or cervical cancer
Noninfectious causes of vaginal malodor include
- Excessive perspiration ( hyperhidrosis leading to bromhidrosis) especially associated with obesity
- Chronic constipation and bloating or dietary factors leading to release of smelly rectal gases
- Urinary incontinence, releasing ammonia
- Fecal incontinence
- Poor hygiene, often in women who are elderly or mentally unwell
- Vulval cancer, when it is due to necrosis (death of tissue)
- Discharge or necrosis of other genital cancers
- Trimethylaminuria (fish-odor syndrome)
- Olfactory hallucinations, e.g. associated with temporal lobe epilepsy
- Psychiatric conditions.
Treatments or How Do I Make My Vaginal Smell Good Instantly
Treatment is typical with the antibiotics metronidazole or clindamycin. They can be either given by mouth or applied inside the vagina. About 10% to 15% of people, however, do not improve with the first course of antibiotics and recurrence rates of up to 80% have been documented. Recurrence rates are increased with sexual activity with the same pre-/posttreatment partner and inconsistent condom use although estrogen-containing contraceptives decrease recurrence. When clindamycin is given to pregnant women symptomatic with BV before 22 weeks of gestation the risk of pre-term birth before 37 weeks of gestation is lower.
Other antibiotics that may work include macrolides, lincosamides, nitroimidazoles, and penicillins.
Bacterial vaginosis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, and treatment of a male sexual partner of a woman with bacterial vaginosis is not recommended.
A 2009 Cochrane review found tentative but insufficient evidence for probiotics as a treatment for BV.A 2014 review reached the same conclusion. A 2013 review found some evidence supporting the use of probiotics during pregnancy
If you’re concerned about an abnormal or long-standing vaginal odor, please see your doctor, especially if you have other signs and symptoms, such as itching, burning, irritation, or weird discharge.
In order to prevent having a malodourous vagina, here are a few tips to help everyone
- Wash your genital area – Even though the vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural secretions, during your regular baths or showers, use a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water to wash the area. It’s better to not use perfumed soaps, gels, and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation, which may lead to inflammation. During your period, wash the area more than once a day. Also, wash after intercourse – I don’t mean after each “round” but do not make it a habit to wait hours after sexual activity to clean up. It’s also important to note that keeping the perineal area (between the vagina and anus) clean is essential too.
- Avoid douching – All healthy vaginas contain nature-approved bacteria and yeast. The normal acidity of your vagina helps to keep these bacteria and yeast in check. A douche flush water up into the vagina and then out, clearing any and all vaginal secretions. All douching does is washes out the vagina – including all the healthy stuff thus affecting the natural balance of your vagina.
- Practice safe sex. In this era of all sorts of sexually transmitted infections, this point cannot be overstressed!
Organisms that cause chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and HIV are all transmitted through sex.
Abstinence is still the only fool-proof way to avoid these infections. Where you cannot abstain, if you are unmarried, ensure you have only one partner with whom you are having protected intercourse with. A simple trick to abstinence is telling your prospective sexual partner that you both need to get tested and certified in order to ensure that you are both clear of any infections before any rolling in the hay can take place!
Practice gentle hygiene
Showering after exercise to remove sweat and using fragrance-free soap on just the vulva may help to reduce vaginal odor.
Safe, gentle vaginal hygiene practices can reduce vaginal odor. Some strategies include
- Wiping front to back: This prevents fecal matter from getting into the vagina.
- Urinating immediately after sex.
- Using a gentle, fragrance-free soap on the vulva only. Inserting soap into the vagina can alter vaginal pH, causing infections and a foul odor.
- Changing underwear daily, or when underwear is sweaty or soiled.
- Washing underwear in unscented products.
- Showering after sweating or exercise as trapped sweat can increase vaginal odor.
- Washing the vulva with water if there is an unpleasant odor. Between showers, women can use a washcloth to gently wipe down the area, removing sweat and other sources of odor.
Tips for preventing future odor
Once you eliminate the unusual vaginal odor, keep these tips in mind for preventing another problem later
- Consider probiotics. Probiotics, which are good-for-you bacteria, can help maintain the pH balance in your vagina. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kombucha, and unpasteurized sauerkraut.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Aim to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet makes for a healthy body, and that includes your vagina.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is good for more than just your skin. It can help your vagina’s overall health, too, by encouraging healthy sweating and fluid release.
- Avoid douches and scrubs. You might think they’ll help eliminate bad bacteria, but they also eliminate the good bacteria. Let your body work out the bacteria ratios, and skip these unnatural washes.
- Wash your vagina before and after intercourse. Sex introduces bacteria, as well as foreign substances like lubrication and spermicide from condoms. Wash before and after sex to help maintain natural bacteria levels.
- Cut out tight clothes. Clothes that are too tight don’t let your vagina and groin area breathe. Getting plenty of oxygen is vital to good vaginal health.
- Wear cotton panties. Cotton panties wick away excess moisture from sweating or discharge. Synthetic fabrics are not as good at this.