You look good, you feel great, you’re on your game in every way possible. But, there it is, that one thing, lurking in the shadows, that thing that all women have experienced from time to time. The thing that can take us from the confident, carefree women we are into a shrinking violet in a millisecond. Vaginal odor. Yes, I said it. It’s real, it happens and there are real reasons for it. Before I move on, let me state for the record that it is completely normal for the vagina to have a slightly musky odor. It is when you notice a strong, somewhat fishy smell that imbalance in your vaginal health can be present.
What Causes Vaginal Odor
Here are some things that can affect vaginal odor and what you can do to address the issue.
- Your diet – The foods and beverages that you consume can affect vaginal odor. Coffee, sugar, processed food, anything that can make your PH just a little too acidic can create enough disharmony in the vagina that it can affect the smell. Try to make sure you are drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated because this can also affect the ammonia levels in the urine causing a strong smell. Eating plenty of fresh, leafy greens, celery and berries also promote a healthy vaginal microbiota.
- Lifestyle – smoking cigarettes can increase unpleasant vaginal odor as well as consistent marijuana and alcohol use, sorry ladies, I mean wine too.
- Hygiene – Sweat, tight clothing and sex can affect smell too so make sure you try pee after sex. If you work out or tend to sweat a lot in your work, rinsing off with water can be helpful as it clears away bacteria caused by sweat. Also, over-cleaning with soaps and scented sprays and washes can actually remove some of the good bacteria that helps balance things and may actually cause an overproduction of normal vaginal secretion which can lead to foul odor too.
- Hormonal imbalance/perimenopause or menopause – If you think your hormones could be wonky, talk to your doctor. They can recommend supplements and possibly HRT to help even things out.
- STI/Infection- Bacterial Vaginosis infection which is not sexually transmitted is one of the most common culprits of vaginal odor, Chlamydia and other STI’s can affect the balance as well causing unpleasant odor and symptoms. Your naturopath can prescribe compounded herbal tinctures, supplements and perform tests and write prescriptions as needed.
Balanced Hormones Keep Your Vaginal Health at its Best. Are Yours Balanced? Check Out Our Hormone Symptom Guide to Find Out.
Taking Care of Your Vaginal Health
One last thing to consider; It may not just be you. Your partner’s habits, lifestyle, and health impact your vagina too. Be open and chat with your partner or spouse about lifestyle and habits that may impact sexual health for both of you and remember, guidance from your healthcare professional takes the guesswork out of what may be going on.