Vaginal Odor Treatment

In Diagnosis & Treatment by Dr. Clinton Osborn

It’s normal to have a slight vaginal odor. This is the way the vagina lubricates itself and get rid of harmful bacteria. Keep in mind that a healthy vagina has a light fleshy scent to it. Women during menstruation have a slight metallic smell because of the iron from the blood. Intercourse may result in a temporary odor that goes away after several hours.

However, a persistent and robust odor may indicate that an infection has disrupted the natural flora environment of the vagina. Often times, infections like bacterial vaginosis will interrupt the pH balance of the vagina leading to a fishy smell. If you noticed a strange difference in odor that keeps getting stronger and stronger along with additional symptoms of itching and irritation, then it’s time to visit your doctor.

It could be stressful and irritating to have a vaginal odor. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments and strategies to get rid of them. Find out common forms of treatment, and talk to a doctor at GuruMD to find out if one of them is right for you.

Related: STD Vs STI: What Are The Differences?

Deodorizing Product

You can use perfumes or body mist, but keep it outside of your vagina. Do not insert scented formula or douching fragrance inside your vagina because the acidity from the fragrance can burn the vaginal lining, leading to more irritation.

Practice Good Hygiene

Make sure to clean your vagina thoroughly in the shower with mild soap. Avoid using a loofah because it can cause a small tear that can make you vulnerable to bacterial infection. 

Cleaning in the shower can clear away dirt, debris, sweat, and dead skin. Avoid using soap with strong perfume because that can disrupt the vaginas natural PH. Instead, try using a bar of soap, it’s more gentle on the skin.

pH Products

There are plenty of over-the-counter products that can restore your vagina pH. If you decided to use that option, and the odor remains, then it’s best to see a doctor for a physical evaluation and to obtain some samples to find the microorganism that is infecting you. You may require prescription medication to treat it. Before using a pH product, it’s usually best to test your pH to find out whether it’s actually out of balance.

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Change Your Underwear

Silk, satin, and polyester panties can cause some vaginal irritation and odor. If that’s the case, then try switching to 100% cotton. This is mainly because cotton provides more air circulation to reduce sweat and fluid from the body. After all, moisture can increase infection and disrupt the vaginal environment.

Soak in Vinegar

Frequently washing the vagina can disrupt the natural pH. However, you can pour 1 to 2 cup of apple cider vinegar in a warm bath, soak, and relax for 20 minutes. The vinegar helps fight off and reduce bacterial infection, therefore restoring your pH. Check with a doctor to make sure this is a treatment that works for you. Before using products to alter your pH, it is important to understand if your pH is abnormal.

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Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is the type of essential oil that can get rid of vaginal odor. It has natural antifungal and anti-microbial properties that can destroy any infections. All you have to do is mix a couple of drops in the water, and apply 1 to 2 drops on the outer part of your vagina. Repeat this for 3 to 5 days, and you should see some improvement.

Medication

Prescription medication can treat underlying medical conditions that contribute to vaginal odor. For example, if your vaginal odor is caused by bacterial vaginosis, and none of the OTC medications are working, then definitely visit the doctor for a check-up. Once the doctor diagnoses bacterial vaginosis, he or she can prescribe antibiotics like metronidazole to treat the ailment. Do not use medication without professional medical advice.

How to Prevent Future Vaginal Odor?

Here are some tips to prevent future vaginal odor.

Probiotic

Probiotics can replenish your vaginal system with natural flora bacteria to regulate the vaginal environment and pH as well as destroying potential infections. It is highly recommended to take supplements, yogurts, kombucha, and other probiotic-rich food.

Hydration

Drinking plenty of water does wonders for your skin. It can also encourage fluid release and healthy sweating, therefore improving your overall vaginal health.

Healthy diet

Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grain. A balanced diet can strengthen your vaginal defense mechanism to fight off the invaders.

Talk to a medical professional at GuruMD about creating a healthy diet to prevent vaginal odor.

Wash after intercourse

It’s essential to urinate and thoroughly wash the vagina after sex. This is to clear out mucus that could transfer from your partner to you.

Cotton panties

Cotton panties provides plenty of circulation, therefore, reduces sweat and discharge to lower infection.

Avoid tight clothing

Tight clothing prevents the genital area from breathing. With the lack of oxygen and ventilation, the vagina produces a lot of discharge and mucus to compensate. Too much of that can easily lead to increased moisture; therefore, it invites microorganisms to feast and disrupt the vaginal environment.

Get tested for STIs

If you have vaginal odor, this may be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection. It’s best to go to your doctor and test for common STIs if you have had sexual intercourse.

Can I have sex with abnormal vaginal odor?

If you realize that your vagina has a foul-smelling odor, then it’s best to avoid sexual activity. Usually, these pungent smell may indicate an infection that could be an STD. Plus, STDs and other infections are often contagious, so you might spread it to your partner. 

In addition to that, during the intercourse process, your partner might push the infection further and deeper into your body system. The bacteria can travel to other organs, potentially causing a UTI or bladder infection. Penetration can also cause friction and cuts on the vaginal mucosa, which can make you vulnerable to more infection and exacerbating current symptoms.

When to see a doctor for vaginal odor?

It’s best not to pursue medicated or unnatural treatment unless you are sure there is an underlying issue, so the best course of action is to consult a doctor before you use any of the above treatment (besides maintaining good hygiene and health habits). If you are concerned about convenience, you can consult an online doctor for an affordable, fast, yet professionally reliable option.

If you still do not experience any improvement or the symptoms have gotten worse, consult the doctor again to determine whether or not a physical examination is needed. When you go in to see your healthcare provider, they will interview you and initiate a physical examination. 

A urine test and vaginal sample will be taking give to the lab for analyzation. The results would be able to tell you what kind of infection is causing the vaginal odor. With this information, the doctor will be able to prescribe the proper fungal or antibiotic medication that you need to eradicate the infection.

Final Note

Foul, pungent vaginal odor can be embarrassing and irritating. It’s a sign that invader has compromised the vaginal environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications, tips, and strategies to get rid of the odor. If the odor does not go away, then it’s essential to see a doctor for an examination and prescription medication. Learn about subscription plans at GuruMD to find out about getting a medical diagnosis right away.

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