How to Get Rid Vaginal Odor Naturally
Let’s face it: sometimes, as a woman, vaginal odor is something you have to combat. Most of the time, those who live a healthy and natural lifestyle can count on their vaginal flora being in balance—but every now and then, an unpleasant aroma may arise in spite of your efforts. Never fear! Most of the underlying causes of vaginal odor can be remedied at home, using natural methods.
What Causes Vaginal Odor?
An unusual vaginal odor may occur due to different reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of vaginal odor:
Vaginal infection – Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of vaginal bacteria and is the most common vaginal infection that causes a vaginal odor. Another infection, trichomoniasis, which is sexually transmitted infection, can also lead to vaginal odor. Vaginal infection is usually accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge. While up to third of the cases of bacterial vaginosis may resolve on their own, it is recommended to seek medical treatment if symptoms are present or during pregnancy to avoid complications.
Pregnancy – Pregnant women may find that their genitalia emit a different smell during this time, mostly due to heightened sweat gland activity overall. Pregnant women also have a much more keen sense of smell, meaning that the scent may be noticeable to you but not to others. This scent and its cause are not abnormal and do not generally require antibiotic or antifungal treatment; however, they can make you feel self-conscious and there are steps you can take to eliminate the unpleasant smell.
Detergents – Laundry detergents used when washing underclothes can sometimes lead to genital irritation, causing the delicate balance between healthy bacteria and healthy fungi in the vagina to go “out of whack.” When this occurs, you can take proactive measures to reset your body and bring the balance back in tune.
Sexual activity – Sexual activity, especially intercourse, can lead to vaginal odor. The alkaline nature of semen gives it a somewhat bleach-like scent, so when it is secreted into the vagina it can leave a strange scent, particularly when mixed with vaginal secretions. Note: Unprotected sex with new sexual partners is very risky, and can lead to not only vaginosis, but also sexually transmitted infections that are more serious in nature.
Menstrual cycle – We all know that our odor tends to change while menstruating, but the days leading up to our monthly menstrual period can also be fraught with a metallic, iron-tinged smell. This is normal, and is simply an indicator of the days to come. Most of the time, this cause of vaginal odor requires no treatment.
Home Remedies for Vaginal Odor
For whatever reason you may be experiencing a problem with vaginal odor, there is hope ahead. Try one of the following natural home remedies to stamp out vaginal odor and restore the balance within your body.
1. Probiotics – Taking probiotic supplements can aid in keeping all of your inner flora in balance, including those within your vagina. Probiotics are touted as helpful with digestive troubles, but can be wonderful for helping to keep the rest of your body in balance as well. Take the probiotics according to instructions to reap the best benefits from the products.
2. Yogurt – Eat plain yogurt. Consuming yogurt that has had no sugars or other sweeteners added on a daily basis—a half cup per day—helps to ensure long-term health and promotes the flourishing of “good” bacteria. Avoid syrupy, sugary yogurt brands and stick to the all-natural stuff.
3. Hydration – Dehydration can also give the vagina a funny smell. So many women have issues with vaginal odor and do not realize that they are simply dehydrated. Ditch the diet sodas and drink more water. Remember—to be well-hydrated but not over-hydrated, it’s important to drink half your weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. For example, a 150-pound woman should drink around 75 ounces of water per day to remain properly hydrated. Many of us fail to do this, and our inner bodies suffer as a result.
4. Vinegar – Use a half cup of plain white or apple cider vinegar in a sitz bath and soak for a bit to clear up any bacteria that may be lurking. Dry well by patting with a clean towel and, if needed, use the low setting on a hair dryer to ensure dryness after bathing.
5. Tea tree oil – Place a few drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of a carrier oil and add into your bath for a good soak that eliminates vaginal odor and promotes overall health. Tea tree oil is one of nature’s miracle products that can help to heal many maladies, including intermittent unpleasant vaginal odor.
6. Baking soda – Dilute a tablespoon of baking soda into eight ounces of water, then pour this into a sitz bath and soak. This can reduce odors and irritation brought on by minor bacterial or fungal infection, such as those due to vaginosis or yeast infection.
7. Garlic – Mince and eat a clove of raw garlic per day to promote vaginal health. Feel free to mix it into salads or relishes and consume it that way, provided it is raw when it enters your body. The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of garlic help to treat vaginal odor from the inside out.
8. Steer clear of alcohol – Excessive alcohol consumption can throw off your body’s internal balance like nothing else. Avoid consuming alcohol, especially beer, if you are plagued by vaginal odor or recurrent yeast infections.
9. Proper wiping – Always wipe front to back when using the restroom, whether defecating or urinating. Lack of improper wiping can cause nasty, painful infections in the urinary tract and vaginal area, both of which can lead to unpleasant odor.
10. Choose cotton underwear – Wear cotton underpants whenever possible to allow the genital area “breathing room.” Nylon or other synthetic fabrics can “cordon off” the genital area, causing bacteria, fungi, and odor to proliferate. Use of cotton underwear can diminish this effect dramatically.
11. Cleanse well after sexual activity – After having sexual intercourse, cleanse your genital region thoroughly with warm water and make sure to urinate at the nearest possible time frame. This can stave off vaginal and urinary bacterial infections that may otherwise take root and cause unpleasant vaginal odor.
When to Call your Physician
If your vaginal odor is accompanied by an unusual discharge, itching, burning, or pain, consult a doctor immediately—you may have an infection that requires antibiotic or antifungal medical treatment. If you have had unprotected sex and vaginal odor occurs, please contact a physician, as it may be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection.