Vaginal odor is a common problem faced by most women very frequently. The foul vaginal smell can occur due to a number of reasons. These can range from STDs to hormonal changes, poor hygiene, yeast infections and bacterial growth. It is extremely normal for your vagina to have a light odor due to the unavoidable white feminine discharge, but if you are having a strong odor, such as an unpleasant smell or a fishy smell, you need to look into the reasons why. Vaginal odor is a common problem faced by most women very frequently. The foul vaginal smell can occur due to a number of reasons. These can range from STDs to hormonal changes, poor hygiene, yeast infections and bacterial growth. It is extremely normal for your vagina to have a light odor due to the unavoidable white feminine discharge, but if you are having a strong odor, such as an unpleasant smell or a fishy smell, you need to look into the reasons why.
This strong vaginal odor is sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, burning or itching. While it is impossible to get rid of feminine discharge from your vagina altogether, you can always ensure that it doesn’t make your vagina stink. Generally, the odor is accompanied by other symptoms. In case it is not, then probably you need not worry much.
Symptoms of vaginal discharge
Symptoms of vaginal discharge vary among most women. The most common signs are:
• Excessive white discharge
• Discharge (colorless or colored) with a foul smell
• Discharge (colorless or colored) with a metallic smell
• Thick, white colored discharge
• Fishy odor from vagina
• Yellow or green discharge
• Pain or itch in the vaginal area
• Pain in your lower abdomen
• Pain during sex
Cause that leads to vaginal odor
Vaginal odor can be the result of several causes. Mentioned below are some of them:
1. Bacterial infection: This is one of the most common causes of a vaginal infection leading to foul vaginal odor. The bacteria affect more than 30% of the women who are presently in their reproductive stage.
2. Hormonal changes are another reason for having a stinky vagina. Your menstrual cycle has a closer relationship with vaginal odor than you would imagine.
3. Sweating can often lead to your vagina having an unpleasant odor. Make sure to keep your genital area as dry as you can.
4. Poor hygiene often leads to a fishy vaginal odor. Make sure to clean your vagina at least twice a day.
5. Forgotten or a retained tampon will actually fall into the category of poor sanitation, and it is more common than you would expect. Awareness and cleanliness is extremely important in preventing that smelly discharge after your periods.
6. Infections that are sexually transmitted like Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. They cause a grey, yellow or green discharge with a foul odor.
7. Fancy thongs can sometimes be the cause of foul odor as well. Your vagina needs to breathe freely, so try not using them.
8. Tight clothing doesn’t let your vagina breathe which can often lead to accumulation of sweat which in turn causes your vagina to smell unpleasantly.
9. Eating lot of spicy food often leads to an increase in vaginal discharge which in turn increases your chances of having a foul vaginal odor.
Home remedies to get rid of vaginal odor
Some cases of vaginal odor can be cured with a few home remedies mentioned below:
Daily consumption of yogurt might help you in eliminating vaginal odor. You can either include it in your diet or apply it on your vaginal area topically. Yogurt can be applied topically in two ways:
Yogurt bath: This is a simple remedy. While preparing your bath, add some yogurt to it and then take bath normally. While taking bath, pay close attention to your genitals and wash them properly with water.
Direct application: Take a cup of yogurt and a tampon. Dip the tampon in the yogurt and insert the tampon in your vagina. Leave it there for around 3-4 hours, then take the tampon out and wash your vagina with lukewarm water. This is one of the best methods to get rid of vaginal odor overnight.
2. Baking soda
This is a readily available ingredient at home. This can be used to restore your vaginal pH level back to normal. Once your pH level goes back to normal, there will be a decrease in the smelly discharge naturally. Baking soda helps fight vaginal yeast infection that is one of the causes for having a vaginal odor. For this remedy all you need to do is add some baking soda to your bath water and then take bath with this solution. Wipe your body thoroughly with a sanitary wipe, giving more attention to your private parts. You will experience a change in your vaginal odor.
3. Neem leaves
Neem, or azadirachta indica, is one of the best home remedies to get rid of any odor, including vaginal odor. Also known as Indian lilac, neem has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. All you need to do is boil some neem leaves in water, strain the leaves and cool the water before washing your private parts with it. Boiling them on some water and using it for your daily bath also goes a long way in taking care of bad odor.
4. Lavender oil
Not only does it reduce vaginal odor, but it also helps in reducing irritation and itching in the vagina. Mix some witch hazel and lavender oil with water and wash your vagina with the mixture. It is one of the best ways to eliminate vaginal odor very fast. It would also make you feel fresh. You can also add 2 drops of lavender oil and a drop of mint oil to your bath water and soak yourself in it for at least 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can mix lavender oil and mint oil with some water and refrigerate the mixture. Then dab the mixture on your private parts with cotton balls.
Commercial vagina cleansers and feminine odor products are often unsafe. They can worsen your problem by killing the natural bacteria and making you vulnerable to yeast infections. So, it is best to make your own vaginal cleanser with naturally occurring products. And it is very easy. Just add 250 ml of rice or apple vinegar to your bath water. Soak yourself in it for 15 to 20 minutes. The vinegar kills the toxin producing bacteria in your vagina that cause the odour. Alternatively, you can add 1 ½ cup of white vinegar and salt in lukewarm water. Soak yourself in it for a few minutes. White vinegar breaks down the odor proteins. Do this several times a week. You can also use a tampon. Soak a tampon in diluted apple cider vinegar and insert it in the vagina. Keep it there for no more than an hour and then wash the area with warm water.
Garlic is a powerful antibiotic and you can use it when you have some time to spare. Put a clove of garlic in the vaginal area (but not in the vagina- you may end up with injuries) and keep it for an hour. Then remove it before cleansing the area with cold or warm water. This will take care of the bad odor immediately. Do this a few times every week.
7. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a strong antifungal and antibacterial agent. So it is very effective against the harmful bacteria. You can dip a tampon in olive oil and add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Insert the tampon and let it remain for at least an hour. Do this a few times every week. Also, you can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a cup of water and use the mixture to rinse your vagina. The odour will disappear immediately. Do this daily if you want to get rid of the odour permanently.
8. Betel Leaves
Betel leaves are not only famous for their antibacterial properties, but they are also very good astringents. These make them ideal for treating bad vaginal odour and for soothing vaginal irritation. All you need to do is to tear the leaves into small pieces and boil them in water for about 10 minutes. Wait till the solution becomes lukewarm before dipping a tampon in it. Insert it into the vagina and let it remain for 15 minutes before removing it. Do this once daily for a week. You can also use this solution to wash your vagina after straining the leaves.
Alum, the common name for aluminium potassium sulphate, is very famous for its ability to kill bacteria. It is widely used in water tanks, in pickles as a preservative, and in aftershave ointments to prevent infections. Alum is also a very good remedy for killing odour producing vaginal bacteria. It is especially helpful in preventing odor caused by excessive white discharge.
Gently rub an alum stick near the mouth of the vagina after soaking it in water. You can do this twice every day. You can also prepare a vaginal wash by mixing ¼ tbsp of alum powder with a small amount of water. To take care of the excessive white discharge, add ½ tbsp of alum to 1 glass of water and drink this twice daily.
Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it perhaps the most popular home remedies against infections after neem. To relieve yourself of vaginal odour, boil an inch of a thoroughly washed and peeled turmeric root in 1 liter of water. Do so till the water reduces to half. Wash your vagina with this twice a week. You can also chew that root right after getting up every morning for a long term solution to your problem. You can also drink a mixture of 1 tbsp of turmeric powder and milk before going to bed every night.
11. Boric Acid
Menstrual blood and semen can both increase the pH levels in the vagina and favor bacterial growth. A mild antiseptic like boric acid can reduce this and help maintain the good bacteria (lactobacillus). Using it is a bit tricky, and one should preferably consult the physician before doing so. Fill “00” size gelatin capsules with boric acid and store them in a cool, dry place in an air tight container. Before going to sleep, put one of the capsules in your vagina. Those with bacterial vaginosis should use this thrice a week. However, pregnant women should avoid using this.
These are some of the home remedies for fast vaginal odor treatment. Remember that fishy vaginal odor could also be symptomatic of something very serious like some STD. As could be yellow or green discharge. In case your problem persists, consult your doctor immediately. Also, none of the above remedies should be used without consulting your dietician at the least. It is best to lead a healthy lifestyle, consuming adequate amounts of fruits with Vitamin C, water, wearing clean, cotton underwear of the right size, having safe and clean sex, and maintaining a good period hygiene to avoid these problems as much as possible.