Vaginal odor may vary throughout your menstrual cycle and may be especially noticeable right after having sex. Normal sweating also can cause a vaginal odor. Read more.
Vaginal odor is a topic that’s not only embarrassing to discuss for many, but it’s simply embarrassing to live with for anyone who may be experiencing it. Often, it’s the result of a vaginal yeast infection, but that’s not always the case — which is why it’s important to find the cause.
Having a healthy vagina is vital 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. While there are many causes, most of the time it can be resolved through natural remedies. But where does this incredibly uncomfortable vaginal odor come from, and what is it in the first place?
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Vaginal odor causes
Vaginal odor and discharge are defined as any odor that originates from the vagina. It’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odor given it’s an opening to the interior of the body, but a strong vaginal smell, such as a fishy vaginal odor, could indicate a bigger problem and should be checked out by your physician.
The abnormal vaginal odor is typically associated with other vaginal signs and symptoms, such as itching, burning or irritation. Often there is vaginal odor and discharge at the same time. Luckily, there are natural ways to take care of vaginal odor such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda, probiotics, tea tree oil and more that I lay out below.
Vaginal odor is often more noticeable just after sex and can vary throughout the menstrual cycle. Regular sweating can also be a cause a vaginal odor. This is often where the idea of using vaginal douching and other vaginal deodorant-type products comes to mind, but these products can increase irritation and other vaginal symptoms due to their chemical-filled ingredient list.
Instead of douching and other potentially toxic feminine hygiene products, try the following natural remedies. So, note vaginal odor treatment and remedies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains amazing antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can help fight vaginal odor. Taking a bath with apple cider vinegar can help fight off the toxins and bacteria that cause vaginal odor while restoring the acidic quality of the vaginal flora. Try drinking a glass of water mixed with one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily.
Baking soda can be used to balance the pH level in your body. When the pH level is in the balance, the problem of vaginal odor will dissipate, which means you can add natural deodorizer to the list of baking soda uses.
You can only add half a cup of baking soda to your bathwater and soak for about 15–20 minutes. Then thoroughly dry your body before putting on your clothing. Make sure not to allow moisture to sit in any folds or the groin area of the body.
We love probiotics since they can help keep the gut healthy, but did you know that probiotics can do wonders for vaginal odor? Miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir are all great options. Probiotic yogurt, for example, is rich in lactobacillus bacteria, which helps fight candida infection, a common cause of vaginal odor. It also helps restore the normal vaginal pH level, which can remove vaginal odor.
White Vinegar and Sea Salt
While apple cider vinegar seems to get all the glory when it comes to home remedies, let’s not forget white vinegar. White vinegar can help neutralize odors by breaking down odor proteins, and a white vinegar bath may help eliminate vaginal odor and help restore pH levels in the vagina.
Just a half cup each of white vinegar and sea salt in lukewarm bath water several times a week may do the trick.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains strong antifungal properties as well as being an excellent antiseptic. These characteristics help get rid of bacteria that may contribute to the problem of vaginal odor and discomfort.
Add a few drops combined with water and witch hazel on a cotton pad and then applying it to the effected area daily can make a big difference. Make sure to dilute with the water and witch hazel since tea tree oil can cause some initial sensitivity to the groin area.
It may seem odd to take one foul smell to get rid of another, but garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It’s a natural antibiotic that may be just the remedy for vaginal infections as well as vaginal odor. The antifungal properties that garlic contains can help fight a yeast infection, which, in turn, gets rid of harmful bacteria.
Just incorporate garlic in raw or cooked form, on a daily basis, into your meals. Garlic is available in capsule form at your health food store, or you can eat one or two raw garlic cloves on an empty stomach with a glass of warm water.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh, organic, whole fruits and vegetables are always key to a healthy body and support vaginal health due to the numerous vitamins and minerals they contain. We know that vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, kiwi, and green and red peppers, is an immune system booster.
Leafy greens should always be consumed in abundance since they help with circulation and prevent vaginal dryness. Eat plenty of spinach, kale, cabbage, salad, Swiss chard, collards and other leafy greens by including them in your salads and smoothies. The avocado stimulates vaginal health and also helps with libido because it contains vitamin B6 and potassium, which supports real vaginal walls, reducing the risks of infection and bacterial growth.
Nuts and Seeds
Adding nuts to your daily nutrition helps prevents vaginal dryness because they contain vitamin E. Look for sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce itching and other symptoms of dryness that can cause bacterial growth and odor.
Ground flaxseed is a super food that’s rich in phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to boost estrogen levels and may stop vaginal dryness.
I cannot stress enough the importance of water and lots of it. The vaginal mucous membranes need water to function properly, so they remain well-hydrated. Water helps lubricate your vagina naturally, which aids in diminishing vaginal smells.
Neem Bark Extract
Neem bark has some pretty phenomenal antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties that help support balanced intestinal flora while fighting infection from fungi, such as candida. In fact, in vitro studies showed efficacy against infections, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes, in sexually active women who took neem oil extract in the tablet form. This is due to the possible enhanced antibody production and because forms of neem may promote the immune response of white blood cells, unleashing them — hence killing bacterial invaders.
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