What causes vaginal odor? Everything you need to know.

                  causes of bad vaginal odor

Vaginal odor is any odor that comes from the vagina.  The cause of bad vaginal oder is more of hygiene and maybe infection.The vagina usually has only a mild odor or sometimes no odor at all. A "fishy" smell or other strong vaginal odor might mean there's a problem.

Conditions that cause a strong vaginal odor might also cause other vaginal symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.

If you have vaginal odor but have no other vaginal symptoms, it's unlikely that the odor is cause for concern. You may be tempted to douche or use a vaginal deodorant to decrease vaginal odor. But these products may actually make odor worse and cause irritation and other vaginal symptoms.

Vaginal odor can change from day to day during the menstrual cycle. An odor might be especially noticeable right after having sex. Sweating also can cause a vaginal odor.

Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of bacteria typically present in the vagina. It's a common vaginal condition that can cause vaginal odor. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, also can lead to vaginal odor. A yeast infection usually doesn't cause vaginal odor.

If you're concerned about an unusual vaginal odor or an odor that doesn't go away, see your health care provider. Your provider may perform a vaginal exam, especially if you also have itching, burning, irritation, discharge or other symptoms.

Self-care tips for vaginal odor include:

  • Wash outside your vagina during regular baths or showers. Use a small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water.
  • Avoid douching. All healthy vaginas contain bacteria and yeast. The typical acidity of the vagina keeps bacteria and yeast in check. Douching can upset this delicate balance.

Causes of Vaginal odor

Vaginal odor can change from day to day during the menstrual cycle. An odor might be especially noticeable right after having sex. Sweating also can cause a vaginal odor.

Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of bacteria typically present in the vagina. It's a common vaginal condition that can cause vaginal odor. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, also can lead to vaginal odor. A yeast infection usually doesn't cause vaginal odor.

Possible causes of unusual vaginal odor include:

  1. Bacterial vaginosis
  2. Poor hygiene
  3. A forgotten tampon
  4. Trichomoniasis

Less commonly, unusual vaginal odor may result from:

  1. Cervical cancer
  2. Rectovaginal fistula (an opening between the rectum and vagina that allows gas or stool to leak into the vagina)
  3. Vaginal cancer

How to prevent bad vaginal odor

You can put healthy habits in place to keep your vulva clean and protect your vagina from infection.

  • Practice good hygieneShower regularly and only use mild, unscented soap and warm water to clean your vulva. Bathe and put on a clean outfit shortly after exercising so that you’re not sitting for too long in hot, sweaty clothes or a damp swimsuit. Warm and wet environments are ideal places for harmful bacteria growth.
  • Don’t douche. Douching can upset the pH levels in your vagina and make you vulnerable to infection. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching can force the bacteria deeper inside your body and cause a more severe infection, like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a severe infection that can cause infertility.
  • Wear light, breathable clothing. Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight on your vulva, like thongs. Instead, wear cotton underwear that won’t hold in heat and moisture.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your vagina may have a strong ammonia smell if you’re dehydrated. Without enough water, the waste material in your urine can become especially concentrated and foul-smelling. Water can help with hydration and eliminate the smell.
  • Protect your vagina (and vaginal flora) during sex. Wear condoms to reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other infections, like BV, that can disrupt your vagina’s pH levels. If you’re using a lubricant, choose only unscented and unflavored ones to prevent vaginal irritation.



Jose Phiri

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