Society dictates that women should be self-conscious about every part of their bodies. The billion-dollar beauty industry has been profiting off of women’s insecurities for decades, and many women spend their lives afraid of stepping out of the norm in any way.
This topic becomes even more difficult to discuss when private parts are brought up. One issue that many women avoid bringing up at all costs is what lady parts are “supposed” to look and smell like. However, the smell of your vagina is directly related to your overall health, so this is a topic that is well worth discussing.
What Does A Healthy Vagina Smell Like?
Getting this out of the way: a healthy, clean vagina is not meant to smell like a flower garden. Like your mouth and other parts of your body, your vagina houses billions of bacteria called the vaginal microbiota. The vagina’s slightly acidic pH leads to a slightly sour smell, while sweat buildup on your body leads to a somewhat musty smell. Neither of these smells should be overpowering in any way.
A healthy vagina produces discharge throughout the menstrual cycle. Some amount of vaginal discharge is completely normal. In fact, it’s a good sign that your vagina is clearing out dead cells, bacteria, and harmful secretions. The discharge also prevents infection and disease.
Every woman is different. Fluctuations in vaginal discharge and smell are influenced by your diet, exercise, and your internal system. Your baseline, clean vagina scent should remind you of how you smell after getting a good workout. This musk is entirely healthy, and it should be the scent that you carry everywhere.
If you know what’s normal for your body, you will immediately be able to sense any change and take action. The vagina is sensitive to changes in your daily habits and your environment. If you aren’t familiar with your baseline scent, your doctor will have difficulty advising you on what could be wrong.
What Causes Changes In Vaginal Odor?
Hormone levels, antibiotic use, spermicide, and douching can alter your scent. Certain food items such as garlic, onions, blue cheese, cabbage, cauliflower, vinegar, and red meat can disrupt the vagina’s pH levels, leading to an off-putting odor.
Your hygiene habits can also dictate your vaginal scent. Your vagina contains sweat glands and hair follicles that attract bacteria. As with the other nooks and crannies of your body, you should exert effort in keeping your vagina and vulva as clean as possible, too.
Yeast, bacteria, and sexually transmitted infections will drastically change your scent—a strong fishy smell may indicate bacterial vaginosis. Other vaginal infection symptoms include itching, redness, burning, and swelling. If you think you may have a vaginal infection, you should seek treatment from your doctor immediately.
Normal vaginal discharge has a mild, musky, slightly sour scent that is not at all unpleasant. You should be familiar with your baseline scent and how it alters throughout your menstrual cycle. Any foul or strong, unusual odor is a sign that you may have an infection or other health problems. Consult your doctor to discuss possible treatments and solutions.
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