How to Keep your Vagina Clean and Smelling Good
Your intimate parts are a delicate area of your body. Its health is highly important, which is why it should come first above all else. Many women may have noticed that their vag smells and want it to smell good, as it may not be perfectly clean. The truth is that the vagina can have several smells, depending on the time of your cycle and if it has an imbalance or infection. This is why, before making it smell good with different methods, you should analyze the reasons behind the odor. Keep on reading this oneHOWTO article if you'd like to know how to keep your vagina clean and smelling good.
Why does my vagina smell?
The smell of each woman's vaginal discharge may vary from one person to another, depending on their diet and time of their cycle. Normal smells can appear during the time you are ovulating, when you may notice a slight lactic smell that may remind you of yogurt. Excessive sweating and humidity in the vaginal area can also create a smell. In these cases, you may proceed to find out how to keep your vagina clean and smelling good.
However, if you can't identify the smell or the situations described above do not apply to you, then the smell from your vagina may be due to a bacterial infection or STD. If your vagina has a strong, "fishy" smell, then you will need to take further action. Here are the main reasons why your vagina may smell:
Trichomaniasis, also known as 'tirch', is an STD that is caused by parasitic contagion. Apart from the bad smell in the vag area, you will also notice green and mucous-like discharge, pain when urinating and pain inside and outside the vaginal area. In this case, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible and refrain from the tips mentioned below.
Also known as candida, this bacterial infection is one of the most common yeast infections and is associated to vaginosis, which affects the pH of your vagina. Apart from the fishy smell, you will notice white and thick discharge which may have clots or lumps. Although there are certain foods that can help you speed up the process, you should visit your gynecologist so you can get proper treatment.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
This is an infection that can originate in the uterus, Fallopian tubes or ovaries. It can be caused by an untreated STD that causes bacteria to travel from the vaginal area into inner parts of your reproductive system. To treat pelvic inflammatory disease, you should visit your gynecologist so he/she can prescribe antibiotics and give you advice on the proper treatment.
Make sure it is your vagina and not the discharge that smells bad. Take a look at our article Why does my discharge smell bad? and check all the possible reasons.
Daily vaginal hygiene
Now's the time to learn how to keep your vagina clean on a daily basis, knowing how to keep intimate hygiene in a perfect shape in order to avoid diseases and thus make your vagina smell good. But what is a good daily vaginal hygiene?
The bacterial flora in the vaginal region is very sensitive and needs a stable pH in order to stay healthy. The vagina should have a pH level of 3.5 to 4.5 to be in perfect condition. This is why washing your vagina several times a day to avoid odor will not make it smell good, but will in fact distort the pH levels and allow germs to reproduce more easily.
Instead, do the following every day to keep your vagina clean:
- Wash the vaginal region once a day with lukewarm water and a pH neutral soap that is specifically designed for this area. Therefore, don't use any body gels or soaps you use to clean the rest of the body, especially if they are highly scented. Make sure you check the pH in the soaps you buy, as a pH level of 8 will be too high. Therefore, if you're not using a special soap, make sure your body soap is between 3.5 and 4.5.
- Related to the information given above, you should know that using your hand when washing or a washcloth is the recommended method. Do not use a loofah as it can create small tears.
- When you go to the toilet, the way you clean can also prevent smell. Make sure you wipe in the right direction, which is from front to back, as well as wiping your backside from front to back too. This will prevent any type of residue from remaining in the area and causing a growth in the amount of bacteria. The most important area to clean is the surrounding area of the vagina or vulva area, as the inner part has its own mechanism to keep healthy.
- Always wear clean underwear. In order for the vagina to breathe properly, it's important you wear natural fibers that don't make the area sweat, which is why cotton underwear is highly recommended.
- Avoid humidity in the area. When you sweat while doing physical activity or if you live in a humid climate, make sure you change your underwear so the area keeps dry, as bacteria can build up easily in a humid environment. This is also the reason why it's recommended to change your bikini or swimsuit after being in the pool or sea, so you don't carry the humidity with you during the whole day.
Only in the U.S, around 30% of women use a vaginal douche in order to keep their vagina clean, as well as other other purposes such as avoiding STDs and preventing pregnancy. However, recent studies have found that these purposes are not fulfilled.
As a vaginal douche is usually made with a water and vinegar solution, douching can change your vaginal flora, which makes the vagina a perfect environment for bacterial growth. Not douching can actually prevent vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and even cervical cancer.
This is the reason why, despite what many women may feel, you should not use a douche to make your vag smell good. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against the use of douches.
Making your vagina smell good
Now that you know about the perfect care you need in order to keep your vagina clean, it's time to show you how to make your vag smell good too. The recommendations stated above will do a pretty good job in getting rid of any unpleasant smell. However, if you still want it smelling perfect, there are several tricks that will help in many situations.
Use baby wipes
If you need to refresh pretty quickly, you should know that there are certain intimate wipes that can clean the area. Although, as we mentioned above, it's recommended to clean the area just once a day, if you are in an emergency you can always use these wipes to make your vagina smell good. However, you should be very careful with the type of wipe you use, as scented versions will also play with your vaginal flora, as we've been repeating during this article. This is why baby wipes may be the perfect solution to solve vaginal smell in a bad situation, as they are pH neutral and won't affect your natural bacteria.
Foods that will make your vagina smell bad
In the same way that certain foods can make your urine have a foul smell or change color, some foods that are high in chemical compounds, sugar and other bacteria can affect the scent of your vag. This is why you should avoid the following foods and drinks if you want the area to smell good:
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can create a pH imbalance in your body.
- Onion: Many people who notice smell in the vagina relate it to onion, which is exactly the source of the smell. The smell may be more acute if you have a fructose intolerance, which will prevent your digestive system from processing this root vegetable.
- Asparagus & broccoli: These two vegetables are highly acidic, which is why, when added to the vagina's naturally acidic pH, they create a strong smell.
- Seafood: Although some may relate seafood to an aphrodisiac, it may actually be a turnoff, as it may cause an unpleasant smell even 24 hours after taking it. As a home remedy, you can try drinking water and lemon while eating seafood to avoid the smell.
- Spices: Those spices that have a particularly strong taste and smell such as curry, turmeric or chili may also affect the smell of your vagina.
- Garlic: When we eat garlic, our body digests the ingredient and carries it around the bloodstream to different tissues, including the seminal fluid and vaginal walls, which is why the smell from this ingredient can be noticed in the vaginal area. Some recommend inserting garlic in the vagina in order to balance your pH. However, we do not recommend this method which could make things worse.
- Red meat: Like with spices, red meat will make your body sweat more, as well as messing with your pH levels as it is an alkaline ingredient, creating the unpleasant scent in your privates.
- Dairy products: Eating an excess of dairy products can also be a cause of vaginal odor. Avoid, milk and cheese, but yogurt can actually help, as we'll see below.
Foods that will help your vagina smell good
As there are foods that will make your vagina smell bad, there are also foods that will make it smell good too. Although it has not been scientifically proven, the fact is that many people who have eaten these ingredients have had good results:
- Kale & spinach
These will only be useful when eaten. You should never attempt to use them on the vaginal area directly or it could actually be worse.
Drinking water and staying properly hydrated will also allow for good vaginal health, proper lubrication and will thus help your vagina smell good.
The exception to dairy products is yogurt, which will actually act in favor of your vagina's scent. This is due to the fact that yogurt is a probiotic, which means that it has its own live bacteria that will help keep the level of the vagina intact, helping prevent yeast infections and making it smell good too. A home remedy that will also work, is to get natural, unsweetened yogurt and spreading some on a sanitary pad that you will then put on the vaginal area. Wait for around ten minutes and remove. Make sure you clean and dry the area properly. You will notice the difference.
Other probiotics that can help you are Sauerkraut, kimchi and miso, which you can include in your diet in order to help your vagina smell good.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Keep your Vagina Clean and Smelling Good, we recommend you visit our Family health category.
- Do not use perfume on your vaginal area in order for it to smell good. This will irritate the area and harm the vaginal flora.
- Make sure you have not got a foreign body within your vagina. A forgotten tampon or a piece of condom can get stuck and produce a smell due to the action of the body to fight against this unknown object.
- Certain sexual practices can also create smell in the vagina. For example, having anal sex and changing directly to vaginal sex will create a bad smell in the area. Refrain from doing so or make sure you clean the area well (without using a douche).
- If you are currently taking antibiotics, you should know that this may also interfere with vaginal bacteria, as do many antihistamines, which may dry out the area.