It is not uncommon to worry if other people can smell your vaginal odor, but the concern is usually unwarranted. TeensHealth, a service provided by the Nemours Foundation, assures women " that under normal circumstances, no one ever smells any odors from a girl's vagina." A healthy vagina's scent is usually mild, although some women naturally produce a stronger odor than others. If you are experiencing strong vaginal odors, visit your gynecologist to rule out any health problems. With a clean bill of health, you can follow routine hygiene and vaginal care practices to keep odors to a minimum.
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Shower everyday to remove sweat and bacteria from your skin. Wash your vulva--the external areas of your vagina--daily with mild soap and water or skip the soap and instead use water alone. Soap can cause vaginal irritation in some women, leading to increased feminine odor. Water alone is sufficient to clean the vulva effectively, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG.
Avoid using feminine deodorant sprays, scented tampons, feminine wipes, scented toilet paper and douches. These products can increase feminine odor by causing vaginal irritation, bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Douching changes the pH levels of the vagina, making it less friendly to the good bacteria that ward off infections. ACOG advises women to refrain from douching to "reduce the risk of getting vaginitis."
Wear cotton underwear. Cotton is a breathable material and allows air to penetrate the fabric, which reduces feminine odor by keeping the vagina dry. Change your underwear once a day, more often if desired. Wear a nightgown and go pantiless at night to give your vagina an extra boost of fresh air.
Reduce vaginal odor by trimming or removing pubic hair. Sweat and urine can get trapped in pubic hair, creating undesirable odors.
Reduce odor related to excess sweating by sprinkling a little cornstarch in your underwear. Cornstarch is mild, unscented and absorbs sweat.
Change your tampons and sanitary pads every three hours to reduce odor related to menstrual blood.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- TeensHealth: Feeling Fresh
- ACOG: Vaginitis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vaginal Discharge
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Female Health--About Vaginal Discharge
- TeensHealth: Vaginal Yeast Infection
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Bacterial Vaginosis
- 4Parents.gov: Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases