Monday, April 1, 2013

Over the Odor

Vaginal Odor
Let’s be frank with another; shall we? I know that many of you think, want, and even wish that your vagina emitted smells of an enchanted garden or some type of sweet treat out of a candy shop, but it never will happen – at least not naturally.  

Vaginas naturally have a smell and it’s not flowery nor is it fruity. “Don't believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it's supposed to smell like pussy,” says Eva Ensler, award-winning author of the Vagina Monologues.  They’re simply trying to clean it up. “That's what they're doing -- trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden. All those douche sprays -- floral, berry, rain. I don't want my pussy to smell like rain.” (Eva Ensler)

Most doctors agree that your vaginal odor depends largely on your daily activities and your diet. Jennifer Wider, MD in Cosmopolitan’s 6 Vaginal Odors to Put on Your Radar reveals parallel findings to Lissa Rankin, MD in Blogher’s How Are Vaginas Supposed To Smell. Apparently a healthy vagina can smell musky, bleachy, tinny, or sweet while, an unhealthy vagina can smell fishy or yeasty. To elaborate:

A healthy vagina can smell musky from the surrounding sweat glands, especially after intense workouts like an exhausting spin class or a marathon; this is normal.

Jennifer Wider, MD tells Cosmopolitan that, “If your vagina gives off a strong, foul odor, it may be the sign of an infection. For example, bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and upsets the delicate PH balance of the vagina, causing an increase in discharge and a strong fishy odor that increases after you've had sex. A foul odor with green discharge typically indicates trichomoniasis, an STD. So, if you just don't smell right, trust your instinct and see your doctor.”

A healthy vagina may smell like bleach or “chlorine-like” after sexual intercourse; this may be a result of the lubricants you use during intercourse, and whether or not you used a condom.   

While it is normal for us women to have small amounts of yeast in our vagina, yeast infections occur when there's an overgrowth. Lissa Rankin, MD tells Blogher readers that “When yeast overgrows in the vagina, you may smell like freshly baked-bread or a good malt beer.”

If you are menstruating or pregnant you may notice that your vagina smells like blood or flinty-iron. Jennifer Wider, MD says that “When you have your period, the blood can mix with the natural state of a healthy vagina and give off a different—but normal—smell.” Furthermore,  the “American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) reports that around 9 out of every 10 women experience an unusual vaginal odor during pregnancy. The reason, is normally harmless, and caused solely by the immense amount of hormone secretions and overworking sebaceous sweat glands in the vaginal area that are stimulated into a frenzy during pregnancy.” (Natty, 2013)

Lastly, but not least your vagina may smell sweet – not like a sweet treat from a candy shop, but more ambrosial; this is largely due to the types of food you eat. While, citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit have been known to sweeten the smell and taste of vaginal fluids, onions, garlic, broccoli, and asparagus have been known to cause "unpleasant" odors and tastes. Hence, nutrition is important to combating unpleasant vaginal odors.  

Probiotic Pineapple Popsicle
Dr. Lisa Masterson of the award-winning talk show The Doctors along with her "V-Team" suggests eating a probiotic pineapple popsicle for fragrant vaginal health.

Here's what you'll need (seen above, clockwise): plain non-fat yogurt, strawberries, pineapples, and bananas. The directions are quite simple: you cut up the fruit to your liking (preferably small to medium size); next, you mix the fruit into a bowl of plain non-fat yogurt; then you place the mix into popsicle molds; lastly, freeze, eat , and enjoy. (**NOTE: You can use as much or as little of each ingrediant as you like, just be sure to use more yogurt than fruit.)
See here for more details. 

Other things you can do to minimize vaginal odor are:
– Wear clean underwear made of cotton, so that your vagina can breathe. It is also recommended, at least by my doctor, to sometimes sleep without underwear, so that your vagina can breathe more. 
– Avoid tight clothing.
– Bathe regularly using warm water and mild soap to clean the vaginal area. Make sure to avoid scented female products and douches to clean the vagina.
– Change pads and tampons regularly when menstruating.
– Use barrier methods of birth control if semen causes you a problem.
– Always wipe front to back after bowel movements.
– Avoid spicy and starchy foods as well as alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
– As discussed, you should be sure to include fresh fruits as well as leafy vegetables into your diet; make it a habit.
– Eat yogurt daily. Yogurt is full of live and active cultures which can balance the delicate flora (good bacteria) of your vagina.
– Urinate and wash immediately after sex to flush bacteria from the vaginal area.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 


  1. Love this post! Girls should know that smells have to do only with our hygiene and nutrition!

    Hope you are good!


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