Vaginal odour is a sensitive topic for many women. While some women are concerned about having too much vaginal odour, others worry that they don’t have enough. Some people believe that it is totally natural and nothing to be ashamed of, while others think that it is something that should be hidden at all costs.
There’s no denying that the vagina can have a bit of an odour. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always a bad thing!
In fact, a new scientific study has found that the vagina has a distinct odour that can be used to identify individual women. The study, published in the journal Nature, involved collecting and analysing samples from the vaginas of women of different ages, ethnicities and sexual orientations.
The findings showed that each woman had a unique vaginal odour, which was not influenced by factors such as diet, hygiene or sexual activity.
The study authors say the findings could have important implications for health, as the ability to identify individual women by their vaginal odour could help in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as bacterial vaginosis.
The research has generated a lot of interests, and there are sure to be more scientific studies conducted on this topic in the future. But for now, the findings suggest that the vagina has a distinctive odour that can be used to identify individual women.
One of the most important things to remember is that our vaginas are self-cleaning. This means that we don’t need to do anything special to keep them clean. In fact, doing too much can actually disrupt the natural balance of our vaginal flora, leading to infections or other issues.
So, the next time you catch a whiff of your vagina, don’t be alarmed! It’s probably just working as it should.
Vaginal odour: What’s natural and what’s not
A gynaecologist’s candid view about what is natural and what isn’t when it comes to vaginal odour can be incredibly helpful for women who are self-conscious about their scent. Dr Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified obstetrician and gynaecologist who presently practice in Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, USA, has a few things to say on the subject.
“To start with, it’s important to understand that there is no ‘normal’ vaginal odour. Every woman’s scent is unique, and just like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike.
“Of course, there are times when an abnormal vaginal odour can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. But in most cases, it’s perfectly normal,” she said.
So how can you tell the difference? Here’s a Dweck’s take, according to her findings published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
If your vaginal odour is strong and fishy, it could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). This is a common condition that’s caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. BV is usually treated with antibiotics.
If your vaginal odour is musty or earthy, it’s probably nothing to worry about. This is just your vagina’s natural scent.
If your vaginal odour is sweet or fruity, it could be a sign of a yeast infection. This is a common condition that’s caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina. Yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal medications.
If your vaginal odour is foul or offensive, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. This could be anything from an STI to a UTI. If you’re concerned about your vaginal odor, it’s always best to see a gynecologist for an evaluation.
So, what exactly is this natural vaginal scent? Dweck said: “While each woman’s scent is unique, it is generally a mix of sweat, bacteria, and vaginal discharge. This mix of fluids can create a musky or earthy smell that is not unpleasant. In fact, many men find this scent to be arousing.”
In general, however, you should not be concerned about the natural scent of your vagina. It is normal, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace your natural scent, and enjoy the pleasure that it can bring to you and your partner.
Tips for preventing vaginal odour
So, what can you do to keep your vaginal healthy and prevent unwanted odours?
According to Dr Nadine Kaslow, a professor of Psychiatry and Gynaecology at Emory University School of Medicine, and also the Chief Service Officer of The Grady Health System in Atlanta, there are four main things that can cause vaginal odour. These are sweat, vaginal discharge, bacteria, and yeast. Here are her tips on how to prevent each one of these:
Sweat: Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing to help reduce sweating. Avoid tight pants and synthetic materials. Cotton underwear can help absorb sweat.
Vaginal discharge: Discharge is normal and helps keep the vagina clean and healthy. Wearing a panty liner can help absorb discharge and keep it from getting on your clothing. If the discharge is bad-smelling, it could be a sign of an infection. See your doctor.
Bacteria: The vagina has its own natural bacteria that help keep it healthy. But sometimes, other types of bacteria can get into the vagina and cause an infection. This can happen if you have sex without a condom, if you use a douche, or if you wash your vagina with soap. To prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina, use a condom during sex, and avoid douching and using soap in the vaginal area.
Yeast: Yeast is a type of fungus that can grow in the vagina. It is often caused by taking antibiotics, which kill the good bacteria along with the bad. Wearing loose-fitting clothing, avoiding douching, and eating yoghurt with live culture can help prevent yeast infections. If you do get a yeast infection, see your doctor for treatment.
Take a probiotic supplement: This can also help to restore the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Practice stress management: Stress can worsen vaginal odour, so it is important to find ways to manage stress effectively. This may include regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and getting adequate sleep.