Your Guide To Managing Vaginal Odors
TBH, sometimes it can kind of smell ~down there~! And while it’s totally normal, experiencing vaginal odor (no matter the reason) can be straight up annoying—especially since there can be so many causes it’s hard to know exactly why it’s there.
As always, though, Beia is here to guide you with the help of sexologist Rhiannon John from BedBible. Because being confused stinks! (Get it?) Some reasons you might have vaginal odors include…
You’re on your period.
Menstrual fluid, which includes blood and uterine lining tissue, can sometimes have a distinct odor. You might notice a metallic-like smell coming from your period blood, which contains iron. That said, these scents typically go away when your period ends, and odds are they aren’t noticed by anyone but you. K?
It’s your discharge.
Discharge is totally normal and usually doesn’t have more than a faint smell when you see it in your panties. Any barely-there smells coming from here are really just a result of the good bacteria in your vagina’s natural environment. The normal pH level of the vagina is 3.8 to around 4.5, meaning it is acidic. (Which keeps it healthy and functioning!) And discharge just is a result of your vagina self-cleaning!
You have an infection.
If you’re not on your period, it’s possible that you’re experiencing unpleasant vaginal odors as a result of an infection like bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, sexually transmitted infections, or a yeast infection. TLDR: If the odor is sour or unpleasant and accompanied by an abnormal discharge that is gray, yellow, or green in color or is clumpy, *you should visit your doctor* stat.
So you want to get rid of the smell?
Even though it’s totally normal to have vaginal odors from time to time, it makes sense if you’d like ways to keep your downstairs smelling fresh when you can. Doing so means having a healthy vaginal pH, which can be maintained by the following, per John…
Using a condom or dental dam during sex. This will help maintain the pH level by not introducing alkaline sperm to the vagina or introducing potentially unbalanced pH levels from another vulva.
Eat a balanced diet. Like any other part of our body, the vulva and vagina require a diet with a wide range of nutrients to function at its peak. Eat and drink a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and protein.
Lather up and wash!You know by now that the vagina is self-cleaning, so you’re in luck there. However, the vulva is not self-cleaning and needs to be washed like any other area of skin on the body, which you can do using fragrance-free soap and warm water.