You may avoid discussing this issue like a plague, or you may go scarlet red when this topic of discussion opens up on a girl’s night. We are talking about the scent of your lady parts. Irrespective of whether you are okay talking about it or feel it is a no-trespassing area, every woman wants her vagina to smell pleasant and often wonders if the smell emanating from down there is ‘normal’. The body constitution, hormonal activity, diet and lifestyle preferences of women vary so it is but natural that the vaginal smell may also vary. It is also impacted by menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause. In general, a healthy musky smell is de rigour.
everteen, the feminine hygiene expert, partners with Woman’s Era to bring you tips for maintaining a complete feminine intimate hygiene…
Being self-conscious about your vaginal smell can lower your confidence, especially during intimate encounters. In this part of the everteen Feminine Intimate Hygiene Secrets, let’s discover what you can do to ensure you always smell naturally fresh down there.
Yogurt-dipped tampons to maintain healthy vaginal microbiome.
While most mammals harbour a diverse mix of bacteria, in human females, the lactobacillus species is the dominant resident. This good bacteria pumps out lactic acid that kills or inhibits growth of other harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses and protects you from infections. Low oxygen levels and acidic vaginal pH of 3.8 to 4.5 is ideal for growth of these lactobacilli. But this delicate balance can get upset through a lot of activities including sex (semen increases the pH), menstruation and douching among others, due to which the lactobacillus population decreases and that of harmful microbes may increase, leading to bacterial vaginosis and other infections, leading to a foul smell.
Probiotics, which are good bacteria, can help maintain the pH balance in your vagina. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, pickles, apples, dark chocolate, olives etc. Some people also suggest using yogurt suppositories for vaginal health. All you need to do is to dunk a fresh tampon in yogurt and insert it in the vagina for around an hour.
PC: Google Images
Eat foods that your vagina loves.
There is evidence that what you eat can affect the vaginal odour. For example garlic, coffee, onion, asparagus and certain spices may cause changes to vaginal smell. Aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet makes for a healthy body, and that includes your vagina. Certain foods especially healthy for the vagina include:
- Cranberry – Full of antioxidants and acidic compounds, fresh cranberries and their juice are powerful infection-fighters and can be especially helpful in preventing UTIs.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – Help in improving blood circulation, sex drive and also help with vaginal dryness and PMS pain.
- Leafy green vegetables and fruits – Natural blood purifiers that also reduce vaginal dryness.
- Seeds and nuts – Sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts all contain vitamin E and oils that prevent vaginal dryness. Almond and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which is an essential mineral regulating the menstrual cycle, that also help combat itching.
- Fluids – Drinking enough fluids flushes your system and helps clean your vagina.
Hygiene is good. Douching is not. Steam, well, er…
We all know that intimate area hygiene is important but too much of a good thing can actually be bad. Don’t be a clean freak. By now most of us know that douching is not a good idea. However, newer fads of vaginal cleaning are gaining popularity. A practice called vaginal steaming, which involves sitting over a pot of steaming water filled with medicinal herbs, has been getting attention. It is supposed to cleanse the uterus and rebalance hormone levels. However, experts advise against it since it may get rid of good bacteria that is essential to protect the vaginal lining.
PC: Google Images
The right way to maintain intimate hygiene.
Doctors advise that if you’re worried about odour, it’s fine to occasionally use wipes, especially after exercise or during the day after your visits to the washroom. However, opt for safe, unscented intimate wipes that don’t mess up with your vaginal pH balance.
Pubic hair can also cause the vagina to have a ‘funky’ smell. This is because the hair traps sweat and drops of body secretions. Since intimate skin is very delicate, do not use regular hair removers which can harm with their harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for a sensitive cream such as everteen bikini line removal crème that does not cause rashes, skin darkening or foul odour.
Do not stay in sweaty gym clothes for long and preferably wear breathable cotton underwear.
Also ensure that you stay away from chemical-based soap and only wash your vagina with specially formulated intimate wash, that maintains the natural pH levels of the vagina.
Using cotton-top panty liners with anti-bacterial strip on a daily basis also helps keep your intimate area dry and infection-free, thereby reducing bad odour.
PC: Google Images
Other methods worth trying.
Some people recommend the use of essential oil, especially tea tree oil, to help eliminate vaginal odour. Though this treatment has very little medical research to support it, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it may be helpful. Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, which may help reduce and eliminate persistently harmful germs. You can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with water and then apply a drop or two to the outside of your vagina. Repeat this for three to five days.
While regular hot baths and hot showers may upset the natural pH, a vinegar bath may actually help avoid vaginal smells. You can pour one to two cups of apple cider vinegar in a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Vinegar may naturally reduce bacteria.
Also try and get rid of extra thigh fat through exercise since it can lead to extra sweat and friction if the thighs touch each other constantly. This results in bacterial growth, vaginal odour and rashes.