What Is Vaginal Odor? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention


Vaginal odor is any unpleasant odor that comes from the vagina. It's normal for your vagina to have its own unique smell, but a very strong odor may signal a problem.

The smell of your vagina may vary during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. You may also experience stronger smells after sexual intercourse or exercise. An intense odor, however, could be due to an infection that needs treatment.

 *Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Odor* 

Temporary vaginal odor is common and often goes away on its own. Vaginal odor is considered normal if you don't have other symptoms. But if the odor is persistent and you’re experiencing burning, itching, discharge, or irritation, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for a vaginal exam.

 *Causes and Risk Factors of Vaginal Odor* 

Again, it’s normal for your vagina to have a slight smell. But pay attention to any changes in smell as well as changes in your discharge or if you develop irritation, burning, or itching. Some causes of vaginal odor may include:

 *Bacterial vaginosis (BV)* This infection is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms may include a strong, fishy odor and a thin, gray discharge. It’s the most common vaginal condition in women ages 15 to 44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 *Trichomoniasis* A sexually transmitted infection (STI), trichomoniasis can cause vaginal odor. Other STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, typically aren't accompanied by a strong smell but may be the culprit.

 *A forgotten or stuck tampon* A very strong vaginal odor can occur if you forget to take a tampon out or if one is stuck inside you. According to the British National Health Service, it is not possible for a tampon to get lost inside you. It can however be compressed at the top of your vagina. If you’re unable to remove the tampon yourself, it’s best to have your doctor extract it and check for infection.

 *Douching* Douching is a method of washing the inside of the vagina using water that’s usually mixed with other fluids, commonly vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. The effect it has is much different from washing yourself in the bath or shower, which is perfectly healthy. Doctors don't recommend douching because it can increase your risk for many health problems including STIs, and even interfere with conception. Douching removes healthy bacteria that the vagina needs to keep balanced and can actually make the problem worse in the long run. In addition, douching can promote overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which can lead to yeast infections or BV. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching may spread the infection into your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious infection that causes infertility in 1 in 10 women who have it.

 *Poor hygiene* Not bathing or showering regularly can lead to inflammation of the vaginal area, which can cause vaginal odor.

 *Sweating* The skin in the groin area is prone to sweating, which can cause vaginal odor.

 *Diet* What you eat and drink influences the smell of urine, and there's some evidence that what you eat can affect your vaginal odor. If your vagina smells off, foods with strong odor, such as garlic, could be the cause.

The smell of the vagina may change over the course of your menstrual cycle or during pregnancy, but these changes are normal.

Your menstrual cycle Your vaginal smell likely changes during different stages in your cycle.

Pregnancy According to the Cleveland Clinic, pregnant women are at a higher risk of having changes in vaginal smell due to hormonal changes and increased vaginal secretions.

 *Rare causes of vaginal odor include:* 

 *Rectovaginal fistula* This is a rare abnormal opening between the vagina and the rectum that allows feces to leak into the vagina, which can contribute to vaginal odor. Other symptoms include recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections (UTIs), pain during sex, or stool in your vagina. A rectovaginal fistula may be caused by a childbirth injury; complications from a pelvic surgery, including hysterectomy; Crohn’s disease; or cancer treatment to the area.

 *Cervical or vaginal cancer* In rare cases, abnormal vaginal odor can sometimes be a symptom of cervical or vaginal cancer. Other symptoms of possible cervical or vaginal cancer are heavy vaginal discharge that can have a strong odor.

 *How Is Vaginal Odor Diagnosed?* 

 *Remember:* vaginal odor that happens because of a medical condition is usually associated with other signs and symptoms, like itching, burning, irritation, or discharge. Your doctor can help assess these symptoms through a vaginal exam and diagnostic tests.

 *Duration of Vaginal Odor* 

Duration of an abnormal vaginal odor depends on the cause. Once the underlying cause is completely treated, the odor should go away.

 *Treatments and Medication Options for Vaginal Odor* 

Remedies for your vaginal odor will depend on the cause. Your doctor can help determine which medications or natural remedies can help treat an underlying condition.

 *Prevention of Vaginal Odor* 

In general, you can control mild vaginal odor by implementing some of the tips mentioned below

Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing to prevent moisture buildup and increase airflow to the area.

Change clothes and shower promptly after exercise.

Practice good hygiene by washing your vaginal area with warm water and nonirritating soap.

Avoid foods that might increase the odor.

Wipe front to back after urinating or making a bowel movement to prevent spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina.

Use condoms during sex to prevent the spread of STIs.

Avoid douching and feminine sprays or deodorants, which can lead to irritation.

 *Complications of Vaginal Odor* 

In about a third of cases, an unusual vaginal smell goes away on its own, but if the odor is a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be treated, complications could arise (not from the odor itself, but from whatever is causing the odor). Odor is often the result of an infection that requires antibiotics.

Pls don’t forget to drop your comment……

No comments

Powered by Blogger.