Aaaah the magical vagina. We have a complicated relationship with this body part, especially when it comes to odour. (You’re already cringing right? Well, breathe deep and stay with me. This is important.)
If you’ve got ‘almost paranoia’ about your lady garden smelling anything but fresh you’re far from alone. Speaking bluntly though, if things smell rotten or fishy it can be a sign that it’s not ‘all roses’ downstairs. Here’s what you need to know…
Let’s get the weirdness out of the way first, right? The truth is nobody wants to think about this topic, let alone front up to the doctor, mutter awkwardly that their girl-bits aren’t smelling so delightful and then drop their best knickers. But sometimes in the interest of health and unholy smells a ‘girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do’.
It’s a sad reflection of how women can feel about their bodies (and how uncomfortable we can be talking about our lady-parts) but here’s the important stuff about what’s good, bad and downright wrong. And when you should see the doctor.
Vaginas are meant to have a smell
Just like lots other parts of your body its perfectly normal that your vagina has an odour. It sounds odd but your vagina is home to millions of good bacteria that keep everything downstairs in perfect balance. That’s why there’s a smell, and it’s normal and smells just like you.
What can effect the smell of your vagina?
Okay so aside from an hour-long Zumba class in some seriously tight lycra or a scorcher summer day without a shower, what other factors can make downstairs less pleasant and more pungent?
What you eat can change things up in eau de vagine (and so we’re told how things might, um, taste.) Yep, just like asparagus and your urine, spicy foods and garlic can change the smell of things while, as famously tested by the Kardashians on their show pineapple (they claimed) made things both smell and taste sweeter.
Sexologist and doctor, Jessica O’Reilly, says the change in smell from eating spicy foods would result approximately two days after the food consumption and last the same length of time.
Okay so how smelly is normal – and how stinky is a problem?
Firstly, no two vaginas smell the same but generally most have a slightly sour smell. This is because the environment is meant to be slightly acidic which nature’s way of preventing infection and keeping bad bacteria at bay. If things smell a little bit musty that’s generally a result of sweat – perfectly normal too.
Remember back to stupid teenage boy locker-room talk and ignorant comments about ‘smells like fish‘? Well, they were actually on to something (even if they were just horny virgins who’d never been near enough to a fanny to smell one!) If your vagina has a fishy or rotten smell this is a nature’s warning that things downstairs could be a-miss.
A fishy smell is often the sign of a bacterial infection and a rotten or garbage-like smell can be a sign that there’s something in there that shouldn’t be, like a tampon or piece of a tampon. Trust us, this is a much more regular occurrence than you’d imagine.
If you smell something that wafts, is overpowering and you think uh-oh don’t muck around you need to go see a doctor – sooner rather than later.
Suspect things smell a bit pong-y? Get yourself to the GP post haste.
As we said above, nobody likes dropping their undies for the doc but being shy and not going at all is way more awkward… especially if that smell continues to escalate!
Put aside your embarrassment and let your minge get the attention it needs to not only feel but smell healthier. Ignoring any concerns like a strange odour (as well as other warning signs like itching, stinging, or pain) can result in longer term health problems.
Bottom line, if you suspect something is ‘off’ talk to your doctor and be as direct and detailed as possible. Firstly they’re professionals and secondly they’ve seen (and smelt) thousands of vagina – many that smell far worse than yours!
Remember it’s normal to have a vagina that smells…
Always remember normal, healthy vaginas do have a smell. And if it’s nothing that makes you think ‘yikes‘ that’s most likely what a woman is meant to smell like. You don’t need to look for perfumed or fragranced products to try and change that. After all, there’s nothing wrong with having a vagina that smells like a vagina.