Ladies, the scent of your friend downstairs shouldn’t be the punchline of a bad joke. You know that every female has her own personal and slightly different scent, and it can be temporarily affected by menstruation, an infection, and even sex. Few things can make women feel more insecure than worrying about how pleasant their smell is, especially before getting handsy with a partner.
For anyone who is already offended by this, feel free to stop reading here. But let’s face the facts. Women have periods. Women have vaginas. Women also have arms and legs and eyes and a nose just like everyone else. The topic of a woman’s smell is about health. Adverse smells are the body’s way of saying “hey, something’s not right.” If something is smelling a little off, it’s probably time to go get things checked out. But for perfectly healthy women who just want to make sure that things are staying up-to-par down there, there are ways to eliminate insecurities and ensure a clean, fresh smell.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
- Shower regularly. Taking at least one shower a day will help to get rid of bacteria that can build up and cause odor in the vagina, just like everywhere else on the body. Depending on your daily routine, washing more than once a day may be necessary. Be sure to shower after a workout to get rid of sweat.
- Use natural soaps. Washing your body with fragrant soaps that contain unnatural ingredients can cause irritation and upset the natural balance of your body. Choose a fragrance-free soap made from natural ingredients to avoid any possible irritation. Do not put soap inside your vagina. It can destroy the vagina’s natural pH, which can cause odors and other problems.
- Don’t douche. Unless your doctor has advised you to douche, don’t do it. It can create an imbalance of your body’s natural bacteria and can end up causing an infection. When washing, simply use a natural soap and water — on the outside of your body.
- Wipe correctly. Yes, there is a correct way to wipe after using the bathroom. Wipe from front to back and be careful not to miss anything. Wiping in the opposite direction can sweep bacteria into the vagina and cause an infection.
- Choose your lube wisely. When buying a lubricant, avoid lubricants with a heavy fragrance, and stick to water- or silicone-based. Be careful with the products you use around your vagina, including lotions.
- Wear breathable underwear. An overly moist environment can cause a build-up of bacteria, so wear underwear that aren’t too tight – preferably cotton. Be sure not to leave the same pair on for more than 24 hours.
2. When You Need a Quick Fix…
- Use a little perfume. NO, I am not advocating spraying perfume in or on your vagina. But putting a dab on the inside of each of your thighs, at least six inches away from your vagina, will help to mask any odor that you may be worried about, and allow you to feel a little more comfortable if your partner wanders south.
- Eat a healthy diet. Certain foods can alter your body’s balance of sugar, bacteria and chemical compounds. Your diet plays a pretty major role in how things smell down there. Start by eating less sugar. It can spike your blood pressure which can cause a bad odor, and even cause yeast buildup, which can lead to an infection. There is no scientific evidence to back it up, but some swear by pineapple for a sweeter smell.
- Try wet wipes. The occasional use of a wet wipe or a baby wipe can help get rid of residue. Use wipes that are fragrance-free and only clean the outside.
3. Be Aware of Causes
- Protect yourself against infections and diseases. The major causes of a strong, unpleasant vaginal odor are yeast and bacterial infections along with STIs, STDs or viruses. Use caution and be sure to protect yourself against the possibilities. If something seems off, visit a doctor right away.
- Know that sex can change vaginal odor. Any foreign bacteria can change the balance in your vagina, so certain sexual practices can cause an odor, such as allowing semen into the vagina. This change in smell is temporary, but it’s worth being aware of.
- Be careful of foreign objects. Leaving a tampon in for too long can cause the body’s immune response to react and attack the object, which can cause an odor. If a condom breaks during use, make sure there aren’t any pieces stuck down there.