Question: I have a rather embarrassing question. My boyfriend told me my vagina smells bad, especially after sex. What is the cause and is there a remedy? Please help.
Answer: A stinky vagina is usually caused by an infection. Every private area in a person's body has a certain natural odour. However, when this scent is affected by an infection and there is a foul smell, this can be a cause for concern. A stinky vagina can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing development. When this occurs, most women try all sorts of douches and sprays to get rid of the smell. However, instead of relief, these may result in making the problem worse. Therefore, it is always beneficial to seek medical advice when encountering a smelly vagina. It may be embarrassing, but it will be worth the embarrassment when the problem gets resolved.
There are several probable causes of a smelly vagina. Most of these causes may be treated with antibiotics. Following are some of the most commonly encountered reasons behind an obnoxious smell from the genital area:
Sometimes, the cause of a stinky vagina could be due to more common reasons such as poor hygiene or a forgotten tampon. In addition, there are also other less common causes of a stinky vagina. These include cervical cancer, rectovaginal fistula and vaginal cancer.
The prevention of vaginal odour depends on identifying the cause. For example, practicing safe sex helps prevent sexually transmitted infections resulting in a smelly vagina. Vaginal odour occurring due to lack of personal hygiene can be alleviated by keeping the vaginal area clean. However, avoiding the use of scented soaps, scented tampons or harsh soaps will be beneficial. Wearing loose cotton underwear, especially during hot, humid summer months also helps prevent vaginal odour and vaginal infections. Furthermore, women should avoid the use of harsh chemicals when washing underwear as it may result in infections which may cause a smelly vagina. Vaginal douches are recommended, although caution must be taken when douching. There are many negative side effects to douching that including the flushing out of the "good" bacteria and allowing the spread of "bad" bacteria. Vaginal odour can be prevented by consuming high amounts of yoghurt. Yoghurt contains lactobacillus, the "good" bacteria and a high consumption will help restore the vaginal PH balance. Healthy vaginal PH balance ensures an odour-free vagina.
Vaginal odour or smelly vaginal discharge could be symptoms of a serious infection which needs antibiotics. Therefore, a foul, fishy odour emanating from the vaginal area should be looked into by a doctor. The doctor will screen for infections through a few simple tests and prescribe proper treatments depending upon the identified cause.