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Your Guide to Vaginal Odor

It is quite natural for the human body to emit odors. Vaginal odor is no exception, and it can be expected even from a normal, healthy vagina. However, pungent, foul odors that emanate from the vagina can not only be very embarrassing, they may indicate a potentially serious health problem.
The most common cause of vaginal odor is bacterial vaginosis. BV is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora, which may be due to the use of antibiotics or a pH imbalance. BV results in a fishy-smelling odor that may be more obvious after sexual intercourse. Other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include vaginal itching or irritation and a grayish-white vaginal discharge. Anemia (iron deficiency) is a strong predictor of bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. BV can also be brought on by prolonged stress. Untreated bacterial vaginosis may cause serious complications, such as increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections, an increase in the development of pelvic inflammatory disease, as well as other complications for pregnant women.

Is Douching Safe?

Another common cause of vaginal odor is poor hygiene. It is a good idea to wash your external genital area during regular baths or showers. Use a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water. Normal douching is not recommended. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are in agreement with many doctors who suggest that women should avoid douching, as it can upset the delicate balance of bacteria and other organisms, leading to bacteria and yeast infections that can spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Instead, douche with infusions made from antiseptic herbs such as calendula, garlic, goldenseal, fresh plantain, St. John's wort, or tea tree oil, along with herbs such as comfrey leaves to soothe irritation.
There is a number of other less common causes of vaginal odor. A tampon that rises to the upper part of the vagina and lodges there can result in a vaginal infection, which can produce an unpleasant odor. Recto-vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening between the rectum and vagina that occurs during childbirth. This allows feces to leak into the vagina, producing a fecal odor. Vaginal odor can also be caused by cancer of the cervix or vagina.

Top Causes of Vaginal Odors:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Vaginitis
  • Inflammation of the cervix (Cervicitis)
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease that often resulted from infection of the fallopian tubes
  • Delayed uterine infection after childbirth (Puerperal fever)
  • Inflammation of the fallopian tubes (Salpingitis)
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Vagina Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer

Vaginal pH

You’ve probably heard that pH balanced shampoo can keep your hair strong and healthy, or that pH balanced deodorant eliminates odor and perspiration to keep you feeling fresh. But it’s not just our hair and underarms that benefit from pH balance. In fact, it plays a large role in the overall health of our bodies. A normal vaginal pH of 4.5 is important for maintaining good vaginal health.
At this optimum pH level, your vagina contains a balance of necessary bacteria and some yeast cells. For example, research has shown that the mild acidity of the healthy vagina has been shown to correlate with a decreased risk for chlamydia, trichomonas, and urinary infections. This delicate balance can be easily disturbed. When this happens, vaginal problems like odor and discomfort are more likely to occur. [1][2]


Some sex experts would recommend a change of diet to help reduce vaginal odor. They say to avoid red meat and dairy products and to consume more fruits and vegetables like celery and pineapple. If you and your partner actively engage in oral sex activities, potent herbs from The Sweet Secret of Princess Aroma can sugarcoat your love life by reducing foul vaginal odor while actually sweetening the vaginal fluid.

Natural Remedies

A good treatment for BV comes in the form of vaginally inserted boric acid capsules.  Lactobacillus supplements are also helpful, as they restore the proper balance of good bacteria.  There are also a number of herbs that are helpful in treating BV and other vaginal problems.  Aloe vera is helpful for infections and is known for its general healing effects. Barberry has potent infection-fighting properties. Calendula and vitamin A vaginal suppositories are soothing and healing, while Goldenseal suppositories are useful for all types of infection. Chamomile has anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon and dandelion inhibit the growth of Candida albicans.  Echinacea has antifungal properties and enhances the immune system. Pau d'arco contains natural antibiotic agents and has a healing effect.  Topical tea tree oil cream is effective against vaginal yeast infections.


  1. ^Paternoster D.M, Tudor L., Milani M., Maggino T, Ambrosini A., Efficacy of an acidic vaginal gel on vaginal pH and interleukin-6 levels in low-risk pregnant women: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trail. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 2004; 15:198-201.
  2. ^Hanna NF, Taylor Robinson D, Kalodiki-Karamanoli Metc al. The relation between vaginal pH and the microbiological status in vaginitis. Br J Obstet Gynecol, 1985;92:1267-71.

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