Vaginal Odor: What is considered 'normal'?
Every vagina has its own unique scent or "Vaginal Odor"; and although this may be a cause for self-consciousness for some, a healthy vagina will usually have a slight scent to it. Unless you notice changes or abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal odor is completely normal.
Why does it smell?
The vagina is a beautiful ecosystem on its own and usually needs extraordinarily little interference to function optimally. Designed to cleanse itself naturally - it is home to billions of bacteria.
Most interesting perhaps is that the makeup of bacteria could change daily or even hourly, and this can cause changes in your vaginal odor and vaginal discharge. Your menstrual cycle is also largely responsible for the changes, as are your hygiene habits and well… simply you being you!
What are the different types of smells?
When discussing various vaginal odors, one thing to remember is that there is no specific odor for a healthy vagina. Due to the genes inherited by people, the way people perceive odors is different. Another factor is that these smells change regularly, and we can safely conclude that every woman has her own unique natural smell.
Perhaps the best way to describe Vaginal Odor is "fleshy" or "musky." Depending on the point of the menstrual cycle, "metallic" could be considered normal, too!
What is considered healthy?
Because there are many variables, it is necessary to pay close attention to your own vagina to distinguish between healthy odors and unhealthy odors. Pay attention to what your vagina is telling you. That being said... if there is an unpleasant or strong smell, be sure to consult a doctor or OB/GYN.
As a reference, here are some common Vaginal Odors according to Healthline’s Molasses to Pennies: All the Smells a Healthy Vagina Can Be:
Tangy or Fermented
Coppery like a Penny
This is another odor a healthy vagina emits. It is nothing to be alarmed about. It only indicates the presence of blood. However, should this odor linger, along with itching and a discharge, it could warrant a visit to your doctor.
Sweet almost like Molasses
Fear not, it’s only bacteria doing its thing!
Skunky like BO or a Smoked Herbal, Earthy Scent
Some describe it as a bleach or ammonia odor because urine contains a by-product of ammonia which is natural. However, this may also be a sign of bacterial vaginosis and a good reason to seek medical treatment.
Bacterial Vaginosis and Trichomoniasis may be the culprits responsible for this fishy odor, and attention is required in both cases. In rare cases, a fishy smell could also be an indication of a more serious condition. As a rule of thumb, a fishy smell needs your attention.
If we listen to what our vaginas are telling us, abnormal vaginal odors are quite easy to spot. Fishy or rotten odors are of concern, especially if accompanied by the following:
- Pain during intercourse
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding unrelated to your period
Should you be concerned by any of the above factors, you should seek professional healthcare advice.
What are the different types of discharge to expect?
Vaginal discharge is quite a normal and regular occurrence, which is also subject to change just like vaginal odor. It is mostly dependent on our menstrual cycle. Anything like egg-white to milky-white on a color spectrum is quite normal.
Vaginal discharges that are yellow, green, or gray tone are concerning, as are chunky foul-smelling discharges.
Watch out for vaginal discharges that are:
- Heavier or thicker than usual
- Appears puss-like
- A cottage cheese-like appearance (white and clumpy)
- Grayish, greenish, yellowish, or blood-tinged
- Fishy-smelling or foul-smelling
- Accompanied by itching, burning, a rash, or soreness
How do I keep it smelling healthy?
According to Medical News Today - 6 Ways to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor, maintaining a healthy vaginal odor is actually quite easy. Here are some tips that are really easy to implement which do not require any particular odor treatment:
- Wash and care for your vulva--especially before and after intercourse
- Try to avoid always wearing tight clothing--change into some loose-fitting clothes that encourage airflow as often as possible
- Switch to breathable fabric for underwear
- Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated
- Eat probiotic-rich foods
Should I douche?
Douching can and often does affect the delicate pH balance of the vagina. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not recommend douching or the use of douching products, as this upsets the good bacteria and vaginal flora that works to prevent irritations and infections. In turn, it leaves the vagina defenseless and could cause more serious complications. Often, many view douching to be a Vaginal Odor Treatment; but it usually makes unusual odors worse.
Instead, concentrate on keeping the vulva (or external genitalia) clean, but be sure to wash it with warm water and pat dry afterwards. Keep in mind that your intimate area is delicate and needs products and cleansers specifically formulated for intimate use so as not to disrupt the delicate pH.
Cleansing the vulva will make you feel clean, so you are more confident and less worried about vaginal odor. Consider using a mild soap-free feminine wash; and for that added step of self-care, follow with Rejucream... the perfect intimate moisturizer.
The vagina is a beautiful creation designed to cleanse itself naturally. All we need to do is listen and provide the occasional care to keep her in the pink of health.
Rejuvenate is infused with probiotics and is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free... the perfect way to care for your vulva! Rejucream is recommended by Dermatologists and Gynecologists. It is an essential to nourish and protect your most intimate area and can be easily added to your daily skincare routine!