- 7 Tips for Getting Rid of Vaginal Odor
- Fishy vaginal odor: treatment
- When is it time to see a doctor?
- Frequently asked questions on fishy vaginal odor
- 11 Weird Reasons Why You Never Feel Fresh & What To Do About It
- 1. You Aren’t Getting In There To Clean Thoroughly
- 2. You Have An Untreated UTI
- 3. You Never Let Your Bits Breathe
- 4. You Just Ate Asparagus
- 5. Your Partner Doesn’t Shower Before Sex
- 6. You’re All About Those Scented Soaps
- 7. You Leave Your Tampon In A Bit Too Long
- 8. Your Diet Is High In Sugar
- 9. You Have A Yeast Infection
- 10. You’re Experiencing Hormonal Fluctuations
- 11. You Have Vaginitis
- Ditch your undies at nighttime
- Your vagina is what you eat
- Don’t forget to change your tampon
- Vagina ≠ vulva
- Clean your vulva like any other body part
- The vagina is “self-cleaning,” like an oven!
- No. Scented. Products.
- Get out of sweaty or wet clothes
- Wear cotton undies
- Pee after sex
- Wipe front to back
- Choose your lube and condoms wisely
- Choose tampons and pads wisely
- Never douche
- Keep your sex toys clean
- Don’t put anything that was in your butt in your vagina
- WaterWorks Natural Vaginal Cleansing and Odor Elimination Douche1.0ea
- What is a douche?
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- 1. Don’t douche, or do anything else that hurts the bacteria and tissue of the vagina.
- 2. Use the right personal lubricant.
- 3. Avoid using regular soaps and cleansers near the vulva or inside of the vagina.
- 4. Keep your immune system healthy.
- 5. Restore the natural flora of your vagina.
7 Tips for Getting Rid of Vaginal Odor
Occasionally, you may need a little help getting rid of an odor. The following techniques may help you naturally eliminate unusual vaginal odors:
1. Practice good hygiene
Clean the outside of your vagina regularly with a washcloth and mild soap. Cleansing will wash away dead skin, sweat, and dirt.
Loofahs may cause small tears and expose the area to possible infection.
Don’t use perfumed soaps or body washes. The scents and chemicals may upset your vagina’s natural pH. Bar soaps may be more gentle than body wash.
2. Use only exterior deodorizing products
If you want to use any sprays or perfumes, only use them on the outside of your vagina. Don’t insert them. They can upset your natural chemistry and lead to bigger problems.
3. Change your underwear
If you normally wear satin, silk, or polyester panties, make the switch to 100 percent cotton. Cotton is breathable and does an excellent job wicking away sweat and fluids from your body. Excess moisture can upset your natural bacteria levels.
4. Consider a pH product
Over-the-counter (OTC) products may be helpful for restoring your vagina’s natural pH. If you try one and the odor remains or grows worse, make an appointment with your doctor. You may need to use a different product or look for a stronger prescription alternative.
5. Try essential oils
Essential oil treatment has very little medical research to support it, but anecdotal evidence suggests tea tree oil, a type of essential oil that has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, may help reduce and eliminate bacteria.
However, caution should be used with treatment, as you could irritate the delicate skin of this area of your body.
You may find OTC creams that have tea tree oil, but only use them if there is a recommendation for use in the genital area.
6. Soak in vinegar
Frequent hot baths and hot showers can upset your natural pH, but one type of bath may be useful. Pour a cup or two of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Vinegar may naturally reduce bacteria.
7. Prescription treatments
Prescription treatments can help eliminate underlying causes that are contributing to the odor. If your home or OTC treatments aren’t successful, it may be time to seek treatment from your doctor.
In some cases, an unpleasant vaginal odor may simply be the result of improper hygiene. If you have a fishy odor with no discharge or a fishy odor with no discharge and no itching, you may be able to solve the problem by improving your hygiene.
A healthy hygiene routine for your vagina includes:
- Wiping from front to back after peeing and pooping
- Urinating after intercourse
- Changing your underwear at least daily, more if you are sweating
- Using unscented laundry products to wash your underwear
- Washing the surfaces of your body with a gentle cleanser
You might be thinking that if you have a fishy vaginal odor that the best thing to do is to vigorously clean the area inside the vagina or mask the scent with a perfume. This is actually one of the worst things you can do, as exposure to chemicals will alter vaginal pH balance and can even worsen the odor and cause infections.
A tampon that was left in for long
When you are on your period, you may notice a foul, fishy-smelling odor if you leave your tampon in for too long. Change your tampons and pads regularly, according to the heaviness of your menstrual flow. Avoid using tampons with a higher-than-necessary absorption as this could cause dryness in your vagina.
If you have lost or forgotten a tampon inside of you, you may be at risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), though the condition is quite rare. (1 to 2:100,000 women).
If you can, safely remove the tampon as soon as possible. See your doctor only if you cannot remove the tampon yourself, or if you were wearing a tampon for a long period of time and have sudden high fever, vomiting or diarrhea and rashes on your hands and feet.
Some women experience a change in vaginal odor before their period, which is related to bacteria and acidity levels in the vagina at different times in their menstrual cycle.
When you are on your period, the blood (with an elevated pH) and uterine lining mix with the microflora in the vagina walls, which can subtly affect smell.
Women may also notice a slight fishy odor after their period, which is normal as long as it’s not a sign of a forgotten tampon!
If you are in menopause and have a fishy odor, the smell can be due to hormonal changes that can influence scent and also make the vagina feel dry.
Fishy vaginal odor: treatment
If you have a slight fishy odor and no discharge, you may be able to treat it with home remedies:
Use gentle, unscented cleansers
Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants, which can actually aggravate symptoms by causing further imbalance in or the vaginal flora. Gently clean the vulva only with water or an unscented cleanser. Never use strong soap or try to clean inside the vagina.
These are just a few of many hygienic tips to improve vaginal odor.
Douching is a practice that should only be prescribed by a doctor if medically necessary. Douching may aggravate symptoms and limit the vagina’s ability to self-clean with vaginal discharge.
Probiotic supplements or those found in specialty foods like yogurts can help support the body’s production and balance of healthy bacteria.
If the smell persists or you have a fishy odor and discharge, home remedies may not be appropriate.
When is it time to see a doctor?
If you are experiencing persistent vaginal odor and you have tried improving your hygiene practices, it may be time to see a doctor.
You should always see a doctor if a fishy vaginal odor is accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms like itching, burning or bleeding.
Frequently asked questions on fishy vaginal odor
Do you still have some questions about vaginal odor? Here are some frequently asked questions that other women have had about a fishy vaginal odor.
Does chlamydia have a fishy odor?
Chlamydia in women is very common and can sometimes go undetected.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that can sometimes cause vaginitis and/or bacterial vaginosis, which may result in a fishy odor.
Fishy odor after sex – what does it mean?
A fishy vaginal odor after unprotected sex could be normal if the smell is subtle or it goes away after bathing and has no accompanying symptoms like itching or burning. This is due to the mix of vaginal discharge and sperm and their related pH levels.
If the smell persists or is very strong, this could indicate bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted disease.
If you engaged in anal sex, a fishy odor from your anus could indicate a sexually transmitted disease. Be sure to get screened for vaginal and anal sexually-transmitted diseases when you go for testing.
Fishy odor during pregnancy – reason to start worrying?
A fishy odor during pregnancy either in the urine or in vaginal discharge could indicate a possible infection like a urinary tract infection or bacterial vaginosis. If left untreated, the condition could cause preterm birth or a low birth weight for the baby.
What about a fishy odor postpartum? After childbirth, women can be at risk for developing postpartum infections, which may include symptoms like a fishy odor.
Be sure to speak to your doctor if you notice a fishy odor during or after your pregnancy.
Every healthy woman’s vagina has a unique and subtle smell, which is normally not noticeable to anyone but you. Your smell can also change throughout your menstrual cycle so be sure to track your daily symptoms using the Flo app.
If you start to notice a strong fishy odor with other symptoms like vaginal itching, burning, pain or bleeding, be sure to visit your doctor or gynecologist. Only they can perform the necessary lab screening to diagnose and treat the problem.
You should expect to catch a whiff of something fishy when you go to the beach or hit up your local seafood market for dinner. But if you’re noticing a particularly fishy smell coming from your vagina, that’s usually your body’s way of telling you “hey, BTW, something’s up.”
It’s not like you should expect your vagina to smell like a vanilla-scented candle (in fact, that probably means you used products down there that could be irritating). Vaginas smell like vaginas, and that’s perfectly OK. But a distinctly…sashimi…odor is usually a sign that you should see your doctor.
This is actually a pretty common symptom that’s also typically a solid tip-off that something is off with your vaginal health, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Even though a doctor is the only person who can definitively diagnose and treat you, it can still be helpful to have an idea of what may be going on while you wait for your appointment. Here’s what to keep in mind.
The most common reason behind a fishy vaginal odor, hands down, is bacterial vaginosis (BV).
In case you’re not super familiar with it, BV happens when there is too much “harmful” bacteria in your vagina and not enough “good” bacteria to counteract it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. This throws off the pH of your vagina and can lead to an infection that causes a bad, fishy odor (especially after sex), along with itchiness, pain, burning, and a thin gray or white vaginal discharge.
If you have BV, you’re definitely not alone: The CDC says this is the most common vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 and 44. Known risk factors include being sexually active (especially with a new partner or multiple partners) and douching, the CDC says.
It’s also possible (but less likely) that you could be dealing with trichomoniasis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite, and it can create a foul-smelling vaginal discharge (that can be white, gray, yellow, or green), genital itching, redness, burning, and pain when you pee or have sex, the Mayo Clinic says.
Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally invasive gynecologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tells SELF that a fishy odor isn’t required for a trichomoniasis diagnosis, but it’s a possibility. “You can have an odor, but it’s not typical,” Dr. Shepherd says. “But if you do have an odor, it could be fishy.”
Ditto for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that usually happens when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells SELF. Usually PID causes no signs or symptoms, but sometimes it can lead to pelvic pain, bleeding during or after sex or between your period, a fever, pain when you pee, and even trouble getting pregnant due to scarring of your reproductive organs, the Mayo Clinic says. It can also cause a heavy vaginal discharge with a foul odor, and sometimes that odor is fishy, Dr. Greves says.
Again, if you’re dealing with a fishy scent, it’s highly likely that it’s BV, Dr. Streicher says. But regardless of what’s going on down there, it’s important to rope in your doctor so you can get the right treatment.
There are a few things that you definitely shouldn’t do while you’re waiting to see your doctor, like trying to scorched-earth clean your vagina.
Usually if something stinks, you wash it. But don’t take that tactic with your vagina, says Dr. Greves. Trying to clean out your vagina with a method like douching can just further disrupt your vagina’s natural pH and make you more uncomfortable. Using soap might seem like a more innocent option, but putting soap inside your vagina is basically begging for irritation, Dr. Greves says. Instead of putting any soap up there, remember that your vagina cleans itself with discharge, so you really don’t need to jump in and try to “help.” Letting a mild, gentle soap come into contact with your vulva is fine, but keep your vagina out of it.
11 Weird Reasons Why You Never Feel Fresh & What To Do About It
There’s no denying that vaginas usually have a smell. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong or even bad about that (and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed about), it can occasionally feel like you’re less than fresh down there. When that happens, it’s totally normal to wonder what the heck is going on — and if there’s anything you can do about it.
This is especially true when the odor is particularly strong, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. “Having a smell around the vagina or not feeling fresh is not really abnormal, so as long as it’s not out of control and you don’t have itching or really heavy discharge,” says women’s health expert Dr. Amir Marashi, in an email to Bustle.
That can be a sign of infection, which — apart from causing a bad odor — is obviously not great for your health. As with any other infection, you should shove off to the doctor and get that treated ASAP. As for other vaginal odors, they aren’t necessarily caused by anything as worrisome. Some can be chalked up to bad habits, or your lifestyle. If you’re using a douche, for instance, stop it right now as it can mess with the pH of your lady parts. And while you’re at it, read on for some other reasons why you might not be feeling so fresh.
1. You Aren’t Getting In There To Clean Thoroughly
Sure, you swirl a loofah around your bits. But do you spread anything apart to truly clean? As sexual psychophysiologist Nicole Prause, Ph.D. says, “To clean in the shower, ladies should not only be sure to gently pull the labia major (larger outer lips) and minora (smaller inner lips) gently apart, but also to retract the clitoral hood to rinse around the clitoris.”That’s how you’ll get the most clean, and remain super fresh.
2. You Have An Untreated UTI
Urinary tract infections are all sorts of common. In fact, as women’shealth expert Dr. Yvonne Bohn tells me, about 60 percent of women will contract a UTI at some point in their lives and about 40 percent will have another. They occur when bacteria find their way inside the urethra, usually during sex or while you’re working out. Once treated by a doctor, the itching and burning (and any smell) should go away.
3. You Never Let Your Bits Breathe
It’s super necessary to let your bits breathe — especially at night. “Leaving sweat or any kind of moisture down there will throw the pH of the vagina off and will create smells,” says Dr. Marashi. From now on, try to sleep without any underwear. I promise it’ll feel so freeing — and should take care of any smells.
4. You Just Ate Asparagus
Have you ever noticed that asparagus can make your pee smell bad? “Asparagus is very rich in nitrates, which produce sharp smelling ammonia,” says Dr. Svetlana Kogan. This creates an acrid smell that not only affects your pee, but can also surround the vaginal wall. Just something to keep in mind.
5. Your Partner Doesn’t Shower Before Sex
While it’s not necessary to shower before sex 100 percent of the time, it may be a habit worth adopting if you’re truly struggling with vaginal odors. This is especially true for your partner, since they might be throwing off the pH of your vagina. “Make sure they always shower and are clean before sex,” Dr. Marashi says. And you should be good.
6. You’re All About Those Scented Soaps
I love a scented soap just as much as the next gal. But however tempting it may be, don’t use them on your lady parts. As Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine says, “It is certainly fine to wash the vulva, but please don’t use anything particularly strong or irritating (like deodorant soaps). The less interventions the better.”
7. You Leave Your Tampon In A Bit Too Long
As far as your health goes, it’s not a great idea to leave your tampon in for too long. Not only can it make you sick (or increase your risk of scary Toxic Shock Syndrome), but it can really mess with your freshness. As Dr. Marashi tells me, it’s important to change out tampons and pads regularly, lest you throw off that pesky pH.
8. Your Diet Is High In Sugar
If your go-to snack is a donut or handful of candy, it may explain why you constantly struggle with odors. As Arion Long, founder of the feminine care delivery service Femly says “… a diet high in sweets and fats promotes a bacteria imbalance that can make your vagina the perfect environment for yeast infections, odor, and more.” Not good.
9. You Have A Yeast Infection
As with UTIs, yeast infections can really mess with your ish. “Yeast inflections usually have an unfavorable odor, discharge, and feel inflamed,” says Dr. Fares Diarbakerli, a NJ-based OBGYN. To prevent them, always keep the vaginal area clean, change your underwear whenever you get sweaty, and focus on eating a healthy diet.
10. You’re Experiencing Hormonal Fluctuations
Whether you’re ovulating or about to start your period, hormonal changes abound and with them can come all sorts of odors, according to an article from BerkeleyWellness.com. If the scent is truly bothering you, a doctor may be able to prescribe a hormone treatment to even things out. (Once you weigh the risks, of course.)
11. You Have Vaginitis
Ugh, so many infections, I know. They truly can cause all sorts of problems — including odor. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis all fall under the umbrella of “vaginitis,” which is an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching, and pain. If you notice any of the above symptoms, go to the doctor for treatment ASAP.
And don’t be afraid to seek treatment for the other issues listed above, as well. While it’s normal for your vagina to have a smell, it’s not normal to experience a pungent fishy scent or deal with any type of itchiness or discharge. Got it? Good.
Images: Pexels (11); (1)
While the world might make you think that your vagina is supposed to smell like roses and daisies all the time, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Vaginas are supposed to smell. There’s good bacteria in there working hard to make sure your vagina stays healthy. The question isn’t really whether it smells. It’s more of ‘what exactly does it smell like?’ Like does your discharge smell bad, but not fishy, or does it smell yeasty? Your natural aroma is nothing to worry about, but if your vagina smells like something you’re totally not used to, then a trip to the doctor wouldn’t hurt. In the meantime, here are six common vaginal odors and what they might be trying to tell you.
1. Garlic, onions, or another type of food.
Your breath isn’t the only thing affected by a garlicky meal or a strong cup of coffee —fragrant foods can change your vaginal odor, too. As anyone who’s peed after eating asparagus can tell you, certain foods can cause some funky smells as they make their way out of your body. That doesn’t mean you should skip your favorite foods — just wash them down with plenty of fluids. “If you’re really active, and you’re drinking a lot of water and flushing everything out, I would anticipate that the smell would go away much more quickly,” says Christine O’Connor , MD, director of Well Woman and Adolescent Care at the Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Alternatively, some foods may make your vagina smell good. Rumor has it, pineapple will make your privates smell sweet, though there is no science to prove it.
2. Musky and sweaty.
Um, we don’t really want to compare vaginas to armpits, but the thing is, they can both get a little funky after a cardio sesh. “That area’s probably not going to be too pleasant after an intense workout,” Dr. O’Connor says. Of course, the heart-healthy benefits of exercise far outweigh any worries about vaginal odor, and it’s nothing a quick rinse can’t fix. “Even for people who have a strong odor after a workout, a shower should get things back to normal,” Dr. O’Connor adds.
While your vagina does contain a small amount of yeast, if it starts smelling like a bakery down there, something might be wrong. This could be a sign of a yeast infection, especially when it is accompanied by white and clumpy discharge. A yeast infection can be caused by hormones, antibiotics, certain cleansers, or anything that throws off the gentle balance of fungus and bacteria in your vagina. Don’t worry, the infections are easily treatable. So, if you have any of the symptoms, just call your doctor and get checked out.
If you’re smelling something metal down there, it probably just means you’re on your period. Blood contains iron, so the smell often accompanies that time of month. The odor should pass once your flow is finished, but you can wash out your vagina with water if it lingers.
5. Something rotten.
When your flow is light, and your tampon does its job, you may forget it’s in there — after all, isn’t the whole point of tampons that you don’t really notice them? In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to an extremely rare, but potentially deadly, condition called Toxic Shock Syndrome. If you have any other symptoms of TSS — like dizziness, nausea, or diarrhea — remove the tampon and get to a doctor, stat. More likely, though, a wayward tampon will just lead to a build-up of bacteria, which can cause a foul, rotten odor. If you finished your period within the past week, this could be the culprit. “An easy way to check is to just sweep into the vagina with a clean finger and see if you can feel anything,” Dr. O’Connor says. “If you’re not sure, see a doctor for them to check.” Don’t worry — they’ve most likely seen it before and won’t judge. Once the tampon is removed, things should return to status quo pretty quickly.
Worst-case, a funky, fishy odor could be a sign of a vaginal infection like bacterial vaginosis, a fairly common infection caused by an upset pH balance in your vagina. But odor usually isn’t the only symptom of bacterial vaginosis, so ask yourself if you’ve noticed anything else unusual. “A much more common symptom for bacterial vaginosis would be an abnormal discharge — potentially a slightly different color with itching and irritation in the vaginal area,” Dr. O’Connor says. “For pelvic inflammatory disease, the most common symptom is pain in the pelvic area.” If you notice either of those symptoms, give your doctor a call.
Bottom line: Most vaginal odors aren’t anything to worry about, so as long as a shower clears thing up, you’re probably good to go. Try wearing breathable underwear to help prevent odors in the future. “The more breathable fabrics you’re wearing, the less you notice because you’re able to get some air flowing in there,” Dr. O’Connor says. Also, just remember that even though you might think the odor is super strong, you’re probably the only one who notices it. Don’t try to cover up your vaginal odor with soaps or douching because that will throw off your pH balance and often cause even worse odors. “The skin and tissues are actually quite sensitive,” Dr. O’Connor said. A shower with mild soap is all the “feminine hygiene” you need. If the funky odor lingers after you clean it, it’s worth talking to your doc to check for any possible infections and put your mind at ease.
Jasmine Gomez Editorial Fellow Jasmine Gomez is the editorial assistant at Women’s Health and covers health, fitness, sex, culture and cool products.
Vaginas are not gross. They’re nice! Exactly as they are. This is worth saying and repeating (and repeating, and repeating) because if you look around at the myriad wipes, sprays, soaps, and perfumes that exist for tending to your vagina with the intensity of a champion dog groomer, it sure seems like vaginas—one of the only parts of your body that thrives when left alone—are “dirty.”
And they’re not! At all. But just like the rest of your bod, vaginas (and the body parts around them) can become dirty, through normal wear and tear, and need a bit of maintenance in order to stay healthy. There’s a lot of bad advice out there regarding vaginal cleanliness. So ignore all of that, and read up here on how to actually keep your vaginal area clean. No heavily scented products of 10-step routines necessary.
Ditch your undies at nighttime
One of the easiest things people who get recurring yeast infections can do to improve their vaginal health is go commando when they sleep. Underwear—even good, breathable, cotton underwear (more on that later)—traps moisture against the skin, which makes your vagina just a little bit more hospitable to yeast and bacterial growth. Ditch the undies and sleep in loose, cotton shorts or pants. Or go naked altogether—your call.
Your vagina is what you eat
Well, kind of. Has a doctor ever told you to eat lots of yogurt or take a probiotic when using antibiotics? That’s because your body, and vagina, specifically, needs good bacteria in it to stay healthy and ward off infections. Fermented foods with a high probiotic content, like yogurt or kimchi, can help prevent yeast infections and keep your vaginal biome balanced. Also, they taste good.
Don’t forget to change your tampon
And do it regularly, if you can. The general rule of thumb is to change it every four to eight hours, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s OK to sleep in a tampon, but be sure to change to a fresh one when you wake up.
Vagina ≠ vulva
Crucial differentiation here: The vulva is what you can see with your eyeballs when you look down at your pubic area. It’s the term for the external parts of the female anatomy. It includes the labia majora, labia minora, and tip of the clitoris. The only part of the vagina you can see from the outside of your body is the opening. The rest is a tube that connects the vulva to the cervix and uterus.
Clean your vulva like any other body part
Your vulva is covered in normal skin and can be cleaned the same way you clean the rest of your body — with just a bit more caution. But be careful of camping your loofah down there, or scrubbing too hard. One, it’s not necessary. And two, if soap works its way up into your vagina, you could have an uncomfy situation on your hands, be it irritation or infection.
The vagina is “self-cleaning,” like an oven!
ISN’T THIS FUN? The vagina has a naturally low pH, which discourages the growth of outside organisms and maintains a clean atmosphere pretty well on its own. So there’s really no need to be shoving soaps up there in an effort to clean it.
No. Scented. Products.
Can’t emphasize this enough. Heavily perfumed products, like that sweet soap you use on your armpits and elsewhere, has a tendency to irritate the skin inside your vagina, which is more sensitive than the skin on the outside of your body. But this doesn’t just apply to soap. Even something as simple as scented tampons or a heavily scented laundry detergent used on your undies can irritate the vagina. And definitely steer clear of any of those bogus products that promise to make your vagina smell like a bed of roses. No one’s vagina needs to smell like a bed of roses, and also, no one wants a bacterial infection.
Get out of sweaty or wet clothes
Workout outfits are so cute these days it’s tempting to stay in them for post-gym brunch and really just the rest of the day. Don’t do this! Bacteria thrive in a dark, moist (sorry) environments. If you can’t shower after swimming or working out, at least change out of your bathing suit or sweaty undies.
Wear cotton undies
Cotton is the most breathable material you can cover your vagina with, as opposed to synthetic lacey things that, face it, aren’t as comfortable anyway. And thongs — while practical! — can whisk bacteria into the urethra because they’re so close-fitting, and that heightens your risk for a UTI (ouch). So choose your panties wisely.
Pee after sex
And before, while you’re at it! Technically UTIs are a urethra problem, and that is not!! the same hole as your vagina, but let’s cover all the bases. The best way to prevent UTIs is to pee both before and after sex, in order to void all the urine in your bladder, and lessen the possibility of bacteria sitting around and multiplying inside your bod.
Wipe front to back
Probably you don’t remember the exact lessons you learned while being potty trained, and going pee is something you just do with zero thought. But maybe apply a little bit of critical thinking to the wiping step. Wiping from front to back lessens the odds that bacteria from your rectum will wind up near your vagina or urethra. Bacteria near the rectum is fine when it stays near the rectum. Elsewhere, it can lead to infections and irritation.
Choose your lube and condoms wisely
Based on the contents of my mailbox at the offices of Cosmopolitan.com on any given day, there are so many types of condoms available. If latex is a no-go for you, no problem. Next time you need a quick thrill, walk down the condom aisle in the drugstore and you’ll see what I mean. The same goes for lubes. Water-based lube works well for most people. But if you have a recurring issue with irritation post-sex, and you’ve tried different lubes and condoms and combinations of the two, talk to your doctor.
Choose tampons and pads wisely
You should just be generally aware of what’s in them. Research suggests that certain tampon brands include harmful chemicals called phthalates, known as “endocrine disruptors” that mess with your hormones. Dioxins, a byproduct of the process by which tampons are bleached, have also been found in certain tampons. Though the level of dioxin found in tampons is much lower today than it has been previously. Organic, unscented tampons and pads are your safest bet.
Gynecologists everywhere will tell you the same thing: It’s bad for you and it’s not necessary. The myth that douching creates a clean and shiny vaginal interior is just that — a myth! In fact, douching can actually make things messier by introducing harmful chemicals called phthalates to your vagina.
Keep your sex toys clean
You are almost certainly already doing this. But just in case, here’s a reminder: Your sex toys need to be properly cleaned between, um, uses. Just like you wouldn’t wear the same underwear for several days in a row (I hope), you shouldn’t use the same sex toy without washing it for days or weeks on end. There are special soaps and fancy gadgets that look like microwaves for cleaning toys but really a mild, unscented soap will do the job just fine. Most of these things are water resistant anyway.
Don’t put anything that was in your butt in your vagina
This goes back to the “wipe from front to back” principal. The bacteria in your rectum and anus is different from the bacteria in the rest of your body. Keep things where they belong! This applies to fingers, toys, penises, condoms, etc.
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Hannah Smothers Hannah writes about health, sex, and relationships for Cosmopolitan, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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It doesn’t just mask feminine odors, it eliminates them. Experience the liberation yourself. WaterWorks is an all-natural, easy-to-use feminine cleansing system that was designed to minimize the risks often associated with over-the-counter douching products. WaterWorks is the only product that is clinically proven safe and effective in neutralizing feminine odor.
What does it do? It neutralizes odor by using only tap water and a patented medical-grade stainless stell nozzle. It safely and effectively cleanses the vagina of excessive vaginal discharge, eliminates odor and maintains a healthy vaginal pH level.
How does it work? Water is gravity fed to the medical-grade stainless steel nozzle (weighing 1 ounce) from a stylish, reusable 32 ounce water container, ensuring a safe, low-pressure flow downward against the walls of the vagina. The combination of stainless stell and water produces a natural deodorizing and cleansing reaction. Why just tap water using water alone is gentler to the vaginal ecosystem than harsh irritating chemicals or fragrances.
Made in China.
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Do you suffer from vaginal odor and/or discharge?
Proven effective and doctor-recommended
Natural and safe with no harsh chemicals
Reusable and portable
FDA cleared with no prescription required
Will leave you feeling clean, fresh and confident all day
Do you want to feel fresh and clean all the time? WaterWorks is the safe and natural solution proven to eliminate feminine odor. Using stainless steel with running water is a recognized method of eliminating the volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) that cause odor. In fact, it is used by chefs as the most effective way to eliminate odors from their hands.
WaterWorks uses the same principle to naturally eliminate vaginal odor. It is the first and only patented and FDA-cleared douching alternative that harnesses the cleansing power of ordinary tap water and medical grade stainless steel into one remarkable odor-eliminating product.
WaterWorks is a safe and effective vaginal cleansing system clinically proven through six years of research to eliminate feminine odors.
Unlike other products, WaterWorks doesnВїt just mask odors and it does not upset the delicate balance of the vaginal ecosystem. Because of this, WaterWorks is recommended by OB/Gyn’s.
Developed by a woman for women, Waterworks is the first-ever completely natural douching alternative. It is the easiest and safest product on the market and it will leave you feeling fresh and clean all day.
Unlike a bidet, WaterWorks is lightweight and portable. It is also reusable and no prescription is required.
WaterWorks is designed for easy use in the shower so it can be part of your regular hygiene routine. A custom designed water container is attached to the device via a latex-free hose.
The water container is filled with body temperature tap water and placed at eye level so the natural gravity flow of water gently washes the vagina.
Use WaterWorks daily for vaginal odor. You may expect results within two (2) weeks, though in most cases results can be seen in a few days.
WaterWorks is safe, effective, FDA approved and clinically proven not to upset the delicate balance of the vaginal ecosystem.
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My first impression after opening the small box it came in was that it’s really overpriced. You’re paying almost for a piece of medical tubing, a plastic bag, and the stainless steel insertion piece. If they really want to sell this to the masses, the Waterworks people need to lower the price. One concern I had was how there were no replacement parts. If the cheap bag gets mold in it, you have to spend to buy another unit. Lame.Anyway, the insertion piece is probably a little bigger than it needs to be – probably designed by a man. :/ The size makes moving it around pretty uncomfortable, and it takes a while for the full 32oz of water to drain out. After a short while, it’s kind of like having sex in a pool. Water isn’t good lubrication.About an hour later, I had sex with my husband, and throughout the entire act, I was dryer than usual, like my body had to play catch-up. Waterworks does seem to work. I woke up this morning feeling fresh and odor-free. I don’t know if it’s because of the cleansing water, or the reaction between the stainless steel and the water. I guess if it works, it doesn’t really matter.I’m on the fence about whether this is really good/natural to use everyday, but hey, if the FDA says it’s okay…
I have never douched in my life because I was always told it was bad. The chemicals were scary to me so I was happy to hear about a natural solution that only used water that didn’t shoot straight up to harm you. WaterWorks is actually very refreshing and feels very nice with warm water. It keeps me feeling fresh before, during and after my period and especially after having intercourse. I was really happy to hear that my gynecologist gave his stamp of approval for WaterWorks, too! I didn’t expect to hear something positive about douching from a gynecologist but WaterWorks is a unique case. This is something that all women should try and I’ve gone from being very shy about speaking about feminine health to being more open with friends and family. They are also trying WaterWorks and liking how it makes them feel. Obviously this is a sensitive topic but I think a lot of women suffer, so I am trying to help spread the word about WaterWorks since it is safe and natural and actually works.
This has been a great product for me. I started getting an unusual odor after using a generic brand of orthotricyclen (birth control). I had changed my diet to help with this problem but it didn’t work. Then my doctor recommended WaterWorks and I’m crazy about it. It doesn’t only help with the odor but it helps me feel fresh and clean.
My only complaint is that in order to let it dry out I have to leave it hanging in my shower, which can be embarrassing if I have guest visiting and forget to take it down.
What is a douche?
Douching can cause more harm than good. The potential for complications, some of which may be severe, is dependent on the reasons a woman decides to douche in the first place.
Share on PinterestThere are some risks with douching including infections and cervicitis.
Douching is not a valid form of contraception. However, using a douche can make it more difficult for a woman who is trying to conceive.
Also, women who douche on a regular basis may have a more complicated pregnancy.
Pregnant women may experience:
- early childbirth
- increased likelihood of miscarriage
- ectopic pregnancy
There is a common misconception that douching can help prevent vaginal infections or get rid of them. However, the opposite is true.
Douching regularly can increase a woman’s chances of developing a vaginal infection. Disrupting the vagina’s natural pH balance can result in yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
In fact, women who douche are five times more likely to develop vaginosis than those who do not.
Using a douche when an infection is already present is also more likely to make it worse and spread to other parts of the reproductive system.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection. It affects the reproductive organs and can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
Women who douche regularly increase their risk of PID by 73 percent.
Cervicitis occurs when the cervix becomes irritated or inflamed, and it can cause itching, pain, and vaginal discharge. It is another condition that is usually contracted via a sexually transmitted infection. However, douching also increases the risk.
While a natural vaginal odor and some vaginal discharge are both perfectly healthy, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a more serious problem.
Signs to look out for include:
- vaginal discharge that has a strong smell
- vaginal discharge that is white, yellow, or green
- vaginal odor that does not go away after a few days
- pain or a feeling of discomfort during intercourse
- pain when urinating
- redness or swelling or a burning or itching sensation in or around the vagina
If a woman notices any of the above, it is advisable to seek advice from a doctor.
In spite of all the forward-thinking articles in women’s magazines that cover just about every aspect of women’s bodies, there are still some common, but surprising beliefs and behaviors that are rarely discussed anywhere. One such behavior is douching.
The word “douche” means to soak or rinse in French. Douching is a washing or rinsing out of the vagina with water and other mixtures of fluids. Most douches are pre-prepared mixtures of water and baking soda, vinegar or iodine that can be purchased at drug and grocery stores. The mixture is squirted into the vagina using a tube or nozzle.
In the United States, a surprising number, almost 40%, of women between the ages of 18 and 44 are thought to douche regularly and about half of them douche as often as once per week.
Why Would a Woman Douche?
Women douche because of a mistaken belief that it is necessary or useful to:
- clean the vagina
- rinse away menstrual blood after monthly periods
- prevent odor
- prevent sexually transmitted disease
- prevent pregnancy
These are all myths.
Is Douching Safe?
Douching is not safe. Nearly all doctors and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommend that women do not douche. Your vagina houses a delicate balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and acidity. A balance of good and bad bacteria helps maintain the acidic environment of a healthy vagina. Any disruption to that balance can lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
If you develop pain, itching, burning odor, or other symptoms of an infection, do not douche in an attempt to get rid of the problem. Douching can push the infection further up into your body into to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Remember, your vagina cleans itself naturally by making mucous. This mucous washes away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. Healthy, clean vaginas naturally have a mild odor.
Health problems linked to douching can include vaginal irritation, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
In short, you should not douche. Talk with your AOA doctor if you have any questions, but trust your body’s own processes to maintain your vaginal health.
Learn more about the dangers of douching:
- What is doucing?
- Vaginal Doucing: Helpful or Harmful?
- Do Women Need to Douche?
Glance down the feminine hygiene aisle of any pharmacy or grocery store and you’ll find numerous products designed to freshen, clean and cover up the natural smell of the female body.
Although it’s well known that the practice of douching – spraying liquid into the vaginal canal in an effort to make it cleaner or to feel fresher – is unhealthy, feminine product manufacturers keep coming up with new ways to exploit women with feminine odor issues. Even in the United States, douching is still a common practice. The U.S. CDC in 2016 reported that nearly 18% of women 15 to 44 had used a douche at least once in the year prior to being interviewed. It seems the line of reasoning is that if something smells, then it must not be clean, and if something isn’t clean, then you should wash it. And let’s face it, that train of thought is helpful for most things in life – the laundry, your home, maybe even your spouse or partner! Feminine odor is often a sign of bacteria, which we automatically associate with uncleanliness. The inside of your vagina isn’t something that you can, or should, just scrub clean. When it comes to vaginal odor, the existence of bacteria – also known as the vaginal flora – is NOT actually the source of the problem, but a huge part of the solution. So, what can you do instead of douching?
The vagina can be thought of as a sort of battlefield where different types of bacteria, both friendly and unfriendly, constantly fight for territory. Washing or douching away the friendly flora leaves the area vulnerable to an overgrowth of the unfriendly types of bacteria. An overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria can quickly become an infection that causes feminine odor, itching, and dryness – some of the very symptoms traditional douches are intended to relieve. This overgrowth is called bacterial vaginosis (BV), and it’s the cause of virtually any and all vaginal odor problems.
Stopping the vicious cycle of BV and its associated odors once and for all is merely matter of letting nature take its course. Or, you can give nature an assist by restoring the friendly bacteria in the vagina, called lactobacilli. These are our heros in this fight against feminine odor. Keep them thriving and healthy and, with patience, foul odor will be a thing of the past. Here’s how:
1. Don’t douche, or do anything else that hurts the bacteria and tissue of the vagina.
For some women, this can be extremely difficult. Often, intervention is actually more problematic than letting the vagina balance itself naturally. Steer clear of deodorants, sprays, foams or gels that attempt to cover the smell of the vagina with another smell.
2. Use the right personal lubricant.
Get a lube without the 7 most hazardous ingredients in personal lubricants. These ingredients have been shown to damage the delicate tissues of the vagina and disturb the balance of vaginal flora. Check the ingredients label on your personal lubricant before buying. The list should be short, recognizable, and pronounceable. Our recommendation? Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant.
3. Avoid using regular soaps and cleansers near the vulva or inside of the vagina.
The pH of regular soap has a tendency to disturb the vaginal flora. Wash carefully around the area with regular body washes and soaps, or try a pH-balanced cleanser like Balance Moisturizing Wash.
4. Keep your immune system healthy.
There are numerous lifestyle factors that can upset the delicate balance of flora in the vagina such as medications like antibiotics, dietary changes, cigarette smoking, and high stress. Keeping your whole body’s immune system in good order will help your body naturally fight off unfriendly bacteria that cause vaginal odor.
5. Restore the natural flora of your vagina.
Lactobacilli keep the unfriendly bacteria that cause feminine odor in check. Probiotics and prebiotics can boost lactobacilli so that they have a better chance of growing and crowding out the unfriendly bacteria that cause feminine odor. Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel is pH- and salt balanced with 1% of lactic acid, which Bio-Matches the optimal levels for vaginal lactobacilli, supporting its growth and restoring its natural balance. Women have also reported improvement in chronic BV symptoms after introducing an oral probiotic. Invest in a high-quality probiotic for feminine odor with robust Lactobacillus strains.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes, less is more. Remember that when the flora is healthy, the vagina is an automatic, self-cleaning organ. Too much intervention is often the source of the problem rather than the solution!