Why does the vagina smell?
The vagina is a carefully balanced ecosystem of fluid (discharge) and bacteria meant to keep the vaginal PH at a healthy 4.5. This combination of fluid and bacteria that make up the vaginal discharge that can, at times, emit certain odors. Most of these odors are natural and normal, but there are times when excess odor can signal a problem.
So what is a “normal” amount of odor? After performing a very unscientific poll of all the gynecologist I know, we determined that one can smell a normal vagina from 1 foot away. More pungent odor or any associated with pain, burning or itching should prompt a visit to your provider.
Some common causes of vaginal odor include:
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) – The vagina is normally colonized with healthy bacteria, but if something disturbs the ecosystem, then unhealthy bacteria like BV can take over. BV is most commonly caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis. Symptoms include a thin grey, runny discharge and a strong fishy odor. The odor is more pungent when in contact with semen, so often women will first notice this as a strong odor after sex. BV is annoying and can increase your risk of other infections, but is easily treated with antibiotics.
Your Diet – The old adage “You are what eat” is true, all the way down to your lady bits. Garlic, onion, asparagus, and curry are few of the more odoriferous foods known to affect body odor. Continue…