*This is a collaborative post
No matter how sophisticated or worldly some women claim to be, most will agree that something about their vaginal discharge is sometimes embarrassing. One morning they may find themselves waking up with an unpleasant smell, sometimes accompanied by unusual colouration and texture. Often times this can lead to panic over the possibility of catching a disease, but the truth is there are normal reasons for these changes in their body which do not require seeking medical attention – however, if you experience any abnormal symptoms such as vaginal bleeding please consult a doctor immediately.
The reason a woman might notice a change in her vaginal odour or discharge is due to bacterial vaginosis (BV). Bacterial vaginosis happens when bacteria builds up inside the vagina causing it to become less acidic than usual. This causes the naturally occurring healthy bacteria to die and allows harmful bacteria to grow to cause a foul smell or greenish-grey vaginal discharge. BV is most common in women without a bacterial infection and can sometimes be sexually transmitted. Although rare, it can cause serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility if left untreated.The good news is that with some basic changes in lifestyle you can reduce your risk of BV.
Another common vaginal health concern is that of yeast infections which are caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina. Symptoms include itchiness, swelling, pain during sex and sensations similar to burning or itching around the genital area. One main difference between vaginal BV and yeast infection is that it’s more common for women with a yeast infection to have a white discharge rather than a greenish-grey one. Fortunately, both types of infections can be treated with a variety of medications including over-the-counter creams or oral antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor.
Women should worry about vaginal odour when the smell is strong, curdled, or bloody. If you experience any abnormal symptoms such as vaginal bleeding please consult a doctor immediately.
Why do women worry about this topic so much?
All women fear that their vagina may smell or have unusual colouration and texture. When this happens, they fear it could be a sign of a serious health problem that makes them worry about vaginal odour.
What should we do to prevent vaginal odour?
You can reduce your risk of bacterial vaginosis by decreasing stress; eating more fruits, vegetables and fibre; exercising regularly; drinking plenty of water; avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine; practising safe sex; wearing cotton undergarments like boxer shorts instead of tight-fitting underwear. If you have frequent bouts with BV bring this up at your next gynaecological appointment so they can prescribe the proper medication.
What other advice would you give a woman who has experienced vaginal odour?
If you have frequent bouts with this problem bring it up with your doctor. Since both types of infections can be treated with over-the-counter creams or oral antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor, there is no need to stress about it unless the smell becomes extremely strong or abnormal. If that happens please consult a doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. While it is true that there are many causes for vaginal odour, the most common being bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, with a few lifestyle changes most women can feel confident about themselves without worrying too much about what’s going on down there. And lastly, if you’re not sure what’s going on down there don’t stress too much since 50% of all females will experience at least one yeast infection in their lives.
Bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections are the most common causes of vaginal odour. Women should consult a doctor if they have abnormal symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or strong vaginal odour. They can decrease their risk of bacterial vaginosis by eating more fruits, vegetables and fibre; exercising regularly; drinking plenty of water; avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine; practising safe sex; wearing cotton undergarments like boxer shorts instead of tight-fitting underwear; reducing stress, and lastly, women should not worry about this topic unless it becomes extremely serious to prevent unnecessary stress and anxiety.