How To Love Your Vagina (Is Vaginal Odor Normal?)
Did you know in the 1920’s women were advised to use Lysol as a feminine hygiene product?! Lysol, people!! It was advertised as a way to stay youthful and keep your marriage alive by having a clean, odorless vagina! Off market it was used as a way to prevent pregnancy prior to the legalization of birth control. Lysol contained an ingredient called cresol that was known to cause inflammation, burning and death. It harmed a number of women over the years before being pulled from market as a feminine hygiene product.
Is vaginal odor normal? Women have been trained to be concerned about or embarrassed by this question for centuries. There are many products on the market geared toward helping vaginas smell like sunshine and rainbows even though the medical community knows how harmful these products are to the normal flora of the vagina. When patients ask me if their vaginal odor is normal I first rule out the possibility of infection. Then we discuss how appropriate and healthy it is to have some vaginal odor because, hey just like men, we are human and humans smell because that’s what it means to be a living, breathing organism.
Why do you have vaginal odor? Between sweat, pheromones, bacterial growth and death, your vagina is bound to have a scent.
Your vagina is a self cleaning oven and is healthier when left alone. To keep your vaginal pH and bacterial growth optimal avoid feminine hygiene products like soaps, sprays, douches. Feminine hygiene products disrupts the balance of good bacteria and makes you more prone to yeast infections, bacterial vaginitis. And bacterial vaginitis makes your more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections. If you want you to keep your vagina extra happy take a probiotic, eat a healthy diet low in sugar, and just say no to hygiene products.
Although some scent is normal, there are a few abnormal odors that hint at infection:
-fishy odor with watery discharge
-sweet, beer like scent with clumpy white discharge -fishy odor with frothy discharge