You know what they say: The vagina is the window to the soul. Wait, is that not right? Whatever the phrase may be, your vag is a crucial part of your anatomy that needs to be looked after correctly. All the little details matter — what kind of underwear you don in the morning, how you clean your vagina, and what kind of smells are coming from down there. Yes, we’re going to talk about smells, even if it doesn’t sound like the most pleasant conversation in the world.
Vaginal scents say a lot about your overall health. That’s why gynecologists recommend that we keep our noses in the loop in terms of what’s happening in our vaginas, because the smell could reflect what’s going on in the rest of our bodies. So don’t be shy! Get up close and personal with yourself. Your vag would really appreciate it – especially if you keep the following things in mind.
1. You have your own unique vaginal scent.
Your vagina should smell like something, so don’t freak out if you notice a slight odor coming from down there (and never let a partner tell you that it shouldn’t smell). HelloGiggles spoke with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a NY gynecologist, assistant clinical professor OBGYN, and author of V is for Vagina, who says, “Most women are pretty well-intuned with what their vagina scent typically is.”
There are a few different factors that determine what kind of smell you’re working with, such as genetics, how your body handles bacteria, your diet, and how much you sweat. It might be a good idea to get acquainted with what’s normal for you.
2. If your scent changes suddenly, there might be something wrong.
This is why you should know what your personal scent is, because if you notice a big change all of a sudden, Dr. Dweck reveals that you might want to consider visiting your OBGYN. It might be harmless, but it could be something more serious, like an infection of sorts.
3. Anything foul and fishy is not normal.
“A foul fishy odor typically signifies a bacterial imbalance,” Dr. Dweck tells HelloGiggles. Any time the ecosystem of your vagina gets out of whack and you experience a foul odor, that likely means you’re dealing with something like bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection, or trichomoniasis. None of these are going to ruin your life, but they do need some treatment. So speak to your OBGYN and see what kind of TLC you need to zap the infection.
4. If it smells bready, you may have a yeast infection.
Dr. Dweck says anything slightly sour-yet-sweet, with a yeasty tinge to it, can point to a yeast infection.
Yeast infections are pretty common, so you don’t have to worry too much about it, but just be sure you get the right treatment to take care of it. You don’t want to live with that discomfort any longer than you absolutely have to.
5. If your vag smells sweet, it could be because of something you ate.
Apparently pineapple makes your vagina smell candy-like, according to Dr. Dweck. This isn’t cause for concern, though, and, hey, it could be quite pleasant for your partner.
6. Perspiration has to do with your smell down there.
If you’ve had a long session at the gym and you’ve spent the rest of the day running errands in your sweaty workout clothes, the smell coming from your lady parts is bound to be a bit different.
Dr. Dweck says that lingering perspiration isn’t going to harm your vagina, but it’s never a good thing to trap all that moisture and sweat in your underwear. Change as soon as you’re done exercising, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
7. The strongest scent is that of a left-in tampon.
“The most putrid odor of all is a retained tampon,” Dr. Dweck says.
If you smell something extremely pungent coming from your vag, think back to the last time you inserted a tampon. You may have completely forgotten it was up there (you won’t be the first person it’s happened to). If that’s the case, immediately remove the tampon and go see your doctor to make sure no damage has been done.