The smell of the female vagina is soft and musky. It can change during the menstrual cycle, a new diet, pregnancy or menopause, after sexual intercourse or exercise. But if a strong vaginal odor is accompanied by alarming symptoms (itching, discharge, pain), then it is important not to delay the visit to the gynecologist. You can make an appointment with a doctor by calling +7 (499) 519-32-56 or online.
Types of vaginal odor and their symptoms
At the appointment, the doctor will first of all ask the patient: what is the nature of the smell, its intensity, what are the additional symptoms. There are several types of vaginal odor that signal health problems. Among them, two are most often distinguished:
If the vaginal area smells like fish, it could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, the most common infection in women of childbearing age. For a variety of reasons, the vaginal chemistry can be disrupted and harmful bacteria get out of control, causing a fishy odor. Sometimes, in addition to it, a woman experiences itching and burning, similar to those that occur with candidiasis.
Drug therapy and hygiene helps to cure the disease. It is not recommended to douche and use scented cosmetics or perfumes to care for the vagina. Although bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection, frequent partner changes can also upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina. It is equally important to monitor the safety of sexual relations.
- Sweet or beer
Due to rapidly growing fungi in the vagina, it can smell a little sweet, reminiscent of honey, beer, flour, bread, cookies. If these strange odors are accompanied by unpleasant symptoms, such as feeling dry, burning and itching, then this is most likely a sign of a yeast infection. If you do not make an appointment with a doctor in a timely manner, the disease may worsen, curdled discharge and discomfort will appear.
Today, many women prefer to treat such infections on their own, purchasing widely advertised medicines from pharmacies without consulting a doctor. But ignorance of the exact diagnosis and an incorrectly selected drug can only worsen the course of the disease. In order not to provoke the spread of yeast, it is important to keep the vagina dry.
Causes of vaginal odor
The reasons provoking vaginal odor include both diseases, infections, and quite ordinary situations and habits:
- Poor hygiene
Irregular showering or infrequent washing can lead to inflammation of the vaginal area, which can cause bad breath.
- Forgotten tampon
A very strong vaginal odor can occur if a woman forgets to remove the tampon in time. After removing it, the smell usually disappears. If this does not happen, this is an occasion to consult a doctor to prevent the development of an infection.
- Intense sweating
The skin around the vagina is prone to sweating, which also causes odor. It can intensify after a woman’s heavy physical exertion.
Some medications, especially antibiotics and herbal remedies, can change the smell of the vagina.
This sexually transmitted infection, unlike gonorrhea and chlamydia, is accompanied by a strong vaginal odor that resembles the smell of rotten fish.
- Rectovaginal fistula
This is an injury or abnormal passage between the vaginal wall and the rectum that allows fecal particles to enter the vagina, which can contribute to bad breath. Such a pathology can be congenital or acquired due to injuries during childbirth and various diseases.
- Cancer of the cervix or vagina
The development of malignant tumors in the female genital organs is also often accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
- Diet change
There are studies showing that diet can affect vaginal odor. For example, foods such as coffee, onions, asparagus and some spices can change it.
- Hormonal changes
Hormonal drugs, birth control pills, and vaginal creams can also cause vaginal odor. Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, or menstruation are another potential cause of vaginal odor.
When is a doctor’s appointment required?
Any type of vaginal odor that worries a woman needs attention. In some cases, it disappears with regular observance of basic hygiene rules. But sometimes the smell does not go away, and additional unpleasant symptoms begin. An appointment with a doctor and an examination of the body are needed if the smell:
- permanent or prolonged (more than 3-4 days),
- accompanied by symptoms such as itching, burning, discharge or skin irritation.
Methods for getting rid of vaginal odor will depend on its cause. You may have to undergo a series of medical procedures, drink a course of antibiotics and other drugs.
Basic odor protection measures
To prevent unpleasant odor from the vagina, you need to follow a number of simple rules:
- wear high-quality cotton underwear and clothes that are true to size to prevent skin irritation and excessive sweating,
- change clothes immediately after training and active physical activity,
- control body weight
- follow the rules of hygiene by washing the vagina with warm water and soap without strong fragrances,
- avoid foods that increase vaginal odor
- use toilet paper correctly, wiping the body from the vagina to the anus, and not vice versa,
- dry the groin area thoroughly after showering and avoid spending long periods of time in wet underwear: yeast thrives in humid environments,
- include probiotic foods in the diet or take probiotic supplements to balance the bacteria in the body,
- Avoid feminine sprays and groin creams that can cause irritation
- avoid douching: it removes good bacteria from the vagina along with harmful bacteria, which can change the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, increase the risk of infection and lead to various health problems.
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Olfactory system. 2. Genetics of odor perception in normal and pathological conditions / Mglinets V.A. // medical genetics — 2011 — Vol. 10 No. 3(105)
Obstetrics / Ed. Savelieva G.M. — 2000