If you've been wondering “how to make my vagina smell better”, you're not alone. We’ve all been there before. You’re going about your day and start to notice an odd smell coming from…well, down there. It may not be overwhelming, and it may not be particularly bad, it may smell like sweat, or it may be a bit musty. It’s not necessarily alarming, yet it’s…just embarrassing.
So, what’s causing this type of feminine odor? The quest for understanding “how to make my vagina smell better” isn’t always a simple or straightforward one. Sometimes, there are multiple factors coming into play. The good news is, this problem is more common than you think, and it’s nothing to be worried about.
Plus, there are plenty of solutions that can help you get rid of this odor for good—and we’re here to help.
Before you dive into the “why” behind feminine odor, you need to have a full understanding of what feminine odor really is.
So, What is Feminine Odor?
For those seeking answers to “how to make my vagina smell better”, it's essential to know that a change in the smell down there can vary due to numerous factors, like your menstrual cycle. However, hygiene habits are one of the most common reasons for differing smells. This area is not only prone to different odors, but it’s also near the groin which contains a number of sweat glands.
Feminine odors vary, but they are usually due to some type of vaginal pH imbalance. While there are some odors that clearly come within the vagina, and may require a visit to your OB-GYN, there are other odors that develop down there—and that can be embarrassing, and difficult to treat.
With so many factors coming into play, it’s important to learn to differentiate the types of feminine odor and determine not only where the smell is coming from, but why it’s happening and what you can do to keep that embarrassing odor at bay.
To get to the root of the issue, we’re going to have to get up close and personal about the ins and outs of embarrassing feminine odor.
Now let’s take a closer look at why you may be smelling a little off between your legs.
1. You’re Wearing the Wrong Underwear
Let’s start with a simple and straightforward problem—the wrong underwear.
In many cases, your underwear is one of the biggest culprits of feminine odor. If you want to make sure you’re smelling and feeling fresh down there, make sure to wear cotton underwear. Cotton is a more breathable fabric, and it won’t trap moisture or sweat between your legs.
You may wonder “Why does my vagina smell differently when wearing certain underwear?” When you wear undergarments made of synthetic fibers it can trap in heat and sweat down there which can lead to excess moisture and a bit of a funky smell. Synthetic underwear may also trap in vaginal discharge which can lead to fungal yeast infections, one of the causes of vaginal odor, which bring odors of their own.
Another underwear mistake? Wearing thongs too often. Many gynecologists notice an issue with individuals who regularly wear thongs. This underwear has the “floss” nickname for good reason, as it actually acts like a rope on a pulley shifting bacteria from your front side to your back. This might be what causes unusual vaginal odor in some cases. They can also increase your risk of irritation and yeast infection—meaning even more unwanted smells.
If you're wondering how to get rid of vaginal odor, make sure you wear breathable underwear daily. You won’t only smell better, but you’ll feel more comfortable as well.
2. You Need Better Hygiene Habits During Your Period
Ah, the monthly visitor. Every woman knows that your period brings a number of complications, and unwanted feminine odor. If you aren’t practicing proper hygiene during this time, it can lead to unfamiliar, and unwanted vaginal smell. What helps with vaginal odor during menstruation? The first thing you should ensure is a little extra cleaning. You can shower or take a bath during your time of the month.
You should wash the exterior area, but you don’t need to wash the inside of the vagina. Our bodies are clever, and you don’t need to worry about douching or washing away the healthy vaginal flora that your body produces on purpose.
If you've been contemplating how to prevent feminine odor during your cycle, ensure that you change your feminine products regularly. You should change pads every four hours and tampons every four-to-eight hours. Otherwise, you can start developing extra bacterial growth that can lead to infections.
3. You’re not wiping properly
It’s time to get a little personal, but when it comes to feminine hygiene, your issues may be with your wiping habits. “How to make my vagina smell better” after using the restroom? Consider your wiping technique.
Stop and think about your wiping habits after you go to the bathroom. If you fail to get really dry down there, you might accidentally be trapping unnecessary moisture, leading to a scenario where you're thinking, “why does my vagina smell like this”?
To be frank, leftover urine droplets can lead to odor. So, let’s get back to basics and talk about the best way to clean those privates after you pee.
- To clean with tissue paper, grab more than one piece of soft tissue paper and wipe from front to back (the opposite way can spread harmful bacteria). Make sure the area is completely dry before you redress.
- You can also use a bidet, but make sure that you dry yourself off completely without a towel and not your hand.
- Avoid soap after urinating if possible. Soaps with harsh chemicals and fragrances can irritate the vulva and disrupt your natural pH levels, potentially leading to what causes feminine odor in many.
- Remember after cleaning you’ll want to clean your vulva, or the outer part of the genitals including the labia, urethra and clitoris. You do not need to clean your vagina after urinating.
Remember, bacteria needs warmth and moisture to grow, so keeping the area clean and dry.
Proper wiping techniques are important, but what about intimate wet wipes?
These can be a safe and effective alternative to toilet paper, but just make sure that you are choosing products that are free from alcohol and fragrance and have balanced pH levels. Otherwise, these ingredients can irritate your skin.
4. You Have a Health Issue Causing Excess Sweat Down There
Feminine odor often arises from innocuous situations. However, there might be underlying health issues causing crotch sweat. If you are experiencing excess sweat down there for no apparent reason, then it’s time to get to the bottom of this issue. Most of the time, feminine odor comes from fairly innocuous situations. However, in some situations, there can be other health issues causing crotch sweat.
If you’re sweating in the groin, crotch or inner thighs, it’s going to cause sweat and you’ll need a feminine antiperspirant. However, you’ll also need to get to the root of the issue.
Here are some of the most common medical reasons for excess sweat in this area:
- Menopause or other changes in hormone levels
- Low blood sugar
- Diabetes which can cause night sweats or other sweat issues
- Hormone shifts from pregnancy
- Anxiety disorders or stress
- Diaphoretic or sweat-causing medications
- Hyperhidrosis, or a family history or hyperhidrosis
If you can’t seem to figure out the root cause of sweating in this area, make sure to visit your doctor right away with questions.
5. You Need to Trim Your Pubic Hair
What helps with vaginal odor when it comes to pubic hair? Proper maintenance down there isn’t always everyone’s favorite task, but it’s one that can help you feel and smell more comfortable. If your pubic hair gets too long and unruly, it can actually create an environment that will trap in moisture, bacteria and unwanted odors. Long pubic hair can hold on to other bodily fluids, urine, blood or discharge.
Bacteria can cling to pubic hair, and at times, which can actually be a good thing. As it can prevent an overgrowth of yeast. However, when excess bacteria mixes with the sweat and oil trapped on your pubic hair, it can produce an unwanted smell. Wondering “how to make my vagina smell better?” You don't necessarily have to remove all your hair, but trimming can reduce the areas where bacteria and bodily fluids linger. Consider using products to control moisture and address how to prevent feminine odor to minimize such reactions.
6. Something You Ate Is Throwing You Off
Your diet affects numerous aspects of your health, including how to prevent feminine odor in your intimate areas. While sweating in the area is a normal part of your body’s heat regulation, excess sweat can be a problem and cause discomfort, irritation—and of course, odor.
Want to know how to get rid of feminine odor? Maintain a balanced bacterial environment. Consuming too much sugar can disrupt this balance, potentially leading to vaginal yeast, bacterial infections, and odors.
Processed foods might compromise your immune system, causing infections and issues in your private areas. Moreover, spicy foods can intensify sweating throughout your body, impacting all sweat glands in your intimate region. Artificial hormones in certain meats and dairy products can also result in hormonal imbalances affecting sweat and odor down there.
The solution? A balanced diet, adequate water intake, and reduced spice consumption promote a healthier, low-odor intimate area.
7. You’re Simply Not Bathing Enough
Are you wondering “how to make my vagina smell better?” Your bathing habits are a significant factor. If you're battling persistent odor, you might not be cleaning enough. Make sure that you are not only bathing regularly, but that you are cleaning between your legs as well.
Remember the vagina itself cannot sweat, but the area around your genital can. Females have a high concentration of apocrine sweat glands in this area, which is why excess sweat can happen and lead to bacterial vaginosis and vaginal yeast infections. So, you need to clean this area regularly, just like you clean your armpits (which also have lots of those sweat glands).
If you find that you are bathing regularly but still struggle with odors, then you may need to add a feminine deodorizing product to your cleaning and bathing habits. Do not use talcum powders. There is still a lot of research to be done on talcum powders in the genitals and cancer. Instead, get a real deodorizing or antiperspirant product that is safe and natural.
8. You Aren’t Showering After Your Workouts
Squeezing a workout into your busy schedule is typically enough of a challenge, but you also need to make sure that you’re making enough time to shower after that workout. It may sound a little gross or embarrassing, but we’ve all been there before. You rush out of a quick sweat-sesh or Pilates and don’t have time to shower right away.
However, this innocent little decision can lead to plenty of trapped moisture down there and some unpleasant odor to boot. This is where your showering comes in. We’ve already talked about all of those sweat and odor glands down there and if you’re working out, chances are you’re going to sweat between your legs. Now, if you let that sweat be and then trap it inside a pair of leggings—that’s going to cause a lot of unwanted odors.
What’s worse is the longer you keep those clothes on, the more of a warm and damp environment you’re going to have to create even more unwanted sweat, odor and bacteria.
If a full shower isn't feasible, use a feminine odor eliminator or deodorizing product to mitigate odor and moisture for the remainder of the day. (we’ll have more on that later).
9.You’re Wearing Pads or Panty Liners
While pads and panty liners serve their purpose during menstruation or unexpected leaks, they don’t always help in keeping feminine odor at bay.
We’ve already discussed the importance of changing your pads and panty liners regularly during your period, but it’s about more than the potential bacteria trapped beneath your clothing. Pads and pantry liners aren’t breathable, and they can trap heat and moisture in your crotch area, causing discomfort and unwanted odor.
If you must use a panty liner, make sure to find one that is made of 100 percent cotton, which is naturally moisture-wicking and pair it with cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing. This combination will help keep unnecessary sweating and odor build-up under control.
Is It Just Feminine Odor or Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Sometimes, when feminine odor is accompanied by other symptoms, it can mean there is a more serious issue going on. If you not only experience odor, but unfamiliar discharge, irritation, itching or burning, you may have a STI, STD or another type of infection. When this happens, it is important to see your gynecologist right away.
If you are worried about unusual smells, then make sure to keep track of what type of odor you are noticing. This can help your doctor determine the root cause of your issue. Here are some of the most common types of vaginal odors and what they can mean.
- Body odor: Sometimes, things down there smell skunky, like good old-fashion B.O. Many times it's just sweat and may come from an excess of stress or anxiety.
- Tangy or fermented: If things smell like sour beer, there’s no need to worry, you’re just dealing with a little extra acidity. This usually happens to prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria. If it’s too pungent or overwhelming, then it may be time for a trip to the doctor.
- Sweet: If things start to smell like syrup, then chances are it’s another issue with bacteria and will likely reside on its own.
- Coppery: If it smells metallic or like a penny between your legs, it could be from light bleeding after sex or from your period. Make sure you aren’t experiencing abnormal bleeding.
- Chemical smells: If you smell like someone just bleached a bathroom, then pay a little more attention. It could just be a urine build up or it could be bacterial vaginosis. If it’s the latter, then this smell may border on fishy and come with itchy, burning and discharge.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between feminine odor and a serious health issue, and most women will notice the pain and discomfort before they notice a smell. If you are unsure about issues that you’re experiencing, always see a doctor to be safe.
Tips On How to Fix Feminine Odor
So, we’ve talked about all of the little things that you may accidentally do that could lead to your issue with vaginal odor, but now it’s time to get to the good part—how to fix it! The right products mixed with the right tips and tricks can make sure you never have issues with unwanted feminine odor.
Understanding the causes of vaginal odor is the first step. Next comes addressing it. Here's how:
- Practice good hygiene habits: Chances are, you noticed a theme with our list of feminine odor causes—hygiene is often the problem. So, keep an extra eye on your hygiene habits.
- Try probiotics: While there is still more research needed on the topic of probiotics, if your feminine odor has to do with your diet, then probiotics can help.
- Wash your underwear properly: You should be changing your underwear every day, or whenever your underwear is sweaty, moist or soiled. When you wash your underwear, make sure to wash with gentle, unscented products.
- Always urinate and clean yourself after sex: This is another culprit that can cause unwanted odors, moisture and bacteria.
- Use a washcloth between showers: Gently wipe down there between showers if you notice a faint smell in between bathing sessions.
- Change your clothing: If you’re noticing a little more odor than usual, change your clothing and opt for looser fitting garments instead of tight-fitting clothing that traps in odors and doesn’t let you breathe.
- Try a deodorizing product: The best way to attack odor head on is to get a natural product that cleanses and deodorizes the area to get rid of the source of the odor. This includes products like Super Fresh Lady Parts. These products are designed to prevent issues with swampiness and odor.
The most important thing to remember is that in order to really fix feminine odor, you need to get to the root of the issue. You should use sprays or fragrances down there to cover up unwanted smells. This won’t fix the issue. You should never use fragrances directly on skin in this area either as it can lead to serious irritation in this sensitive area, you need to get to the root of the problem.
Feminine odor is no laughing matter, and it’s something that can seriously impact your confidence. Make sure that unwanted odor doesn’t get you down and take control of your feminine scent once and for all. For more insights on “how to make my vagina smell better?”, check out more from our blog.