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Vaginas Behaving Badly: The Odor

We all know vaginal flora typically doesn’t smell like flowers. Vaginal smells are natural, healthy and diverse. However, they can also be an indication that something isn’t quite right… Our vagina: Hey, is now a bad time? Us: I’m 34 repetitions into a 1,000 squat challenge so it’s not great… Okay, good! I need you […]

By Aurelie | 16 April 2020
Illustration of three masked girls

We all know vaginal flora typically doesn’t smell like flowers. Vaginal smells are natural, healthy and diverse. However, they can also be an indication that something isn’t quite right… Our vagina: Hey, is now a bad time? Us: I’m 34 repetitions into a 1,000 squat challenge so it’s not great… Okay, good! I need you to be totally honest about something. … but sure, go ahead. I might be totally paranoid but I’ve noticed what you may call a “smell” and there’s a chance it might be coming from me. But smells are totally natural, we both know better than that… Sure sure but this time it’s kind of different, there’s a, say, fishy quality to it… Now that you mention it, I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling itchier than normal as of late. And that didn’t raise any concern? You always go through moods and phases, and you always grow out of them. You’re good at self-regulation. Well sadly this doesn’t look like a phase, that discharge from the past couple of days hasn’t looked too good. Now that you mention it…  Yep!  I don’t get it though, I’m super big on hygiene, as you know… Well, exactly, perhaps a little too big… Douching? Rookie mistake.  But it felt necessary after “the incident”.  Refresh my memory? It’s only the hottest thing that happened to us this month. Remember how XXX wanted to throw in a little anal play during that last oral fest?  Well, you do enjoy that a lot… And that’s not the point. And it started out really well: Yasmin, all the lube… Nice! But then as things escalated they obviously got confused because out of the blue they shoved lovely little Yasmin up you. No prior cleaning… How inconsiderate, that’s the biggest no-no! Surely we all know that? I don’t know, they clearly got caught up in the moment. So anyway, I freaked out and that’s when the douching occured. I figured soap would limit any potential damage.  Well you only destroyed our flora, and that’s when things started going sour. Or actually, fishy in this particular instance… Fine, you’ve made your point. Now can I get on with those squats?  Why don’t you schedule an appointment instead? Just mention you very probably (and very stupidly) gave yourself bacterial vaginosis and that your vagina wants a full professional opinion. So bossy… And you might as well do it now, you clearly sound like you need a break. And I’m getting sweaty, And you’re wearing Lycra gear… Are you purposefully trying to make things worse? I just can’t win with you, can I? Fine, I’ll stop and make that call… Doing even just a couple of squats when your very overbearing vagina is having a go at you? Now that’s a challenge!

SEXUAL HEALTH TAKEAWAYS

Vaginal smells are completely natural.

There are different factors that can affect the smell of healthy vagina: period, sex, a change in pH levels that can result in a sweet or tangy smell.

Good bacteria is fundamental; foreign bacteria is detrimental.

Cultivating your vaginal flora implies a few simple gestures: implement a good hygiene routine that isn’t too aggressive (avoid douching unless advised to do so by a professional); limit synthetic underwear as much as possible and don’t overuse pantyliners; avoid contamination from anal bacteria by banning anal to vaginal sex without a change of condom. Always keep your toy spotlessly clean, especially after using it anally.

A strong vaginal odor can be an indication of bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Symptoms include: a fishy or foul odor; unusual discharge, generally white, grey or even green; vaginal itching; a burning sensation during urination. If you notice one or more of the above, it’d be a good time to give your gynaecologist a call.

Vaginitis is a broader term that encompasses a range of vaginal irritations.

They generally include BV, yeast infections and trichomoniasis. A foul vaginal smell observed alongside other symptoms could also be an indicator of another STI. Be safe and smart in your choices, get tested if you’re unsure and talk to a health professional you trust.

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