Sex Ed
Sex Ed

5 Reasons Why a Vulva May Smell Different

by Teela Hudak 12 months ago in sexual wellness

What you need to know!

5 Reasons Why a Vulva May Smell Different

A vulva is a complex system. It has its own pH balance and produces its own healthy bacteria and fluids that naturally clean the vagina. Everyone has their own natural odor that they give off, but sometimes that odor can be different or unpleasant. There are a number of things that could impact the smell of a vulva. Depending on what a person is experiencing, they should consult a medical professional. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to check in with a medical professional to make sure it's nothing serious.

1. Hygiene

It's no secret that people sweat. When we get warm, we sweat from a variety of areas on our bodies to release heat and help cool us down. The crotch, like the armpits, is one of the areas where sweat is released. Sweating in our groin can be intensified by the kind of clothes and fabrics we wear as well. If we are wearing tight clothing and fabrics that don't breathe, this can trap in sweat, bacteria, and bad smells.

The smells of the vulva can also be impacted by the kinds of soaps and cleaning products that we use. Some soaps can upset the pH balance in the vagina, or they can clean away the natural good bacteria that the vulva needs. When these balances are thrown off, it can cause a funny smell.

2. Diet Can Affect Smell

When we eat certain foods, any strong odors associated with those foods tend to come out in our sweat. Garlic, asparagus, and other similar foods that are known for putting off a strong smell can impact how we smell. While some will argue there is no scientific evidence to support this, there is a history of anecdotal evidence that suggests that it does make a difference.

If you are noticing a strong unpleasant smell with a few meals of unhealthy foods, try switching up the diet for a few days. If this doesn't help, consider checking in with a medical professional.

3. The Menstruation Cycle

At different times throughout the month, the vulva can give off some different smells depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle. Throughout the month, the body will release different hormones. These changes can change the type of smell the vulva releases.

Another thing to remember is that if tampons are used during that time of the month, to ensure that all tampons are properly removed in a timely fashion. A buildup of menstrual blood from a tampon left in too long can result in an unpleasant smell, and can potentially develop into an infection.

4. An Active Sex Life

Some types of condoms, lube, spermicides, and toys can interfere with the pH balance of a vulva. Every person will be different, so some brands may impact people differently. Be sure to pay attention to any irritation that comes from anything used during your sexual adventures. Is there any irritation? Did you notice a smell or any discomfort in the days following?

Unusual smells can also come from having unprotected penile-vaginal sex. The natural semen of one person can interact with the natural bacteria in the vagina, and cause an unusual smell.

5. Infections

There are a few different infections that could cause an unusual and unpleasant smell. Infections could range from a yeast infection to a sexually transmitted infection like trichomoniasis. Infections will often, but not always, come with other symptoms. A person experiencing an infection may also experience a sense of burning, itching, or vaginal discharge.

If you suspect that an infection is present, it's important to follow up with a medical professional as soon as possible. Depending on the type of infection present, the treatment required, and the possible impacts on your health will vary depending on what type of infection it is. It's much better to safeguard your health and get checked out, and get the problem taken care of sooner.

Increase Your Vulva Knowledge

One of the best ways we can improve our sex life is by increasing our knowledge about sexual health and anatomy. This knowledge can be shared with partners, friends, family, and anyone else important in your life. Even if you don't have a vulva yourself, it's important to know about them. The more knowledge that is common, the better the chance that we can catch any health issues before they become serious. Share this article with your circles today. What do you know about vulva health?

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sexual wellness
Teela Hudak
Teela Hudak
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Teela Hudak

Teela is a Vancouver-based Sex Educator & Relationship Expert. Learn more at:

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