Vaginal Odor: What Can I Do For Feminine Odor?

Saima Andrabi   by Saima Andrabi, MS, Clinical Biochemistry    Last updated on April 19, 2021,

vaginal odor

Vagina Odor

Are you worried because your vagina smells? Vaginal odor in women is not very uncommon. This may be due to an infection. But it is not always due to an infection. It may be due to what you eat and drink, due to stresses or because of personal hygiene.

Infections of the vagina may cause your vagina to smell bad. Common infections that cause smelly vagina are bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia, and trichomonas infections.

Is it normal for vagina to smell?

There could be a variety of ways in which vagina can smell. It’s difficult to say the normal vagina smell you should have. Vaginal odor can change with your daily activities and personal hygiene. Some of them are common.

However, there are some abnormal vaginal odor too that indicate a problem requiring treatment. For example, if the vagina smells like rotten eggs or discharge smells like fish, it should be considered an abnormal smell.

Some women may have a different vaginal odor after sexual intercourse or after eating certain foods, after a stressful day, due to excessive sweating, or because of an infection in the vagina.

Tips to get rid of vaginal odor

The food you eat, personal hygiene, and other factors can affect the natural fragrance of vagina. It's neither safe nor healthy to attempt to eliminate the vagina's smell. If you do so, it can lead to infections that can cause an unpleasant smell.

Listed below are some strategies that can help reduce vaginal odor safely.

Practice hygiene

Safe, gentle vaginal hygiene practices can reduce vaginal odor. Some steps you can take are:

  • Urinate immediately after you have sexual intercourse.
  • Wash underwear in unscented products.
  • Take bath after exercise as trapped sweat can increase vaginal odor.
  • Wash the vulva with water if there is an unpleasant odor.
  • Wipe front to back to prevent fecal matter from getting into your vagina.
  • Use a fragrance-free soap on the vulva only. Do not insert soap into the vagina as it can alter vaginal pH, causing infections.
  • Change underwear daily.

Choose the right clothing

Your clothing can trap small particles in or around the vagina such as:

  • sweat
  • skin particles
  • semen from intercourse
  • dust
  • discharge

If you wear very tight-fitting cloth, it can be a problem. Avoid wearing shapewear and tight-fitting thong underwear.

Eat a healthful diet

Strong-smelling foods might also cause the vagina to smell bad. For example, onions, coffee, and other strong-smelling foods can change the smell of your vagina by changing the smell of sweat and body fluids.

Drink plenty of water. If you keep well-hydrated, your body will prevent bacterial growth.

Consider a pH product

Over-the-counter (OTC) products may be helpful for restoring your vagina’s natural pH. But if this does not help or if the vagina smell becomes worse, see your doctor. You may require a different product.

Consider probiotics

Probiotics contain good bacteria and can help maintain the pH balance in your vagina. Probiotic foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and unpasteurized sauerkraut should be added to the meals.

Try essential oils

Some evidences suggest that tea tree oil, a type of essential oil, helps eliminate vaginal odor. This essential oil has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which may be helpful in reducing bacteria. However, this treatment does not have sufficient medical support.

Do not douche

When you force water or a cleaning agent in your vagina, you can remove the healthy bacteria from your vagina and contribute to an infection into your uterus, which can still make the condition worse.

Take a hot salt and vinegar bath

This is a natural remedy.  Add half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of salt in a warm bath. Soak yourself in the salt and vinegar bath to help eliminate the odor. This will restore the normal pH of your vagina.

Medical treatment

Medical treatments can help eliminate the underlying cause of the odor. If your home or OTC treatments do not help, you should seek an appointment with your doctor.

Saima Andrabi

Saima Andrabi is a clinical biochemist and is passionate about driving knowledge platforms for creating health awareness in the general public. She pursued her master’s degree in clinical biochemistry from University of Kashmir, Srinagar followed by an internship from National Institute of pathology, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include molecular biology, immunology, medical physiology and forensic medicine. Saima is very much interested in writing medical content and wants to create awareness in public through this platform.


Currently, Saima Andrabi is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer.

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