Bad Vaginal Odor
Bad vaginal odor is a very common problem faced by women of almost every age. Vaginal Infections accounts for bad vaginal odor. Vaginal infections can be candida (thrush), trichomonas vaginalis and bacterial vaginosis (BV). These health problems can be effectively treated by the appropriate anti-biotic or anti-fungal medication. It is very much possible for the infection to occur again, even after the treatment. These infections are auto-manifested, which means that they can occur in an individual even without intercourse. This infection can be transmitted via sexual intercourse. If the vaginal area faces imbalance between "good" and "bad" bacteria.
It is believed that healthy vagina is a self regulating system, which is found to be cleaner than our mouth and rectum. Vaginal system is kept healthy by mutually advantageous relationship between the vagina and the micro-organism that inhibit it. In a healthy vagina, the lactobacilli is effective in maintaining an acidic environment, by maintaining a pH range of 3.8-4.5
Causes of Vaginal Odor
Vaginal discharge can be fishy smelling, which is often caused by bacterial vaginosis. It refers to the vaginal infection, resulting from imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, mainly due to the lack of normally occurring lactobacilli. Normal lactobacillus species, present in vaginal area, gets replaced by high concentration of other bacterial species such as Gardnerella vaginalis and Mycoplasma hominis. The reason for such bacterial imbalance is not well understood. It is commonly seen in females who douche very often or have health conditions that lower the normal amount of vaginal lactobacilli. These conditions can be among one of the following -
Certain other reasons which causes bacterial imbalance in the vagina leading to smelly conditions -
Insufficient Hygiene - Not having proper bath will cause foul smell in the vagina. It is not important to use heavily perfumed soaps or sprays in the genital area. Clean water is the best way to clean the vagina. Heavy use of perfumed products can lead to thrush.
Unhealthy State - Vaginosis can also be caused due to pelvic infections. Candida is the diseased state, in which vagina becomes very alkaline, which is due to excessive flourishing of not so good bacteria. Even pregnancy and post pregnancy changes, leading to change in hormonal level, can cause thrush.
Drugs - Certain oral contraceptive and antibiotics are also likely to contribute to the vaginosis.
Lower Level of Lactobacilli - Some women have less robust lactobacilli, which leave the vagina open for infection.
Douching - It is harmful for vagina. It destroys lactobacilli leaving the genitals open for the growth of harmful bacteria.
Sperm - Sperm are alkaline in nature when the enter the vaginal area. The vaginal area takes time to return to its acidic state, which can cause a brief increase in odor. Women having many sexual partners, makes the vagina more prone to vaginosis.
Solution for Vaginal Odor
Some basics for maintaining healthy vagina are mentioned below -
Do not douche - This can be avoided only when you are trying to conceive and trying to alter your vagina pH for better reasons. Avoid it as far as possible. Increase the number of lactobacilli in diet through increasing the intake of yoghurt or intake of acidophilus tablets.
Use of condoms - For women having multiple sex-partners, it is important to use condoms for avoiding chances of vaginosis and STD's.
Healthy Diet - Decrease the intake of sugar and include a good amount of yogurt and acidophilus in everyday's diet.
Cotton Undergarments - Cotton underwear allows good flow of air, thereby avoiding things getting too steamy down there.
Less use of perfumes on the genital area - The use of perfumes and spray in genital area must be avoided.