Vaginal odor is a very common problem that affects women and teenage girls who have reached puberty. This article talks about the symptoms and causes of smelly discharge and/or excessive discharge.
The mucus membrane of the vagina, uterus, and cervix produces a clear or whitish fluid, and this is called as vaginal discharge. Its consistency and color depend on where you are on your monthly menstrual cycle. This discharge is usually odorless or may have a faint odor. . It provides lubrication, protects against irritation and infection, and keeps the vagina healthy. However, abnormal vaginal discharge that has a foul odor may be a cause for concern. There may also be a change in color, consistency, and/or a significant increase or decrease in quantity .
Vaginal Odor Symptoms
The symptoms of the feminine odor coming from your private parts vary among women The most common symptoms are:
- Excessive white discharge
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Metallic-smelling discharge
- Thick, white discharge
- Fishy smell
- Green or yellow discharge
- Itching or pain in the vagina
- Pain in the lower abdomen area
- Pain during intercourse
What Causes Of Vaginal Odor?
There are many factors that can lead to a change in your vaginal discharge and/or cause that foul odor down there. The following are the usual causes of various types of vaginal odor:
- Vaginal yeast infection resulting in thick, white discharge.
- Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis causing green, yellow, or gray discharge with a foul odor. This can also be accompanied by pain in the pelvic area.
- Bacterial infections (bacterial vaginosis) that result in that fishy, foul smell.
- Change in estrogen levels due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause.
- A forgotten tampon, which is producing the foul odor.
- Thongs! As tempting, colorful, and fancy as thongs may be, avoid wearing them. They can lead to irritation and excessive perspiration and odor. Wear cotton undergarments because your private parts need to breathe.
- Soap! Using too much soap in the vaginal area can cause dryness and lead to an imbalance in the production of natural chemicals, which leads to an unpleasant odor.
Others Six Vaginal Odor Causes
Vaginal odor causes are still being studied, but we know that there are many things that can cause vaginal odor. However, problematic vaginal odor is typically combined with other symptoms, such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.
Generally, if you have vaginal odor without some of these other vaginal symptoms, it’s unlikely that your vaginal odor is abnormal. Chlamydia, gonorrhea infections and yeast infections usually don’t cause vaginal odors — however, let’s review the possible causes.
1. Bacterial Vaginosis
The most common cause of vaginal odor is bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria. It has a high rate of recurrence, affecting nearly 30 percent of women who are in their reproductive years, and is associated with miscarriage, preterm birth, as well as the increased risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted infections. One of the biggest indicators of bacterial vaginosis is a “fishy” odor.
A study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University as part of Vaginal Microbiome Project was designed to investigate the relationships between the human microbiota composition, diet and health status. Visitors to Virginia Commonwealth University’s outpatient clinics enrolled in the study focusing on the understanding of the common structure in vaginal microflora and to identify differences due to bacterial imbalance and inflammation caused by bacterial vaginosis. This inflammation is still being studied, especially since there is no known reason as to why it develops, but it appears that certain activities, such as unprotected sexual intercourse or frequent douching, can put a woman at higher risk of this condition.
2. Poor Hygiene and Sweating
It should be no surprise that poor hygiene is a cause of vaginal odor. A sweaty groin area can definitely produce this embarrassing smell. It may seem obvious, but scientifically, the reason for this is because the external genitals have special glands called apocrine sweat glands, which are also found in the armpits, nipples, ear canals, eyelids and wings of your nostrils. These glands secrete an oily fluid that’s metabolized by bacteria on your skin, ultimately producing a noticeable smell.
3. Hormonal Changes
The University of California at Berkeley reports that vaginal secretions during menstruation and between ovulation and your next period may have a more unpleasant odor than during other parts of the cycle. Menopause may be a potential hormonal cause due to reduced estrogen levels causing the vaginal tissue to thin and become less acidic. Many women undergoing menopause may notice a smelly, watery vaginal discharge.
Wearing tight clothing or being overweight can create a bigger problem by trapping sweat and bacteria on the skin or in skin folds for those who may have excess weight.
Trichomoniasis is another common cause of vaginal odor and is a sexually transmitted infection. In fact, it’s the most common non-viral STD in the world. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite and can cause a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching and painful urination. Though men can have trichomoniasis, they typically have no symptoms.
Trichomoniasis can affect pregnant women, causing them to be at higher risk of delivering their babies prematurely. If you suspect a trichomoniasis infection, both you and your partner should be treated. Using condoms correctly every time you have sex can help reduce the risk of infection.
5. Was It Something I Ate?
There are a number of foods that can cause vaginal odor. Probably one of the most common odors in the vaginal area that we recognize from food comes from nutrient-rich asparagus! Yes, it’s true that what you had for dinner may affect vaginal odor, similar as to how it affects other parts of your body, such as your armpits, scalp, mouth and feet.
Research shows that foods with strong scents like pepper, garlic, onion, blue cheese, cabbage, asparagus, fish and broccoli tend to have the most impact. This can be an easy fix by simply eliminating that food and seeing if the odor goes away.
6. Retained or Forgotten Tampon
This pretty much falls into the category of poor hygiene and may seem bizarre, but this problem is more common than you may think. Awareness is crucial in taking good care of oneself, but it’s clear that the buildup of menstrual blood and bacteria can lead to irritation, itching and a strong, unpleasant-smelling discharge. If you find yourself in this predicament, a gynecologist can safely remove the tampon and treat any possible infection. Make sure you take the appropriate care needed.
Apart from the causes mentioned above, certain serious diseases can also be responsible for abnormal vaginal discharge and disgusting smell. These include cancer of the cervix or vagina. However, these conditions will be accompanied by pain and even vaginal bleeding. Click here to find Solution on how to get rid of abnormal vaginal discharge
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