Q: Good evening Doctor. Any time I am having sex with my husband, he complains that he is perceiving an odour from my vagina. What is the cause and the remedy to the odour? Thanks
Some degree of vaginal odour is common with all women. The vagina has a natural musky smell. In the same way, some degree of discharge is also normal as the glands in the vagina and cervix produce fluid which wash away dry, dead cells and flush out bacteria. A strong vaginal odour which appears different from normal especially when associated with other symptoms like a burning sensation, itching, discharge etc may be suggestive of a problem…some more easily solved than others.
Poor vaginal hygiene. This can be easily remedied by washing the vagina daily with or without soap (if soap is used, unscented or mildly scented soap should be used) and loads of water, not douching, cleaning from the front to the back etc. Vaginal odour may also be more pronounced during a menstrual period and after sexual intercourse. And so, more frequent baths (as much as practicable) during and/or before these periods may be helpful. Frequent change of sanitary towels and tampons are also helpful measures. Forgotten tampons are actually a cause of vaginal odour.
For more on vaginal hygiene, please click on the links below:https://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/04/02/daily-health-tips-should-i-wash-my-intimates-with-disnfectant/
A fishy smell associated with vaginal discharge is suggestive of overgrowth of the vagina by bacteria (bacterial vaginosis). This may be caused by over use of antibiotics or douching.
Douche is a French word which means to clean or soak. People who douche usually inject/spray a mixture of water and vinegar into their vagina. Other douches contain antiseptics and fragrance too. They believe that douching serves one or more of the following functions:
- Cleaning the vagina
• Cleaning out menstrual blood after a period
• Prevent pregnancy
• Prevent STIs
• Get rid of odour
Unfortunately, douching serves none of those purposes and indeed, may even be harmful.
To clean the vagina during or after a menstrual period, one does not really need anything other than water. Mild, unscented soap may also be used on the outside. Douching disturbs the natural balance between the good and bad bacteria which live in the vagina, causing other organisms like yeasts to over grow the vagina. So avoid this and other scented feminine hygiene products.
Douching does not prevent pregnancy as loads of sperm may have already swum up to the womb before douching is done, after sexual intercourse. In fact, for those that may not have reached the womb (uterus), the force of douching may very well help deposit the sperm firmly in the uterus😀 Talk about a boomerang!
STIs cannot be prevented by douching. In fact, if anything, if there is a vaginal infection, douching can actually push it all the way up to the fallopian tubes, potentially. These may lead to pregnancy complications in baby, labor and indeed, preterm delivery.
In summary, leave douching well alone!😀
Yellow or greenish or frothy discharge with a bad smell with pain and itching while urinating is suggestive of trichomoniasis infection (a sexually transmitted infection)
Some cancers like cervical or vaginal cancer may also cause vaginal odour.
What’s the remedy? Well, if it’s due to lack of vaginal hygiene, that’s easily solved as noted above. If there are other associated symptoms which may suggest other problems, than a proper diagnosis needs to be made so that adequate treatment can be given. So, see a doctor asap.
In the meantime, vaginal hygiene is a good place to start. Try taking a nice leisurely bath before sexual intercourse and incorporate the other tips noted above.
I hope this helps.
Have a good night, y’all