What’s that Smell ???

It is normal for every woman’s vagina to have a unique smell. Becoming familiar with the healthy smell of your vagina can help you determine when there is a problem. Changes in vaginal smell occur throughout the menstrual cycle but can also result from yeast infections, sexually transmitted infections, Trichomoniasis, or Bacterial Vaginosis.

Vaginal discharge is clear or milky white when a female is not on her period. During menstruation, this discharge keeps the vagina clean. Healthy vaginal discharge thickens and increases when you are sexually stimulated, when you are breastfeeding, or when you ovulate.

The female body has a natural method of cleansing itself and does not need the aid of douches or scented sprays. The use of scented sprays can irritate the vaginal area and cause a disturbance in the vagina’s pH balance. Cleaning the vagina with unscented soap on a daily basis is a good hygiene practice. Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths or sprays and make sure to pat the vaginal area dry with a clean towel. Scented tampons, sanitary napkins and toilet tissue are not good to use either. Bacteria grows in wet, warm, and closed areas so avoid wearing wet clothes or wet bathing suit for an extended period of time.

As you learn the healthy smells of your body, you will be able to tell if there are health risks present. Strong, fishy odors and discolored discharge are signs that there may be a problem. Seeking medical consultation can help you determine the cause and what treatment is necessary to ensure your health.

Trichomoniasis is a parasite that is usually contracted from having sexual intercourse with another individual who is infected. The infection may be present without symptoms. The symptoms include vaginal discharge with a strong odor, mild vaginal bleeding, itching and irritation. Men and women are vulnerable to the infection. Men may experience burning during urination or discharge from the urethra. Trichomoniasis can be prevented with proper use of a latex condom during sexual intercourse and STI screenings for both partners before they engage in sexual intercourse.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an abnormally large amount of bacteria that are usually found in the vagina. The symptoms include a strong fishy odor, pain, burning during urination, grey or yellow discharge, itching or vaginal redness. However, woman may not experience symptoms at all. BV is not considered an STI although it exists at higher rates among women who are sexually active. It can be treated with a prescription oral or topical medication and it is usually unnecessary to have a male partner treated for BV. BV may also go away without medication but women who are pregnant especially need treatment because BV could cause premature birth or low birth weight.

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