Alright, ladies. Real talk. You cannot walk past the feminine hygiene aisle without seeing products that are covered in flowers and fragrances that are aimed at masking the fleshy smell of our lady bits and the itching that sometimes occurs with vaginal discharge or infections.
While we can appreciate the “scent”iment, the truth is that our vaginal odor is not only natural but helpful! In fact, it is a direct reflection of our pelvic health and any internal issues.
It can be tempting to want to use products that promise a pH potency, but we feel it’s best to simply educate you on the most common odors reported and their typical reasoning, while also addressing itching concerns and how to prevent them.
Your vagina is home to billions of bacteria that change daily and even hourly based on a host of hormones and other factors. Change is normal and with it, comes smell variations and sometimes a desire to scratch and itch. Here are the most common:
Ammonia. Though we may identify bleach and ammonia as scents that accompany a clean, sterile environment, this scent could definitely be a sign of trouble. Either the presence of urea, from urine by-product, could be the culprit or you could also be severely dehydrated.
Fishy. Almost always a sign of an infection or presence of bacteria is a fishy smell. Conditions, like bacterial vaginosis (BV), may be the reason behind the reek. You’ll undeniably want to get this foul odor checked out by a professional, especially when and if it involves itching and abnormal discharge.
Metallic. Ever smell what resembles iron or a similar metal-like smell? Typically, this is associated with your cycle because of the iron in the blood. As you are releasing the uterine lining, blood, and tissue, the iron within can create a scent that is potent but typically harmless.
Musky. Due to sweat glands, it is not uncommon for our below-the-belt area to have a fleshy, musky smell. It’s natural and can be chalked up to the temperatures, lack of moisture present, and tightness of clothing as well.
Skunk-like. Phew! What is that smell? Emotional stress. Straight outta the groin area, comes apocrine glands – the same glands that also dwell in your armpits. When stressed or nervous, the apocrine glands produce a milky fluid that is odorless, however, once that fluid makes contact with bacteria, it creates a potent “perfume”. When this is coupled with itching, it could mean there is an infection needing treatment.
Sweet. Well, wouldn’t we all like to have a sweet scent as our everyday emission of odor down below? However, the term “sweet” here doesn’t equate to the sweet scent of cake or cookies. Rather, this is a strong, earthy smell that is symbolic of bacteria. Again, likely nothing to worry about. Simply a natural scent on the spectrum of an ever-evolving bacteria ecosystem.
Tangy. Often a very sour or even fermented smell, like that of yogurt or sourdough bread, your vaginal odor could be hinting at acidity levels. Typically, a healthy vaginal pH balance is slightly more acidic naturally, ranging between a 3.8-4.5 level. This is actually representative of the good bacteria that is present to keep bad bacteria at bay.
So, how does one stay on top of these unique and ever-changing conditions? Monitoring your daily restroom breaks and observing any changes in secretions and scents is easy when you use Apele everyday panties, designed to catch those everyday occurrences. Simply keep an eye out for what’s on the protective layers of the crotch area.
Then, wondering when should you see a doctor? In general, abnormal odors should be easy to spot. If you know that your discharge is abnormal for you or off-putting, be sure to get it looked at by a healthcare professional.
If you are smelling something or have a desire to scratch profusely for comfort, your body is actually telling something. So take good care, down there, with everyday underwear!