Why Do I Like the Smell of My Vagina?

Everyone’s body odor is different, but most women who have a healthy vagina smell slightly earthy or tangy. It can also fluctuate during the menstrual cycle or after sex.

This odor is caused by the bacteria lactobacilli, which dominates most healthy vaginas and keeps the pH acidic to prevent less-favorable bacteria from growing. It’s similar to the smell of fermented foods like yogurt or sour beer.

It’s natural

Your vulva contains sweat glands and billions of bacteria, so it’s naturally a little stinky. Those odors can change over time based on things like your menstrual cycle, hormones, and personal vaginal flora, Dr. Ross says. But the good news is, it’s totally normal.

For example, a slightly tangy or sour smell, similar to the smell of fermented foods, is normal when you’re close to ovulation. That’s because those bacteria help your vulva stay acidic and protect it from the growth of bad bacteria. And when you’re close to ovulation, your body secretes pheromones that stimulate sexual arousal in both you and your partner.

But if your vulva smells fishy, or it’s a strong enough odor that you can smell it from outside your body, that’s a sign of bacterial infection. If you notice this, go see your doctor to make sure everything’s okay.

And remember, never use douches or special washes to clean your vulva, as these can disturb the natural pH balance and lead to an infection. Instead, shower and wash your vulva daily with a mild soap and lots of warm water. You can also wear loose-fitting underwear to keep your vulva cool and dry, and avoid products with added fragrances. These steps can help your vulva smell better and keep it healthy. Keeping your vulva clean and healthy is important to ensure a positive self-image, but don’t try too hard to get it to smell exactly how you want it to.

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It’s a sign of health

If your vulva usually smells like a mixture of tangy and fermented food, such as yogurt or that sour IPA you enjoyed last weekend, it’s totally normal. It’s produced by the same bacteria that dominate healthy vaginas. These bacteria are called lactobacilli and they release certain chemicals that help to keep your pH levels in balance and prevent infection.

The odor is also caused by apocrine glands, which are the same as the sweat glands that are found in the armpits. These glands are designed to produce body odor to protect you from other organisms, and they work in tandem with your immune system.

Generally speaking, a slight odor is not something to worry about. If your vulva suddenly starts smelling off or strong, it could be a sign of a problem.

Changes in vaginal odor can have many causes, some of which are minor and require little treatment. However, some can be serious and warrant a visit to a Moreland OB-GYN doctor.

For example, some odors can be caused by the use of certain feminine hygiene products, as well as by tight-fitting underwear that collects fecal matter and throws the pH out of balance. Likewise, a foul or heavy odor can be caused by a high-absorbency tampon that is left in for too long and may result in toxic shock syndrome.

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It’s a turn on

Vaginal odor is completely normal and a major turn on for your sexual partners. The odor comes from the bacterial flora in your vulva, which is made up of millions of bacteria and secretes pheromones that are meant to trigger sexual arousal. This unique odour is what makes each woman’s vulva distinctive and is the reason why no two vaginas smell exactly alike. The scent of your vulva can also change during different times of the month.

It can be stronger during your period, when blood irritates the microbiome and throws it out of balance. This is often accompanied by an unusual smell, like copper or metallic, which some people describe as “sexy.” It’s also common to get a weird odour from high-absorbency tampons that have been left in for too long, causing a parasitic infection called trichomoniasis.

The odour can also be intensified when semen enters the vagina, causing an odour that some describe as fishy or sulfurous. This happens because the bacteria in your vulva have an acid pH and semen has an alkaline pH, which causes them to react to each other, releasing an odour that some people find sexually attractive.

No matter what kind of odour you have, don’t try to change it by using a douche or deodorant, as this can upset the natural pH balance and lead to an infection. Instead, simply enjoy it, and make sure to tell your sexual partners about the odour so they can appreciate it too.

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It’s a turn off

Many women are insecure about the smell of their vulva. The smell is totally normal, and a sign that your genitals are healthy.

Your body is home to trillions of bacteria, and they produce different scents depending on what’s going on down there. For instance, your genitals may smell earthy, ripe, or pungent. This odor is normal and can be a turn on for your partner.

If your vulva’s scent changes suddenly, it could indicate that there’s a health issue going on. It’s worth mentioning it to your OB-GYN, especially if the new odor is accompanied by other symptoms.

For example, an unusually funky odor may indicate that you have bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and a change in the pH of your vagina. It’s common in sexually active people and those who engage in douching practices. You can get antibiotics for BV to help you feel better.

Your vulva’s odor also tends to be stronger during or right after your period. This is because blood is releasing iron into your system, which gives it a coppery or metallic scent. The smell should go away once your period ends. Another cause of a sudden change in vulva scent is yeast infection or trichomoniasis. You can treat these infections with a prescription from your OB-GYN.

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