A normal healthy vagina always emanates a peculiar odor at all times. It is normal to have a certain vaginal odor. However whether it is a natural odor or foul is left up to the woman to judge. Foul odor may pose a serious problem during sexual activity between partners, in terms of the woman or man being uncomfortable.
Every woman has a certain vaginal smell peculiar to herself. There may be a change noticed over time in the odor emanated from the vagina. The change in odor may vary depending on the part of the menstrual cycle the woman is in. Most commonly any change in the odor is associated with vaginal infections. However not every slight change in the odor is not necessarily associated with vaginal infection. On the contrary, one should look for other symptoms of vaginal infection than a mere change in odor.
In some cases there may be a stark change in the vaginal odor. It may become very strong and unpleasant. A strong fishy vaginal odor may be an indication of a serious infection. Some women develop social problems and avoid company and people, as they fear the odor being noticed by others. Thus it may lead to a lot of stress, emotional and social problem.
The normal flora of the vagina consists of a large number of microaerophilic bacteria. Lactobacilli are the main ones which protect the vagina from other infections. They give the vagina an acidic environment. Any change in the pH of the vagina disrupts the vaginal flora and makes the vagina prone to a variety of infections. Also washing the area too often and with potent antimicrobial soaps or lotions, alter the pH of the vagina and decrease the local immunity of the vaginal mucosa. Most women believe that vaginal odor may be due to poor genital hygiene and indulge in obsessive cleanliness of the genital area. This may have adverse effects and if done in excess may itself be a cause for developing various infections.
Some other causes for vaginal odor may be wearing tight undergarments, wearing synthetic undergarments, excessive washing, certain chemicals like antibacterial soaps, scented body washes. All these make the vagina prone to bacterial or yeast infections. Foreign body insertion into the vagina also causes vaginal infection and odor.
Prevention: Wear cotton panties. Tight clothing should be avoided as far as possible. Avoid Douching. Wear clean tampons and change them regularly. Any form of vaginal infection which may present as excessively foul vaginal odor, foul discharge from the vagina, must be brought to the notice of a doctor and must be treated immediately. Following intercourse it is important that a woman must go to urinate. Urination following intercourse helps to eradicate any bacteria lingering outside or inside the vaginal canal up to the urethral orifice. Urination forces out bacteria along with the urine voided. Prompt treatment and prevention of all bacterial and yeast infections itself helps prevent vaginal odor to a great extent.
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