Have you recently experienced a foul-smelling discharge from your vagina? If yes, it may mean that there is an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria giving birth to your vaginal odor. Medically known as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Vaginal Yeast Infections, vaginal odor can be sometimes embarrassing though it should not be. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, feminine odor changes throughout the normal monthly menstrual cycle of a woman. Just as your feet or breath has a smell, vagina to has a smell due to the presence of bacteria here. However, this may get unusual and you may get the metallic or musty smell or even a fishy smell from the vagina which can be due to foods you eat or certain hormonal causes along with the overgrowth of bacteria as well as sexually transmitted diseases for which you should get treatment. Accompanied by yellow or white discharge, itching, burning and irritation, the vaginal odor may indicate a vaginal infection. If your vaginal odor, however, doesn’t indicate anything serious, you may apply some home remedies for a vaginal odor to get rid of this foul smell.
Home Remedies for Vaginal Odor
1. Fenugreek Remedies for Vaginal Odor
Fenugreek is a wonderful herb that cures many conditions including vaginal odor. Fenugreek is especially beneficial for women’s health as it promotes hormonal balance as well as regular menstrual cycle if consumed on a regular basis. Some herbalists even claim that the properties of fenugreek are almost similar to those of female sex hormone, estrogen. These are some of the ways you can use fenugreek to reduce your vaginal odor.
Ways to Use Fenugreek for Vaginal Odor
Drink Fenugreek Soaked Water
- Fenugreek seeds- 1-2 tsp
- Water- 1 glass
- Take fenugreek seeds and soak in water overnight.
- In the morning, strain the water and drink it on an empty stomach.
- Do this daily for about 2 weeks.
Make Fenugreek tea
- Fenugreek seeds- 1 tbsp
- Water- 1 cup
- Crush the fenugreek seeds, preferably with the help of mortar and pestle. Use any other way to crush them if you don’t have mortar and pestle.
- Boil the water in a pan and put off the flame.
- Add crushed fenugreek seeds to the hot water and cover.
- Let it steep for about 10-15 minutes. You may steep fenugreek for up to 3 hours.
- Drink this hot (or cold, if you’ve steeped for longer) fenugreek tea.
Wash Vagina with Fenugreek Water
- Fenugreek seeds- 2-3 tsp
- Water- 1 liter
- Add fenugreek seeds to water.
- Boil this water on a medium flame for about half an hour.
- Let the water cool down.
- Wash your vagina with this water.
- Do this 3-4 times a day.
Take Precaution: Fenugreek may induce gastrointestinal discomforts like diarrhea or bloating, allergic reactions, and nausea. Also, topical application may lead to skin rashes or irritation. So check your tolerance before applying these fenugreek remedies for vaginal odor. Avoid using this if you are pregnant as it may induce premature labor. If you are Hypoglycemic, avoid having fenugreek as it reduces blood sugar level.
2. Yogurt- the Natural Remedy for Vaginal Odor
With all its health benefits, yogurt can also help you get rid of vaginal odor. Yogurt is naturally rich in lactobacillus, the healthy bacteria which not only keeps your stomach free of any infection but also reduce the yeast infection of your vagina. Lactobacillus also helps in restoring normal vaginal pH level which kills your vaginal odor. So eat unsweetened plain yogurt everyday, as much as two cups a day. You may also use yogurt in other ways to get rid of your vaginal odor.
Ways to use Yogurt for Vaginal Odor
Consume Yogurt Daily
This is the best way to use yogurt not only for vaginal odor elimination but also for your overall health. Just take care to have organic, unflavored, unsweetened yogurt. Sweetened yogurt can actually increase your problems by promoting yeast infection. It’s better to have plain yogurt. If you are buying probiotic yogurt, check if it contains lactobacillus or not because this is the healthy bacteria in yogurt which will get you rid of your vaginal odor. Have at least 2 cups of yogurt everyday.
Apply Yogurt to Vagina
- Yogurt- ¼ – ½ cup
- Cotton pad
- Take the yogurt in a cup or bowl.
- Dip the cotton pad in the yogurt and let it soak well.
- Now take the cotton pad out of the yogurt.
- Apply this yogurt to your vagina by rubbing with a gentle hand.
- Let it be there for some time, wash off with water and pat dry.
- Repeat this for three to four times a day.
Alternatively, you may soak a tampon in plain yogurt and insert in your vagina. Leave it there for sometime before removing. Now wash off with plain water.
Take Precaution: If you are allergic to dairy products, avoid having or using yogurt for vaginal odor.
3. Garlic Remedies for Vaginal Odor
Garlic is a known natural anti-bacterial herb. Having garlic can get you rid of bad bacteria that cause vaginal odor. The strong antifungal properties of garlic also help eliminate the plethora of fungus causing yeast infection and giving rise to mild vaginal odor.
Ways to Use Garlic for Vaginal Odor
- Eat 1-2 raw garlic cloves with one glass of warm water in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Insert one clove of peeled garlic into your vagina and leave for a couple of hours. Wash or take bath after removing the garlic clove. Do this once or twice a week to get rid of vaginal odor.
- Include garlic in your dishes like salads and dips.
- Crush some garlic cloves to make a paste. Apply this garlic paste to your vagina and leave for about 10 minutes. Wash or have a bath after this.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Vaginal Odor
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one ingredient which has been studied widely for its health benefits. Many studies have found apple cider vinegar useful in treating vaginal infections too. ACV has fine anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that are responsible for its curative nature. Also, apple cider vinegar balances pH levels in an effective way and that’s one reason why you can use apple cider vinegar to get rid of your vaginal odor.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Vaginal Odor
- Apple cider vinegar- 3 cups
- Warm water- enough for a shallow bath
- Fill your bathtub with warm water.
- Add apple cider vinegar to this water.
- Now sit in this water for about 20-30 minutes.
- If you badly suffer from vaginal odor, you may apply this remedy 4-5 times a week otherwise do it just once or twice a week.
Other Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Vaginal Odor
If you do not want to use ACV this way, you may use it in some other ways mentioned here.
- Dilute some apple cider vinegar with water and rinse your vagina with this diluted solution.
- Soak a tampon in a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar and insert this into your vagina to keep it there for 30-60 minutes.
- Mix 1 ounce of ACV with 8 ounces of water and drink this daily to balance pH level of your body. This prevents overgrowth of bacteria in your body including the vagina.
5. Tea Tree Oil to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor
Tea tree oil is a known natural antiseptic. It gets you rid of germs and bacteria very fast. However, never use undiluted tea tree oil directly on the skin as this may lead to irritation and burning sensation. Just a few drops of this strong antiseptic and antibacterial oil mixed with some water is enough to cure your vaginal odor.
Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil for Vaginal Odor
- Mix 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to water in bathtub. Sit in this water for 20-30 minutes. Wash with plain water afterwards and pat dry. Do not use soap to wash your vagina after using this remedy. Do this 2-3 times a day.
- Rinse your vagina with water mixed with 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Do this 2-4 times a day.
- Add few drops of tea tree oil to some water and soak a tampon. Insert this tampon into your vagina and leave for about 5 minutes before taking it out. Do this an hour before you take bath. Repeat this daily for a week or so.
6. Baking Soda Remedies for Vaginal Odor
One of the causes of vaginal odor is imbalanced pH level of your body. Baking soda can instantly level your pH level. So, when you are up to go out and realize your vagina is emitting a foul smell, drink a glass of water mixed with some baking soda. You may actually like to use baking soda to wash your vaginal area regularly to keep its pH levels balanced.
Ways to Use Baking Soda for Vaginal Odor
- Take 1-2 tsp of baking soda and mix this with a glass of water. Drink this daily.
- Add half a cup of baking soda to the water in your bathtub. Sit in this water for about 20 minutes. This treats yeast infection and instantly eliminates vaginal odor.
7. Cranberry Juice to Remove Vaginal Odor
Cranberries have been known for their efficiency in a detoxifying body. As cranberry juice is acidic in nature, it helps keep bacteria count low in your body. This is also why drinking cranberry juice is an established natural remedy for urinary tract infections. Just a glass of unsweetened and undiluted cranberry juice may help flush toxins from your body as well as keep vaginal odor at bay!
8. Alum Remedies for Vaginal Odor
Alum is a sulfate of aluminium and apart from being used for food pickling and purifying water, it is also used for controlling body odor. In fact, it is a traditional natural aftershave to control bleeding from cuts that men can get from shaving. As it easily dissolves in water, alum can mix with sweat to neutralize the development of bacteria that cause body odor. As far as vaginal odor is concerned, the antiseptic and astringent properties of alum come into play to restrict the growth of bacteria that give rise to the foul smell in your vagina. Alum is especially beneficial when a vaginal odor is due to whitish liquid vaginal discharge (Leucorrhoea).
Ways to Use Alum for Vaginal Odor
- Mix ¼ to ½ tsp of alum powder in some water and use this for washing your vagina and surrounding area.
- Get an alum stick from any grocery store. Soak it in water and rub it on your vagina’s mouth with the gentle hand. Don’t be too harsh. Do it 1-2 times a day.
- Mix ¼ tsp of alum powder with a glass of water and have it twice a day. This remedy treats leucorrhoea and eliminates excessive vaginal discharge that gives rise to bad smell.
9. Guava Leaves Remedy for Vaginal Odor
Guava leaves have antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties along with certain beneficial tannins. These leaves have been used traditionally for medicinal uses in various diseases. While guavas help reduce menstrual cramps in women, guava leaves when boiled with water give an excellent solution to cure vaginal discharge problems.
How to Use Guava Leaves for Vaginal Odor
- Guava leaves- 8-10
- Water- 1 liter
- Add guava leaves to water.
- Boil this water till it reduces to half its quantity.
- Let it cool down.
- Strain and use the water for washing your vaginal area. Rinse your vagina thoroughly with this water.
- Do this twice a day.
10. Indian Gooseberry to Cure Vaginal Odor
Amla or the popular Indian gooseberry has many properties apart from being one of the richest sources of Vitamin C. It is an effective natural blood purifier. Just by eating amla can get you rid of vaginal odor and other infections. It is an established natural remedy to treat Leucorrhoea or vaginal discharge which gives rise to foul smell. You can eat raw amla, amla powder mixed with water or even pickled amla. Here are a couple of ways to use gooseberry to treat leucorrhea which is one of the causes of vaginal odor.
Ways to Use Amla to Cure Leucorrhea induced Vaginal odor
- Add 1 tsp of amla powder to 1- ½ tsp of honey. Mix well to make a paste and have this twice a day for at least one month.
- Take 4-5 tsp of amla juice and mix ½ tsp of honey with this. Have this twice a day for one month.
11. Make Herbal Capsule for Odor from Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis, as mentioned earlier, is caused by an imbalance in bacteria present in your vagina. Normal lactobacilli, the good bacteria, decrease in the vagina which increases the vaginal pH. This increase in pH level results in an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina which causes discomforts including itching and foul smell. Here is one herbal remedy which is used to make capsules with the help of a variety of herbs to cure bacterial vaginosis and get you rid of vaginal odor.
- Echinacea root powder- 1 part
- Yellow Dock root powder- 1 part
- Slippery Elm bark powder- 1 part
- Comfrey root powder- 1 part
- Golden Seal root powder- 2 part
- Myrrh gum powder- 1 part
- “00” gelatin capsules
Parts of these herbal powders are to be taken by weight and not by volume.
- Mix all the herbal powders.
- Now fill the gelatin capsules with this herbal mix. “00” size capsules hold about 735 mg. You will need about 1 teaspoon mixture to fill 5 such capsules.
- After you prepare your herbal capsules, store them safely.
- Have 2 capsules three times daily.
- Do this for 1-2 weeks.
12. Boric Acid Remedy to Treat Vaginal Odor
Now you know that the good bacteria lactobacillus stays in your vagina to keep its acidity in check. However, certain substances like menstrual blood or semen etc. affect the acidity of a vagina and make it more alkaline. The pH level of vagina gets affected negatively and the increased alkalinity contribute to the growth of bacteria leading to bacterial vaginosis. Boric acid, which is mildly acidic and antiseptic can help in restoring the correct acidic level in your vagina.
How to Use Boric Acid to Cure BV induced Vaginal Odor
- Boric acid
- Size “00” gelatin capsules
- Take the gelatin capsules and fill them with boric acid.
- Store them safely.
- Insert 1 capsule filled with boric acid into your vagina at bedtime.
- Do this once or twice a week.
The natural remedy for vaginal odor using boric acid is more of a preventive measure which protects you from getting bacterial vaginosis if you are prone to this. However, if you feel that you are about to develop BV, increase the dose of the boric acid capsule by using 1 capsule for 3 consecutive nights. After this, again start using the capsule once or twice a week.
Warning: Ensure you never swallow the gelatin capsules with boric acid. Put a clear label on the bottle in which you store boric acid capsules and keep it out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, never use boric acid capsules in your vagina too.
13. Neem-Margosa Leaves Remedy for Vaginal Odor
The herb Neem, also known as Margosa, has excellent antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Neem bark extract, as well as leaves, are especially effective in protecting you against various fungi including candida which leads to yeast infections that in turn give rise to vaginal odor. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine, prescribes neem remedy to treat bacterial vaginosis. Here is how you can use margosa leaves to get rid of BV as well as vaginal odor.
- Neem leaves- a handful
- Water- enough to make a paste
- Heat a pan.
- Add neem leaves to the pan and dry roast for about three minutes.
- Put off the flame and let the leaves cool down.
- Once cold, crush the roasted neem leaves to get a fine powder.
- Take 2 tsp of this neem leaves powder.
- Add a little water to this and make a paste.
- Apply this neem leaves paste to your vagina and surrounding area.
- Do this twice a day.
14. Turmeric-Milk Remedy for Vaginal Odor
Turmeric is one of the best herbs for many ailments. It is a natural anti-bacterial that kills bacteria and keeps your vagina protected against viral infections. One of the Ayurvedic remedies for vaginal odor-induced by bacterial vaginosis as well as dryness in vagina suggests using milk and turmeric.
- Milk (warm)- 1 glass
- Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
- Add turmeric powder to warm milk.
- Mix well and drink this.
- Drink this turmeric mixed milk daily until your vaginal odor and infection is cured.
15. Hygiene and Diet Remedies for Vaginal Odor
Apart from the natural and herbal ingredients that prevent and cure foul smell, there are many other factors that decide whether you will suffer from vaginal odor and other vagina-related issues or not. These include foods that you eat and hygiene that you maintain. Here are some cleanliness, hygiene and diet remedies for vaginal odor that will go a long way to make you feel relieved and refreshed.
- Drink lots of water during the day. Water gets your body rid of bad toxins and harmful bacteria.
- Avoid caffeine drinks like coffee and tea as well as sugary drinks like colas etc. Excessive sugar in your body gives way to bacteria and in turn vaginal odor.
- Avoid too spicy and starchy foods.
- Have lots of citrus foods that are rich in vitamin C such as guava, grapes, oranges, sweet lime, lemons, grapefruits, pineapples etc. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and prepares your body to fight against harmful bacteria.
- Avoid unprotected sex which may cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases, one of the leading causes of vaginal odor.
- Wear underwear made of breathable fabric like cotton. Change them every day and wash them properly with soap.
- During a monthly menstrual cycle, change sanitary pads frequently. If using tampons, don’t forget to take them out.
- Wash your vagina properly after intercourse and urination.
- Always wear loose fitting clothes. Tight jeans or pants don’t allow air to flow and result in sweating which gives rise to vaginal odor.
Frequently Asked Question & Answers:
Q: What are the causes of vaginal odor?
Vaginal odor can be caused due to various reasons which are mentioned below…
- Changes that happen throughout the normal monthly menstrual cycle of a women
- Due to certain foods which we eat
- Hormonal changes
- Overgrowth of bacteria or yeast
- Sexually transmitted diseases (like bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infection, trichomoniasis, chlamydia or gonorrhea infections)
- Poor hygiene
- A retained or forgotten tampon left in place for several days
- Certain type of cancers (like cervical cancer or vaginal cancer)
- Rectovaginal fistula
- Sexual intercourse
- Perspiration or vaginal secretions
- Over douching
Q: How to prevent vaginal odor?
Vaginal odor is quite irritating and embarrassing condition that may tempt you to douche or use any vaginal deodorant to reduce the vaginal odor but the usage of these products will increase the irritation and leads to infection. Here are some tips and natural remedies that help you to prevent this vaginal odor.
- Use some natural remedies like drinking fenugreek seeds soaked water, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, garlic, tea tree oil, etc.
- Drink plenty of water to flush out the bacteria and other toxins causing this vaginal odor.
- Avoid the intake of caffeinated or carbonated or sugary drinks why because they feed and encourage the growth of bacteria and thereby results in vaginal odor.
- Reduce the intake of too spicy and starchy foods to reduce the pain and irritation.
- Consume a lot of vitamin C rich citrus fruits to enhance the immune system and to clear this bacteria or fungus causing this infection.
- Rinse your vagina after urination and sexual intercourse and also wear loose fitting clothes.
- Change your sanitary pads or tampons frequently during your monthly menstrual cycle.
- Avoid unprotected sex why because it may result in vaginal infections or sexually transmitted diseases which results in causing vaginal odor.
Q: Why do I have a fishy smell? (OR) Why do I have a strong odor down there?
The fishy smell is due to the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the vagina, which in turn upset the delicate pH balance in the vaginal area and thereby causes vaginal discharge and a strong fishy odor. You may also get this fishy smell due to improper skincare hygiene (sweating), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and the foods which you eat will affect the vaginal odor.
Q: What is the best product for vaginal odor?
Avoid using products that contain scents, additives or douches and use holistic products and antifungal products by consulting your doctor. Here are some of the best products that help you in treating the vaginal odor. Also, take probiotic supplements like Femanol to boost up the immunity and to fight against the existing vaginal odor.
- Lemisol plus gentle – original refreshing formula (feminine wash product)
- Poise fresh care femme wash
- Balance Activ vaginal gel
- Beaute’ FemMist
Q: How do you keep your vaginal smelling good?
Here are a few ways that make your vagina smell good. Have a look at them and include them in your daily activities to get rid of this vaginal odor problem.
- Always wear loose clothing and cotton underwear which helps to prevent moisture buildup with proper airflow.
- Change your clothes after exercise why because a sweaty groin can become a breeding ground for bacteria. So, rinse the area and dry it before wearing fresh clothes.
- Consume a nutritional diet and choose a healthy lifestyle along with regular exercise to lose weight and thereby to prevent excess sweating.
- Do you know that our body is designed to clean itself and take care of most issues? So, avoid douching and the usage of feminine sprays or products, which may result in irritation and worsen the problem.
- Drink plenty of water why because the mucous vaginal membranes need some water to function properly and also to lubricate the vagina naturally which in turn helps to diminish the vaginal smell.
- The intake of certain foods will cause bad odor in your vaginal area. So, avoid foods like sugar or sugary products, alcohol, wheat products, processed foods, etc. Consume a plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables to strengthen your immune system and to get rid of infection-causing microbes.
Q: Can condoms cause vaginal odor?
Yes, some women are allergic to the material used in condoms in which they throw off the vaginal bacteria and thereby causes odor. So, try some other brands of condom (prefer latex free variety) to get rid of this vaginal odor.
Q: Can vitamins cause smelly discharge?
No, vitamins won’t cause smelly discharge. The vitamins will boost up the immune system along with enhancing the proper balance of pH levels and supports the healthy vaginal walls, reduces the risk of getting an infection and bacterial growth.
Q: How to treat a fishy smell after a yeast infection?
- Avoid touching the genital area and wearing tight underwear why because it can trap the bacteria and sweat which in turn results in the infection and fishy odor.
- Consume plenty of plain yogurt or probiotics which helps to boost the natural pH balance of your vagina and thereby prevent microbes from causing infection or smell.
- Enjoy Epsom salt bath which helps to kill the bacteria and yeast infection causing Candida or fungus.
- Don’t use harsh soaps and always use warm water and mild soap for rinsing the genitals or taking bathe.
- Reduce the intake of certain odor causing foods like pepper, chilies, onion, broccoli, sugary or starchy products, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, etc.
- Drink plenty of water and consume healthy fresh fruits and vegetables as a part of your daily diet.
- Use bathroom when nature calls and also rinse the area immediately after having sex to clear the bacteria or infection causing microbes from the vaginal area.
- Consult your doctor and use medication as they suggested to get relief from the fishy smell and also to prevent the recurrence of this yeast infection or vaginal odor.
Q: Why does my vagina smell fishy after intercourse?
It may be due to the overgrowth of certain bacteria or yeast in the vaginal area. Check with your doctor if you having any fishy smell after intercourse to determine whether it is any sexually transmitted disease or an infection. Also, make sure to maintain a proper balance of pH levels of your vagina to prevent the recurrence of this problem.