What To Do If You Smell Down There All The Time

Hey Heather,

Well, for years I’ve struggled with vaginal odor. I went to the doctor, they said it was because I had a yeast infection, so they gave me antibiotics for it, but that only helped for like a day or so, and after that the strong odor came back. It’s so embarrassing. I feel like I can’t wear certain clothes because people will be able to smell me. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve tried Odor Block, Vagisil, body wash… they don’t seem to work. I don’t know what else to do to make the foul odor go away. Please help me.

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It’s important for me to start this by saying that some form of vaginal odor is normal and natural – every girl experiences it. It would be nice if vaginal odor could be consistent, but it’s not. Not only does it smell differently for everyone, but it can also come and go. One week you might be fine, the next? Not so much.

It’s great that you took the first step of going to the gynecologist and getting medication. But it’s frustrating when that first step that is supposed to help everything doesn’t really help. Unfortunately, while doctors are basically miracle workers most of them, they sometimes need more time to figure out what’s really going on. So what should you do next? First, let’s talk to another real doctor – my friend Dr. Sherry Ross from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period care package you need to check out).

Dr. Ross says, “All of us with a vagina usually know that awkward feeling when a new and strange smell comes our way. The key is to know what your “normal” smell smells like.” In other words, did you notice this odor recently? Did it used to be different and suddenly it became stronger? Are there any other symptoms associated with your strong odor?

Oh, and about all of the things you’re trying (Odor Block, Vagisil, body wash, etc.)? Dr. Ross says, “The vagina is especially sensitive to different changes in your daily environment. Anything that affects this delicate balance will affect the smell, type of discharge, and its consistency. Factors affecting the normal ph balance of the vagina include antibiotics, douching, spermicides, new sexual partners, frequent sex, sex toys, and hormonal imbalances such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. All of these factors can cause an abnormal odor and create uncomfortable symptoms.” So, the stuff you’re using to try to get rid of the smell is likely causing the smell.

Your vag is sensitive! It’s also self-cleaning, which means you don’t need to use other products to clean it. Even products like Vagisil, which are obviously created with the vagina in mind, can mess things up down there. Your best bet is to wash with warm water and that’s it.

You know how I asked about other symptoms? Dr. Ross says, “Symptoms including vulvar itching, burning, redness with a vaginal odor or discharge, yellow, white, grey or green in color might suggest a yeast or bacterial infection. Sexually transmitted infections such as Trichomonas, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea also have to be ruled out.” Even though you were just treated for a yeast infection, you could have an undiagnosed bacterial infection. Or something else could be going on – in which case, another doctor visit might be smart.

Dr. Ross says, “If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you see your healthcare provider to have a series of vaginal cultures taken to find out what organism is involved. Many of you will go to the drug store and buy over-the-counter medication for a yeast infection if there is any kind of vaginal discharge or itching. Unfortunately, this can make the symptoms worse and delay a proper diagnosis and treatment. Vaginal cultures can and should confirm what organism is causing your disruptive symptoms so the best treatment can be prescribed. Before you start putting yogurt into your vagina, its best to take a trip to your healthcare provider to check things out with a vaginal culture to know exactly what is going on.”

take care,
Heather

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!

 

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