Your Guide to Vaginal Odor Products

Brianna Anderson
Brianna Anderson
February 24, 2024
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff
Your Guide to Vaginal Odor Products

Stroll down the aisles of your local pharmacy, and you’ll probably see dozens of vaginal odor products. Scented tampons, supplements, washes, and other products all claim to hide or eliminate odor. But how do you know if you need these products and which ones are safe to use?

Vaginal odor is a sensitive subject, so many women feel afraid or embarrassed to ask these questions. You might wonder if you have a normal scent or if there’s something wrong with your vagina. You may also consider trying commercial products or the numerous home remedies touted online but not know where to start. This guide covers everything you need to know about how to get rid of vaginal odor effectively and safely.

Understanding Vaginal Odor

The vagina has a complex ecosystem filled with millions of microorganisms. Lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria help balance the vagina’s pH level and fight disease. However, many factors can throw off the natural balance of your vagina’s ecosystem. These disruptions can lead to vaginal odor, infection, and other consequences [1].

If you feel down about your vaginal odor, you’re not alone. Bacterial vaginosis and other odor-causing conditions cause many women to feel embarrassed, depressed, and less confident [2]. While these feelings are normal, you shouldn’t let them prevent you from seeking a solution.  

Common Causes of Vaginal Odor

Many factors can contribute to vaginal odor, including [3]:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis
  • Yeast infection
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene
  • A tampon left in the vagina for too long
  • Menstruation
  • Eating smelly foods, such as garlic and fish

In rare cases, vaginal odor can be caused by cervical cancer or a rectovaginal fistula [3].

It’s important to note that all vaginas have a natural scent, and it’s normal for this smell to change throughout your menstrual cycle. You may also notice a more pungent odor after sexual intercourse or exercise. However, you should see a doctor if your vagina suddenly has an intense and unpleasant smell that persists for several days [3].

General Hygiene Practices

Proper hygiene can reduce the risk of vaginal odor. Be sure to wash your vulva regularly with warm water and a gentle, unscented soap [3].

Clothing also affects vaginal hygiene. Choose underwear and pants made from cotton and other breathable materials. It’s also crucial to promptly change out of a damp swimsuit and sweaty workout gear. These steps help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which tend to flourish in moist and warm environments [3].  

It’s essential to avoid harsh cleaning products that disrupt the vaginal microbiome. According to a 2020 study, douches, vaginal deodorants, and vaginal powders can change the vaginal pH level and eliminate healthy bacteria. As a result, these products increase the risk of odor-causing bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections [4].

Dietary and Lifestyle Tips

A healthy diet can help you avoid vaginal odor. A literature review found that a high-starch diet increases glycogen levels in the vagina and promotes the growth of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria. A diet rich in vitamins A, C, and E and β-carotene can also decrease your risk of bacterial vaginosis [5].

Additionally, drinking adequate water prevents vaginal odor caused by high concentrations of waste material in urine [4].  

Reducing Anxiety and Improving Overall Well-Being

Decreasing anxiety can enhance your vaginal health and overall wellbeing. Lifestyle changes that reduce stress include [6]:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
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The Truth About Home Remedies and Supplements

Many retailers and websites promote home remedies and vitamins for vaginal odor. However, it’s crucial to assess these solutions critically to avoid harm.

Potentially effective natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis and other odor-causing disorders include [7]:

  • Apple cider
  • Garlic
  • Calcium supplement
  • Tea tree oil
  • Thymbra capita

However, more research is needed to explore the effects of these supplements on vaginal health.

Additionally, probiotics containing Lactobacillus can help regulate the vaginal microbiome and prevent infection. You can eat yogurt with this bacteria or take an oral probiotic [8].

Consult your doctor for guidance before choosing a home remedy or probiotic for vaginal odor. They can help you determine which treatments are safe and suitable for you.  

When to Consult a Healthcare Provider

Seek medical attention if you have an unpleasant vaginal odor that lasts for a long time, even after you shower. You should also see a doctor if you notice abnormal vaginal discharge, burning, or itching. These symptoms could be a sign of vaginal infection [3].

You should also consult a doctor promptly if you notice vaginal odor after menopause. This could be a sign of low estrogen, which your doctor may prescribe a medication to treat [9].

Protect Your Vaginal Health

Vaginal odor is a common problem that affects countless women. A medical provider can help you identify the root cause and choose safe treatments. You can also purchase an at-home vaginal pH test from Diagnox to monitor your health from the comfort of your home.

  1. Namrata Deka, Saqib Hassan, George Seghal Kiran, Joseph Selvin, "Insights into the role of vaginal microbiome in women's health," Journal of Basic Microbiology, Volume 61, Issue 12, December 2021, Pages 1071-1084.
  2. Brusselmans J, De Sutter A, Devleesschauwer B, Verstraelen H, Cools P., "Scoping review of the association between bacterial vaginosis and emotional, sexual and social health,' BMC Womens Health. 2023 Apr 7;23(1):168.
  3. Cleveland Clinic Staff, "Vaginal Odor - Symptoms and Possible Causes," The Cleveland Clinic.
  4. Amanda Jenkins, Deborah Money & Kieran C. O’Doherty (2021) "Is the vaginal cleansing product industry causing harm to women?," Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, 19:3, 267-269.
  5. Song SDAcharya KD, Zhu JE, Deveney CM, Walther-Antonio MRSTetel MJ, Chia N 2020, "Daily Vaginal Microbiota Fluctuations Associated with Natural Hormonal Cycle," Contraceptives, Diet, and Exercise. mSphere 5:10.1128/msphere.00593-20.
  6. Amabebe E and Anumba DOC, "Psychosocial Stress, Cortisol Levels, and Maintenance of Vaginal Health," Front. Endocrinol," 9:568, 2018.
  7. Abbe C, Mitchell CM., "Bacterial vaginosis: a review of approaches to treatment and prevention," Front Reprod Health. 2023 May 31;5:1100029. PMID: 37325243; PMCID: PMC10264601.
  8. Mei Z, Li D., "The role of probiotics in vaginal health," Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 Jul 28;12:963868.  PMID: 35967876; PMCID: PMC9366906.
  9. Cleveland Clinic Staff, "Feminine Odor Problems? What Every Woman Needs to Know," The Cleveland Clinic, June 9, 2021
About the Author
Brianna Anderson
About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff

Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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