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Vaginal odour! Why it occurs and what you can do to prevent it

The vagina has its own unique odour and each woman’s vaginal odour is different. Quite a number of women worry about the scent of their vagina but it’s in fact nothing to worry about. This is because it’s perfectly normal and natural for the vagina to have some sort of scent.

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It is important for you as a woman to be familiar with the odour that originates from your vagina as this will help you to identify when there might be a problem. Very strong smell is not normal and is likely to be a sign of a problem.

Strong, persistent vaginal odours can be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Sweats
  • Bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor menstrual hygiene

Sometimes, the strong smell may be accompanied by symptoms like vaginal itching and burning, and unusual vaginal discharge. If this is the case, it is necessary that you see your doctor so you can be checked.

While it is normal for you to want to make your vagina smell “nicer” either by using vaginal deodorant or perfume, or by douching, you should know that either of these is not good and safe for your vagina as they may cause irritation and also make you more vulnerable to vaginal infections.

Your vagina keeps itself clean naturally and it’s best to leave it alone to do its work. To keep your vagina free from unpleasant odour, here are some of the things you should do:

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Change your underwear daily. Cotton underwear is most suitable because it allows your skin to breathe and makes your sweat evaporate more quickly
  • Change pads or tampons frequently when on your period
  • Avoid perfumed pads, tampons and panty liners
  • Practice safe sex
  • Keep your vaginal area dry
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