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Does douching help odor: Douching | Office on Women’s Health


Pros And Cons Of Douching: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Douching, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, is “washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids.”

Douching, according to most of the women’s health professionals we’ve talked to (and HHS), is generally not a good idea.

Why do women douche?

Douching has been around for centuries, originally employed as a contraceptive method after sex (it doesn’t work) or as protection against infection (no good for that either). The idea of douching as a cleansing method is relatively recent. Retailers in the US had been claiming their product “cleaned” since as early as the 1920s, but still the focus was on contraception.

However, when the birth control pill became widely available and socially acceptable, douche producers had to find another way to sell their product. Marketing teams then changed their sales pitch to women to focus on “freshness” and hygiene.

As many as one in five women in the US uses douches, and the practice is most common among teenage girls and Latina and African American women. The reasons given for douching are to cleanse and refresh, particularly after a period or after sex; to control vaginal odor; and to prevent or manage bacterial vaginosis.

Does douching work? Should you do it?

While douching may temporarily cover up vaginal odor, the answer to the question “Does douching work?” is pretty overwhelmingly “no.”

Bacterial vaginosis – BV is a vaginal infection that occurs when the good Lactobacilli bacteria are overwhelmed by anaerobic bacteria and Gardnerella vaginalis. All these organisms are normally found in the vagina, but sometimes the proportions get out of balance, resulting in infection.

One of the symptoms of BV is a fishy odor, so women may use douches to attempt to counteract the odor. Unfortunately, douching can make matters worse by helping to spread the bacteria up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

Using douches to prevent BV doesn’t work either; douching upsets the normal bacterial balance and the healthy pH of the vagina, so it actually makes BV more likely rather than less.

Odor – Some vaginal odor is totally normal and healthy, and that odor may change as you move through your cycle, exercise, or engage in sexual activity. So first, let’s dismiss the myth that the vagina should be odorless or smell of strawberries and sunshine. It shouldn’t, and trying to force it to can lead to actual health problems.

A change in odor can result from several things: if you think you have an infection such as BV or trichomoniasis (an STD) or a yeast infection, you need to talk with a doctor. Douching won’t solve or prevent any of these and may well make them much worse.

Your period or menopause can cause changes in vaginal odor. Your period is actually your body’s natural cleansing process as the uterine lining is shed, so douching after is wholly unnecessary. Menopause can change the vagina’s pH and cause a change in odor. Topical estrogen may help with this, but as always when adding hormones, you should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor.

Exercise and diet – Exercise and diet can both affect vaginal odor. You’re familiar with asparagus pee? Well, welcome to broccoli vagina. Strongly scented foods can actually translate to a change in vaginal odor, so tracking what you eat and eliminating affecting foods can help. Equally, exercise can increase odor in the groin, just as it does in the armpits. Be sure to change out of sweaty exercise clothes right away, and if you feel you must “cleanse,” stick to the external parts of your lady bits and use a pH-balanced product like Gennev’s Ultra-Gentle Body Wash or Cleansing Cloth Vagina Wipes.

Cleanse and refresh – The idea that the vaginal area requires special “cleansing” comes more from our societal squeamishness about a woman’s body – and the desire of douche producers to make money –than it comes from any real need. Douching, many wipes, and feminine shampoos and sprays can destroy healthy bacteria and even change your body’s natural pH, allowing the bad bacteria to overwhelm the good.

How douching causes problems

Instead of solving problems, douching can actively cause them, often resulting in the same problems women were hoping to avoid, namely infection, odor, and discharge. It can also impact fertility.

According to Dr. Lora Shahine, MD, FACOG at Pacific NW Fertility, “The vagina has a natural balance of bacteria, proteins, and more that get altered with douching. This can lead to overgrowth of certain organisms and lead to a higher risk of infection.

“Douching can also decrease chances of conception by decreasing the amount of cervical mucus that helps sperm gets through the cervix on their way to fertilized eggs.” So if you’re trying to get pregnant, douching can interfere.

According to research by Jenny L Martino and Dr. Sten Vermund, douching has been associated with a higher risk of infection and higher risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, BV, cervical cancer, fertility and pregnancy concerns, HIV transmission, STDs, ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilized egg attaches in the fallopian tube rather than continuing to the uterus), recurrent and vulvovaginal candidiasis. It can also contribute to a higher rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Removing the natural vaginal flora by douching leaves the body vulnerable; forcing infections and bacteria further up into the body can complicate and worsen existing issues. In some cases, douching can actually be quite dangerous: in women who douche more than once a week, there appears to be an increased risk of cervical cancer.

When is douching a good or useful practice?

There are times when douching serves a useful purpose. Trans women who have had vaginoplasty may find that douching helps manage post-operative healing, for example. For the most part, however, douching is an unnecessary practice that says more about society’s stigmas around the female body than it does about your personal hygiene.

When to see a doctor

If you’re experiencing a change in your vaginal odor that is strong and persistent, especially if it comes with a thicker discharge, you need to make an appointment with your ob/gyn. These can be indicators of an infection such as gonorrhea, BV, yeast vaginitis, or even a forgotten tampon or contraceptive sponge. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the issue and set you on the right course of treatment.

We can help you get the answers you deserve

  • Meet with a Gennev Doctor – our menopause specialists can help you understand your symptoms and answer questions about your vaginal health
  • Partner with a Health Coach for actionable solutions and the support you need to help you manage your symptoms, develop personalized regimens and regain your confidence
  • PH-balanced Vaginal Wipes – Perfect for an anytime gentle and moisturizing cleanse down there; also available in three-packs and individually wrapped singles for on-the-go freshness
  • Ultra Gentle pH Balanced Body Wash – Experience clean, nourishing, head-to-toe freshness. Won’t irritate even the most sensitive parts of your body
  • Feminine Dryness Remedies Kit – This 3-piece bundle includes the common products our team recommends: Intimate Moisture, Ultra-Gentle pH Balanced Body Wash and pH Balanced Cleansing Cloths
  • Vitality – for overall health, try our nutrient-packed multi-vitamin supplement that supports mood, energy, stress response, immune health, joint pain, and inflammation


The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.  Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev’s telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.


Douching: Do You or Don’t You?

You shower, put on deodorant, and change your underwear daily, just like your mother taught you. But should you do more? About one in four women in the U.S. add douching to their personal hygiene routine. The women claim that it makes them feel fresh, gets rid of odors, washes away menstrual blood, prevents STDs, and prevents pregnancy. But does douching actually help?

Most health providers say douching is completely ineffective and even harmful. Douching can actually increase your risk for infections and pregnancy complications.

First of all, what is douching? Douching is different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower. The word “douche” is French for “shower.” In English, it means to wash inside the vagina with water or a combination of water and a cleaning product, such as vinegar, iodine, or baking powder. Douches sold in drugstores additionally typically contain antiseptics and fragrances. These types of douches come in a bottle and are sprayed into the vagina through a nozzle or tube.

However, these harsh soaps and cleansers can interfere with the body’s pH balance. Douching can change the necessary balance of the bacteria and acidity that naturally occurs in the vagina. The vagina maintains itself by creating a mucous discharge. If this balance is altered and washed away, you may end up with sexual, bacterial or yeast infections.

Overall, douching’s negative consequences outweigh any advantages. Here are only a few problems connected to douching:

  • Vaginal infections– Vaginal infections can increase the risk of preterm labor and endometriosis.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease- PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. Research has found that douching significantly increases the likelihood of getting an infection in your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
  • Pregnancy complications – When a woman douches weekly she increase her risk of preterm birth and an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo is outside the uterus.
  • Vaginal irritation and dryness

So how do you stay clean? Rinsing the outside of your vagina with warm water will not harm your vagina. Regular bathing, avoiding tight, restrictive clothing, and changing out of wet or sweaty clothes will prevent unpleasant odors and infections. It’s best just to use unscented soaps and water for cleansing and avoid scented tampons, pads, powders, and sprays. Those extra ingredients can irritate the delicate tissues in your vagina. Your body naturally flushes out and cleans your vagina. Any strong odor or irritation usually means something is wrong; visit with your doctor or nurse if you notice changes.


Keeping your vagina clean and healthy

The vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions (discharge). Find out how to help your vagina keep clean and healthy, and why you don’t need douches or vaginal wipes.

The vagina is a tube of muscle inside a woman’s body that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vaginal opening.

The external sex organs, which are called the vulva, surround the vaginal opening.

Looking after your everyday health can help keep your vagina in good shape, says Dr Suzy Elneil, consultant in urogynaecology at University College Hospital, London, and spokesperson for Wellbeing of Women.

“Generally, good vaginal health is maintained by making sure you’re in good general health,” she explains. “This includes a healthy diet and exercise.

“Normal exercise helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor to tone up and ensure good general health.”

Find out more about having a healthy diet, exercise and keeping fit. Pelvic floor exercises can also help.

Video: how and when should I do pelvic floor exercises?

In this video, a midwife explains how to do pelvic floor exercises and when you can practise them.

Media last reviewed: 27 February 2017
Media review due: 17 March 2020

Vaginal secretions or discharge

Other than your period as part of your natural menstrual cycle, it’s normal to produce clear or white secretions (discharge) from your vagina.

This mucus is produced naturally from the neck of the womb, known as the cervix.

“Vaginal discharge is not ‘always a bad sign’,” says Dr Elneil. “There is a myth that copious clear or white discharge is associated with sexually transmitted infections.

“Changes in the amount of discharge can be 100% hormonal – in other words, linked to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause.”

The character and amount of vaginal discharge varies throughout your menstrual cycle.

Around the time your ovary releases an egg (ovulation), your discharge usually becomes thicker and stretchy, like raw egg white.

Healthy discharge doesn’t have a strong smell or colour. You may feel an uncomfortable wetness, but you shouldn’t have any itching or soreness around your vagina.

If there are any changes to your discharge that aren’t normal for you, such as a change in colour or it starts to smell or itch, see your GP as you might have an infection.

Find out more about vaginal discharge, pregnancy and the menopause.

Bacteria in the vagina

There are lots of bacteria inside the vagina, and they’re there to protect it.

Professor Ronnie Lamont, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says: “The vagina contains more bacteria than anywhere else in the body after the bowel, but the bacteria are there for a reason.”

The good bacteria inside the vagina:

  • provide “numerical dominance” – they outnumber other potential harmful bacteria that might enter the vagina
  • help keep the vagina’s pH balance (how acidic the vagina is) at an even level, which helps keep the balance of bacteria healthy
  • can produce bacteriocins (naturally occurring antibiotics) to reduce or kill other bacteria entering the vagina
  • produce a substance that stops invading bacteria sticking to the vagina walls, which prevents bacteria invading the tissues

If the balance of bacteria is disturbed, this can lead to infection and inflammation.

Bacteria called lactobacilli help keep the vagina’s pH balance at its normal low level (less than pH 4.5), which also prevents the growth of other organisms.

If the pH of the vagina increases (it gets less acidic), the quality or amount of lactobacilli can fall and other bacteria can multiply.

This can result in infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, which can cause symptoms including itching, irritation and abnormal discharge.

Washing your vagina

It’s a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation.

Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day.

The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge).

“During your period, washing more than once a day may be helpful,” says Dr Elneil, who points out that keeping the perineal area between the vagina and anus clean is important, too.

“Good perineal hygiene is necessary by washing that area at least once a day using your normal bathing routines.”

“All women are different,” says Professor Lamont. “Some may wash with perfumed soap and not notice any problems.

“But if a woman has vulval irritation or symptoms, one of the first things you can do is use non-allergenic, plain soaps to see if that helps.”

Vaginal douches

A douche flushes water up into the vagina, clearing out vaginal secretions. Some women use a douche to “clean” the vagina.

But using a douche can disrupt the normal vaginal bacteria, so it isn’t recommended that you use one.

“I can’t think of any circumstances where douches are helpful, because all they do is wash out everything that’s in the vagina, including all the healthy bacteria,” explains Professor Lamont.

There’s no evidence that douching protects against STIs or vaginal infections, and it may even increase the risk.

Scented wipes and vaginal deodorants

These perfumed products can disrupt the vagina’s healthy natural balance.

“If nature had intended the vagina to smell like roses or lavender, it would have made the vagina smell like roses or lavender,” says Professor Lamont.

Washing with water and a plain soap should be all you need to keep your vagina healthy. It’s normal for the vagina to have a scent.

“Vaginal odour can change at different times of the reproductive cycle and shouldn’t always be thought of as being a sign of infection or illness,” says Dr Elneil.

If you’re worried about the way your vagina smells, the smell is unpleasant or you’re using perfumed products to cover up your vagina’s smell, you should see your GP. You might have an infection that needs treatment.

The most common cause of unusual vaginal discharge is bacterial vaginosis, which can cause an unpleasant smell. It’s easily treated with antibiotics, so see your GP if you’re worried.

Find out more about symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, symptoms of thrush, and symptoms that could signal a sexually transmitted infection.

Safer sex

Some bacteria and viruses can get into the vagina during sex.

These include the bugs that cause chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis and HIV.

You can protect your vagina against these infections by using a condom every time you have sex.

Get tips on using condoms

Cervical screening

All women aged from 25 to 64 are invited for cervical screening.

Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cervix can be identified early on and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.

Find out more about cervical screening

Page last reviewed: 18 October 2018
Next review due: 18 October 2021

Bacterial vaginosis – Illnesses & conditions

Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection. It’s an imbalance of the usual bacteria found in the vagina, and can cause an abnormal vaginal discharge which can smell fishy and unpleasant.

How do I get bacterial vaginosis?

Bacteria called lactobacilli naturally live in your vagina and stop other bacteria from growing there.

It’s not fully understood why, but sometimes the balance of these bacteria changes. If this happens you can develop bacterial vaginosis.

Bacteria other than lactobacilli overgrow in the vagina and usually cause symptoms.

Bacterial vaginosis can’t be passed from person to person but it’s more common in people who are sexually active.

Other things that may increase your risk of getting it include:

  • Having a new sexual partner
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Smoking
  • Using scented soaps or perfumed bubble bath
  • Putting antiseptic liquids in the bath
  • Douching (washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other fluids)
  • Using vaginal deodorant
  • Using strong detergents to wash your underwear

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

Often there are no symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, but some women may notice a change in the normal discharge from the vagina.

This discharge will usually be white or grey, thin or watery and have a strong, unpleasant fishy smell. This can be more noticeable during and after sex, and during periods.

Bacterial vaginosis does not usually cause itching or irritation.

Testing for bacterial vaginosis

If you think you have bacterial vaginosis you can make an appointment with your GP or local Sexual Health Services.

Your nurse or doctor may use a swab to collect a sample of the discharge from your vagina.

A swab looks a bit like a cotton bud and collecting a sample only takes a few minutes. Although not painful, it may be a little uncomfortable for a moment.

A specially coated paper may be used to test the pH (alkaline/acid balance) of your vagina.

Sometimes a diagnosis can be made straightaway because of the distinctive appearance of the discharge or sometimes the sample will be sent to a lab for testing.

Treatment for bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics. An antibiotic cream or gel to use in the vagina may be given instead of antibiotic tablets by mouth.

Whilst you’re there, make sure you tell the doctor or nurse if you are pregnant or think you might be, or if you are breastfeeding – it may also affect the type of treatment you are given.

Avoiding passing on bacterial vaginosis to a partner

You can still have sex whilst you are being treated for bacterial vaginosis because it’s not sexually transmitted. However, antibiotics and cream can affect condoms and other contraception, so speak to your doctor or pharmacist who can give you more information.

Reducing the risk of getting bacterial vaginosis

The causes of bacterial vaginosis are not fully understood, so it may not be possible to completely prevent it. However, you may be able to lower your risk of developing it by:

  • Not using scented soaps and perfumed bubble bath
  • Not using vaginal deodorant
  • Not douching (washing or cleaning out your vagina)
  • Not putting antiseptic liquids in the bath
  • Not using strong detergent
  • Avoiding triggers that you’ve identified yourself

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Bacterial vaginosis information (BSL)

Douching – Consumer Health News

What is vaginal douching?

Vaginal douching is the ancient practice of rinsing the vagina for hygienic purposes. Millions of women around the world do it, and a recent survey found that in the United States nearly 30 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40 douche regularly. Both store-bought preparations and homemade ones often consist of vinegar and water, although some women douche with water alone. Others may use a mixture of water and medicinal herbs.

Is douching important for feminine hygiene?

No. The vagina has its own self-cleaning mechanism — good bacteria that help keep it healthy. These bacteria (most of which go by the name Lactobacilli) do that by controlling the growth of bad bacteria that can cause infection. Douching disturbs this delicate balance by reducing the number of protective Lactobacilli, thus creating an environment in which bad bacteria can flourish.

Some women say they like to douche because it makes them feel cleaner, particularly after menstruation or sexual intercourse. But washing your outer genital area daily is enough for good hygiene. If you don’t feel clean because you notice an unpleasant vaginal odor or unusual discharge, or if you’re experiencing itching, redness, or burning, you should see your doctor; an infection may be the culprit.

Can douching do any harm?

Yes. Doctors discourage douching because it can lead to serious infections. If good bacteria like Lactobacilli are washed out of the vagina as a result of douching, bad bacteria can multiply uncontrolled. That leaves you open to infections such as bacterial vaginosis, which is associated with a serious condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease. The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include vaginal itching, excessive discharge, and a fishy odor.

Douching can also increase the likelihood of vaginal yeast infections, which three out of four women contract at least once before they reach menopause. Yeast is naturally present in a woman’s vagina, but if douching destroys too many Lactobacilli, it can grow rapidly and cause intense discomfort. A yeast infection is characterized by burning or itching, a thick cottage-cheese-like discharge, and redness or swelling of the vulva (the outer lips of the vagina). The symptoms may also include pain or soreness during sexual intercourse and burning during urination.

Women who douche more than once or twice a month are also at increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, reports the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Some researchers believe the reason is that the upward stream of fluid introduced into the vagina by douching helps carry bad bacteria into the Fallopian tubes and uterus. Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia, is a serious infection of the upper reproductive tract, uterus, or Fallopian tubes. It can also result in permanent scarring or blockage of the tubes. The most common symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease are a persistent stomachache and abdominal pain; some women also experience chills, fever, and nausea. If you douche regularly and have any of the symptoms described above, consult your doctor immediately.

Can douching affect my fertility?

If you’re trying to get pregnant, don’t douche. A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that women who douche are less likely to conceive in any given month. The practice was linked to a whopping 50 percent decrease in monthly fertility in women between the ages of 18 and 24, and a nearly 30 percent decrease in fertility among women aged 25 to 29. Those who douched more than once a week had the lowest pregnancy rate. After a year of trying to get pregnant, 27 percent of women who douched failed to conceive, compared with 10 percent of those who didn’t douche or douched only rarely. (Though the National Womens Health Information Center cautions not to use douching as birth control because it may make pregnancy easier by pushing sperm further into the cervix.)

For pregnant women, douching poses other dangers. A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that there’s a correlation between frequent douching and low-birthweight babies — infants who weigh less than 5.5 pounds and are likely to suffer more serious health problems than babies of normal size. Researchers discovered that in a group of nearly 4,700 women, the 650 who douched two to three times a week had a 40 percent greater chance of delivering underweight babies than women who didn’t douche. Some experts have speculated that this is because a woman who douches is more likely to get an infection that can penetrate the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the fetus.

Other studies show douching may increase a woman’s chance of an ectopic pregnancy, when a woman’s fertilized egg attaches to the inside of her fallopian tubes. Left untreated, this condition can be life-threatening and make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant in the future, according to the National Women’s Health Information Center

Is douching ever recommended?

Some doctors occasionally recommend douching for certain vaginal infections. In the majority of cases, they suggest a douche consisting of Lactobacilli-rich Acidophilus, which can be found in health food stores. The best advice is to douche only if your doctor recommends it.


Douching Frequently Asked Questions. Womens Health.gov. last updated May 18, 2010

Baird DD, et al. Vaginal douching and reduced fertility. Am J Public Health 1996 Jun;86(6):844-50.

Jeffrey T. Kirchner. Prevalence of Vaginal Douching Despite its Adverse Effects. American Family Physician Feb 1, 2000.

Ness RB, et al. Douching and endometriosis: results from the PID evaluation and clinical health (PEACH) study. Sex Transm Dis 2001 Apr;28(4):240-5.

Zhang J, et al. Vaginal douching and adverse health effects: a meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 1997 Jul;87(7):1207-11.

National Womens Health Information Center. Douching. December 2005.

What’s Up Down There? – Advanced Women’s Healthcare: Dallas OBGYN

Dr. Amie Napier Discusses the Basics of a Healthy Vagina

What is a normal vagina? A normal vagina is one you are not constantly thinking about due to abnormal discharge, irritation or odor.

A vagina is not a sterile place, but if everything is in harmony (enough good bacteria and few bad bacteria or yeast) you should not constantly be thinking about it. It is not normal to have a constant heavy discharge. This usually indicates an overgrowth of yeast or bad bacteria or something worse, like a sexually transmitted infection.

Do not douche to try and clean yourself. Vinegar douches actually help the bad bacteria grow more. If you are compelled to douche for whatever reason – use a baking soda douche or warm water. It is normal to have a scant white or clear discharge, especially around ovulation. This tends to get more pronounced the older one becomes. Women on birth control pills tend to have less normal discharge.

Frequent Vaginal Bacterial or Yeast Infections?

You may need an anti-fungal cream or pill or vaginal/oral antibiotic, especially if you are miserably symptomatic. One way to try and combat yeast and bad bacteria is to increase the good bacteria in your vagina. There are several ways this can be done.

  • Take a “probiotic” dietary supplement; i.e. good bacteria in a pill – like eating gallons of yogurt a day; be sure to take with food so the stomach acid doesn’t kill all of the good bacteria. When you are really symptomatic I would take it with every meal 3 times/day. For maintenance you could get away with just taking it once daily. Not a bad idea to have your partner take it as well.
  • Put the good bacteria back in your vagina. This can do this by douching with diluted buttermilk or plain yogurt.
  • Get lots of good bacteria in your diet. Eat fresh, unprocessed food (yes it always comes back to your diet) and avoid processed foods full of chemicals and devoid of beneficial nutrients and bacteria.
  • Change the pH of your vagina. Take a daily vitamin C supplement or try vaginal boric acid suppositories.

More Tips and Tricks For a Healthy Vagina

  • Get rid of those panty liners for daily use. Most of them do not breathe at all and yeast loves trapped moisture.
  • If you are dealing with external yeast (on the perineum, inner thighs), dry off with a blow dryer on cool setting. You would be amazed how wet you stay down there after a bath or shower.
  • Urinate after sex and rinse off after oral intercourse. The mouth can be a dirty place!
  • Wipe front to back and wear cotton panties, just like your mother told you!
  • No double dipping! Don’t have anal intercourse followed by vaginal intercourse. You are asking for a vaginal infection.


Why Does My Vagina Smell? How To Get Rid Of Vaginal Odor

Anyone with a vagina has probably wondered at least once if their life, Why does my vagina smell? But let’s get one thing out of the way right now: Despite what your awful ex or the latest douching ads say, your vagina is supposed to have a bit of an odor.

“Just like with the gut, the vagina has its own microbiome filled with different bacteria and yeast, many of which are incredibly helpful,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. And, yep, those bacteria give your vag its signature scent.

But what does that typically smell like? “The acidic pH naturally found in the vagina might make it a little sour smelling, sometimes a little musty,” says Christine Masterson, MD, ob-gyn and chief of the women and children’s service line at Summit Medical Group. “But it shouldn’t be an overwhelming odor.”

Still, there are times when you catch a waft that smells a bit off from your normal. The cause can be as innocuous as sweat or more serious, like an infection, says Dr. Minkin, so it’s worth taking a deeper whiff (yes, really), especially if the unusual aroma is accompanied by symptoms like itching or discharge.

Curious about an abnormal scent down there? Scan through to see if your detected smell is on our list and the possible cause(s), and don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out by a professional either way.

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It’s probably: bacterial vaginosis (BV)

The most likely culprit behind this scent is bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The infection can creep in when the vagina’s pH gets thrown out of whack by an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, says Dr. Minkin.

Docs aren’t sure why this happens, but BV isn’t an STI, stresses Dr. Minkin, so BV on its own is pretty harmless. Still, you may be able to re-balance your vaginal acidity with some over-the-counter “pH warfare,” says Dr. Minkin. Check your local drugstore for a pH gel, which is designed to balance out your vagina’s pH and nix odors.

If this doesn’t take away the smell within a week or so, see your ob-gyn. You might need an antibiotic to clear up the infection, or you might actually have trichomoniasis, a common and easily treatable (via antibiotics) STI.


It’s probably: a yeast infection

Most yeast infections aren’t terribly smelly, but occasionally the thick, cottage cheese-like discharge that’s a hallmark of the itchy nuisance has a faint scent of beer or yeast. If you notice redness or burning around your vagina, or have pain after you pee, this is the likely cause, says Dr. Minkin.

Diabetic women may especially notice this since yeast feed on sugar, and diabetic women tend to have more glucose (a.k.a. sugar) in their vaginal secretions, says Dr. Minkin. See your doc about what’s going on down there, and she might prescribe something or recommend something you can buy OTC.


It’s probably: trapped sweat and discharge in your underwear

Two questions: Did you just pound out a major sweat session at the gym and are you wearing synthetic underwear (think: nylon or polyester)?

Exercise and non-breathable knickers can cause a musky smell from trapped sweat, says Dr. Minkin. It should go away as soon as you shower (use just water or a mild soap). To minimize the scent in the future, switch to cotton undies (or at least ones that have a cotton lining) and don’t sit around with sweaty clothes.

“Sometimes citrus fruit can cause a sweet odor.”


It’s probably: an old tampon

Of all the scents your vagina can have, this is definitely the most concerning one. A tampon that’s been left in your vagina for days or longer can smell rancid or foul. “The scent is brought on by an overgrowth of bacteria in a confined space,” she says.

To dislodge it yourself, lie on your back or squat with one foot propped on the toilet, then reach into your vagina with clean fingers to search for the string. No luck? See your ob-gyn who can use a speculum to get the job done.

One thing to note, though: If left behind too long the bacteria can sometimes lead to a more serious infection that may require medical treatment. If you know your tampon’s been in for more than eight hours and you’ve got flu-like symptoms (fever, nausea, achiness), see a doc, ASAP.


It’s probably: your period

Blood (you know, from your period) can change the pH of your vagina, making it smell coppery or tinny, says Dr. Minkin. You can wash your vulva with non-irritating, unscented soap—just avoid going crazy with strong scented soaps because they can throw the pH even further out of whack, says Dr. Minkin. But other than that, you’ve just gotta ride this one out.


It’s probably: BV

There’s a couple different reasons why your vagina might take on a chemical smell of bleach or ammonia: Dr. Masterson says that BV—which, again, usually smells fishy—can sometimes smell like ammonia instead.

There’s also a chance that the smell is actually coming from your urine, especially if you’re dehydrated. Lastly, Dr. Masterson says that intercourse (specifically the low-acid pH level of sperm) can trigger an ammonia smell, and so can any lubricants and spermicides you might have used. Basically, you can wait this smell out a little bit to see if it fades on its own. If it doesn’t in a few days, check in with your ob-gyn.


It’s probably: your diet or a yeast infection

If you notice a sweet smell down there, you might not be super inclined to think anything is wrong (it’s better than a rotten smell, right?!). And you’re pretty much right: Dr. Masterson says this is usually diet-related. “Sometimes citrus fruit can cause a sweet odor,” she says. “Asparagus and garlic are known to change the way urine and discharge smell, too.”

That said, she adds that yeast can sometimes cause a sweet odor, so if you’re also having symptoms of a yeast infection, grab an OTC treatment or check in with your doc.

When To See A Doctor

If you’re concerned about your vaginal odor, you shouldn’t hesitate to see your doctor, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD. But, if you want to ride it out a little, Dr. Wider says it’s okay to wait a few days to see if the scent you’re concerned about goes away. If the odor sticks around past then, you’ll definitely want to call your health care provider—especially if it comes with other symptoms like discharge, burning, and itching.

Why is it so important to get checked out? “Certain untreated infections can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes which can cause long term issues, including fertility problems,” Dr. Wider says.

Finally, keep this in mind: “You should never be embarrassed to speak to your health care provider,” Dr. Wider says. “Vaginal issues are one of the more common reasons that women visit their doctor, so you are certainly not alone.” And, if you feel like you can’t talk to your doctor about this stuff, Dr. Wider says it may be time to find a new one. “An open and honest relationship with your doctor is vital for your overall health and well-being,” she says.

Tracy Middleton
Tracy Middleton, the Health Director of Women’s Health, has more than 20 years’ experience covering health and wellness.

Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley is a freelancer writer from Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and three sons.

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“Beware of douching” – Yandex.Q

Douching – “flushing” from the vagina all “excess” with water or solutions of soda, potassium permanganate, iodine, vinegar and so on. There are ready-made pharmaceutical solutions in convenient packages with tips that help to easily inject the solution into the vagina.

Should I douche?

There is no vaginal health benefit from douching, but the harm can be very serious.

Douching changes the acidity and balance of the vaginal flora.Normally, the vagina is acidic – it protects it from infections and irritation. Also, douching can lead to excessive growth of conditioned pathogens, cause candidal colpitis or bacterial vaginosis.

If you have already there is an inflammatory process in the vagina, douching can “push” “bad” bacteria into the uterine cavity, fallopian tubes, ovaries and abdominal cavity. It will lead to the spread of infection and the onset of inflammatory processes in the pelvic organs, which can have very serious consequences.

To date, it has been proven that douching causes:

  1. Bacterial vaginosis.
  2. Inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs.
  3. May cause ectopic and premature birth.
  4. Douching makes it easier to “penetrate” sexually transmitted infections, including HIV (if you have unprotected sex).
  5. Vaginal irritation or dryness.

Can I douch to get rid of an unpleasant odor from the vagina or eliminate itching, pain, burning, discharge?

No, you can’t.This can temporarily eliminate unpleasant symptoms, but after that it will get even worse. See your doctor to find out the reasons and get treated.

There is no need to take a “vaginal shower”, the vagina is able to “wash” and “cleanse itself” in a natural way and it does not need your help.
You should be aware that healthy vaginal discharge can have a “mild” odor that changes throughout the day. Physical activity can impart a stronger, musky aroma, this is normal.

Can douching before or after sex to prevent STIs?

No.It can actually only increase the risk of contracting STIs, including HIV.

Do I need to douche if I have sex without a condom or if it breaks?

No. See the previous answer. Also, it will not help prevent pregnancy. See your doctor, think about emergency contraception, get tested for infections.

How does douching affect pregnancy?

Studies have shown that women who douche at least once a month are more likely to have difficulty conceiving than women who do not.Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy and premature birth.

Convincing? Promise me that you will never douche more than ?!

90,000 Odorless discharge What types of discharge do women have?

In the vast majority of cases, the discharge is absolutely normal and not a cause for concern, but there are still some types of discharge that should be alarming and require a doctor’s consultation.

What is vaginal discharge? What kind of discharge is normal?

Vaginal secretions are produced by various glands within the vagina and cervix.These glands produce small amounts of fluids, also called vaginal secretions or lubricants. This fluid flows out of the vagina every day, helping the organ clear of dead cells that appear on the walls of the vagina. It is an absolutely natural and healthy process by which our body maintains the health and purity of the organs of the female reproductive system.

Discharge differs from woman to woman. In some, the discharge is more abundant and occurs every day, and in some, it is noticeable only during certain phases of the cycle.

Normal vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky in color and may have a slight odor. Unfortunately, a harmful stereotype is widespread that there should be no smell, but not any odorless vaginal discharge is a sign of pathology, but only those whose smell is pungent or unpleasant.

It is also important to remember that the discharge changes depending on the phase of the cycle, this is especially noticeable during ovulation, when the discharge becomes more and it becomes more slimy, similar in texture to egg white.

During such periods, many women experience some discomfort, because the volume of discharge becomes quite significant, for some it increases 20-30 times compared to normal. Of course, it is unpleasant to feel that your panties are wet in the middle of the day, so for convenience, Kotex panty liners are especially relevant on such days. Kotex panty liners are ideal for all types of discharge. The daily panty liners of the new Kotex Natural line are made from 100% cotton and tested by dermatologists, they are hypoallergenic, which is especially important for sensitive skin and the bacterial environment of the intimate zone.

But, of course, you need to be able to distinguish between normal and pathological discharge.

What are the types of discharge?

A curdled, odorless discharge and an abundant white discharge with an odor.

These are typical signs of thrush. Other symptoms: vaginal itching, soreness, burning, pain. Some women have pain during sex and urination, and redness, swelling, or a rash in the pubic area. You need to see a doctor.

Transparent discharge with an odor

If the smell is not harsh or unpleasant, then this is a normal type of discharge for the period of ovulation.

Profuse, yellow, odorless discharge.

Such secretions are a sign of a bacterial infection, they are characteristic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), for example, for gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. They are characterized by an unpleasant, pungent odor. You need to see a doctor, get tested for STDs and, in case of positive results, inform your sexual partners. Other symptoms: itching, inflammation, pain, but these symptoms are not always present.

Bloody discharge with an unpleasant odor.

Such discharge is normal during ovulation and 1-2 days before and after menstruation. The smell is due to the presence of hemoglobin in the blood. In air, it oxidizes, and the blood acquires a characteristic metallic odor. In other periods of the cycle, such discharge is not normal, they can be a sign of serious illness.

In general, discharge with an unpleasant odor in women is abnormal, and in itself is a reason to consult a gynecologist for advice. Most often, pathological discharge is associated with STDs.

What diseases are atypical discharge?

Bacterial vaginosis.

A fairly common type of bacterial infection. Causes a fairly abundant discharge, often with a pungent, “fishy” odor, but may be asymptomatic. Increased risk of getting sick in women who have multiple sex partners.


Disease caused by protozoa unicellular organisms is sexually transmitted. Symptoms vary, and most often it is impossible to diagnose it on your own.Even in the absence of symptoms, the carrier can transmit the disease to other people, and it is possible to become infected not only during sex, but also during a kiss or using a single toothbrush or towel.


Fungal infection, in addition to discharge, itching and burning are characteristic of it. Caused by the abnormal multiplication of a fungus, which is also present in the healthy flora of the vagina. Risk factors: stress, diabetes, taking oral contraceptives, pregnancy, taking antibiotics.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Another 2 types of sexually transmitted infections. They develop when abnormal bacteria multiply in the vagina and other reproductive organs.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.

HPV is sexually transmitted and can lead to cervical cancer. Often asymptomatic, but may cause bloody, brown, or watery discharge. It is very important to undergo an annual examination by a gynecologist and do a PAP test, which determines if there are cancer cells in the uterus.In addition, a vaccine against this virus is already available these days.

What can be done to reduce the risk of infection?

  1. Observe your hygiene, wash yourself every day with a mild, gentle soap or special gel without fragrances. You can only wash the vagina from the outside; soap should not get inside. This will help maintain the acid-base balance, which is essential for a healthy microflora.
  2. Never douche, especially with aggressive agents. Douching does NOT cleanse the vagina of harmful bacteria, it flushes out all bacteria from the inside, including beneficial ones, namely, they fight disease-causing ones.Even douching with water can disrupt the bacterial balance of the vagina. There is no scientific evidence that douching can help prevent STDs and vaginal infections. Moreover, it only increases the risk of infection.
  3. After using the toilet, always wipe your vagina from the clitoris to the anus. This will help prevent harmful bacteria from entering.
  4. Try to give preference to 100% cotton underwear and avoid clothes that are too tight. Unnatural linens and tight items can cause excessive sweating, and warm and humid places are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.Of course, if you want to wear something special, then there won’t be much harm from a couple of times, but such things are not intended to be worn on an ongoing basis.
  5. Use condoms EVERY time you have sex without the intention of conceiving a child. Feel free to ask your partner to show you an STD certificate. Your health is much more important than someone else’s selfishness and dangerous stereotypes. Remember that many infections are transmitted not only through sexual contact, but also with other bodily fluids, such as saliva from kissing or oral sex.
  6. Use breathable sanitary napkins and change them as instructed and as they become dirty. The blood that comes out of the body is sterile, but bacteria grow in a warm and humid environment over time.
  7. During menstruation, it is better to wash yourself a couple of times a day.
  8. Do not use vaginal fragrances or deodorants. It is normal that you have your own smell, and if it is not harsh and unpleasant, then it is not a sign of illness.

All women between the ages of 25 and 65 must have a cervical examination and a PAP test annually with a gynecologist (during which a sample of cells is taken, and the laboratory checks if they are cancerous). This helps to track cancer in the early stages of development.
Please remember that this disease responds well to treatment in its early stages. It also makes sense to take a test for the presence of human papillomavirus, and if you are not infected, get vaccinated.

90,000 Five things to know about the vagina

  • Paula McGrath
  • Air Force Health Correspondent

task to fix it.

Physician Jennifer Hunter has been a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in the United States and Canada for 25 years. She is an ardent defender of women’s health, and now she is actively teaching them on social networks, so she is also called the “in-house gynecologist” of Twitter.

Jennifer recently denied claims that inserting jade eggs into the vagina normalizes “hormonal balance, menstrual cycle and bladder function.” She explained that the idea was not part of the ancient Chinese tradition, as her adepts claim, and has no scientific backing.

Hunter’s latest book, The Vagina Bible, has become a bestseller in several countries. It contains many practical tips to empower women and help them take care of their health. Here are some facts she thinks every woman should know.

Photo author, Emma Russell

1. Do not confuse the vagina with the vulva

The vagina is located inside the body – it is a muscular canal that connects the uterus with the outside world. What you can see from the outside, the part that touches your clothes is the vulva.

Hunter says it is important to know and use the correct terminology.

“If you can’t pronounce the words” vagina “or” vulva “, then it seems that there is something dirty or shameful about it,” says the gynecologist.

She notes that the medical term pudenda, which describes the outside of the vulva, comes from the Latin pudet, which means shame.

The doctor believes that the use of such labels is harmful to the woman not only on the emotional but also on the medical level, because patients cannot accurately describe what is happening to them and do not receive the correct treatment.

2. Capable of self-cleaning

The gynecologist noticed that over the past 10 years the attitude of women towards intimate hygiene has changed a lot.

Many people want to get rid of vaginal odor. For example, last year alone in North America, about 57% of women went through the procedure “cleansing” the vagina, and most of them say that they are encouraged to do so by their sexual partners.

“However, a woman’s vagina does not require additional cleaning,” explains Jennifer Hunter.“It can cleanse itself.”

Vaginal cells renew every 96 hours – much faster than other parts of the skin – because the vagina is a naturally regenerative organ.

Hunter especially warns against douching with perfumed sprays. in fact, the effect will be the opposite.

“This is a vagina, not a pina colada,” she explains, “and douching acts like a cigarette on it.”

Even water can disrupt a sensitive “intimate” ecosystem, increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections …

Another trendy procedure is steaming. It is not only superfluous, but can also lead to burns.

Only wash outside. If necessary, you can use a mild cleanser.

But even soap can upset the pH balance or destroy the natural bacterial flora of the vagina.

Menopause is a separate topic.

Hormonal changes can be accompanied by dryness and discomfort in the vagina. In such cases, the doctor advises using, for example, coconut or olive oil.

Photo author, Emma Russell

3. “Intimate Garden”

A whole army of “good” bacteria lives in a woman’s vagina, which help to maintain its health.

“The vaginal microbiome is like a garden, where different types of bacteria coexist to maintain a healthy vaginal ecosystem,” says Hunter.

Beneficial bacteria create a slightly acidic environment, stop the action of any harmful bacteria, and also contribute to the formation of mucus that lubricates the vagina and cervix.

Many are convinced that using antibacterial wipes helps maintain natural pH balance and reduces menstrual odor. However, this is not quite true. Antibacterial wipes can lead to imbalances and vaginal infections.

Jen Hunter also advises not to use a hair dryer to dry the vulva: the skin should be moist there.

Photo author, Emma Russell

4. Hair grows “there” for a reason

The gynecologist also noticed that recently the fashion to remove pubic hair is gaining momentum.The consequences of epilation – wax or sugar – are numerous microtraumas, as well as damage to the genitals.

“Cuts, scrapes, infections – these are the things that we encounter after pubic hair removal,” says Hunter.

If you decide to remove hair, make sure that the master adheres to the rules of hygiene.

When shaving, prepare your skin and move in the direction of hair growth to avoid the risk of ingrown hairs and related infections.

But the main rule is a clean razor.

People should understand all the consequences and make informed choices, says the gynecologist.

“Pubic hair is a kind of protective barrier that should not be removed,” she notes. “It also affects sexual function. Each pubic hair is connected to a nerve end, which is why it is so painful to remove it.”

5. Time is ruthless

With age, female reproductive function deteriorates – the ovaries are depleted and stop producing eggs.

The level of hormones that affect fertility also decreases. Menopause begins, and this cannot but affect the vagina and vulva.

Tissues that previously retained their natural moisture atrophy, therefore, during sex, unpleasant sensations, dryness and pain may occur.

In such a situation, Jennifer Hunter advises to see a doctor. However, some women solve this problem with an over-the-counter lubricant (lubricating gel).

“I think women should know about this,” she says. “They shouldn’t suffer.”

There is another myth that sex heals everything. But this is certainly not the case.

Even sex is powerless against microtrauma of vaginal tissues, which can make them vulnerable to infections.

Vaginal discharge: types, causes, deviations

Types of discharge

Depending on the amount of mucus produced, the discharge is divided into scanty, abundant and normal.

Lean is called discharge, which is not enough for the normal functioning of the vagina and external genital organs. The mucous membranes begin to dry out, crack. During intercourse, friction and pain are felt. Lean discharge is the result of hormonal changes due to age, endocrine disease, or the use of hormonal drugs.

Excessive discharge is a discharge that results in a constant sensation of moisture in the vagina.They are visible on underwear. Abundant discharge can be diagnosed in young women during ovulation in the middle of the menstrual cycle, they are transparent and do not have an unpleasant odor. During pregnancy, especially before childbirth, the discharge also becomes more abundant. This is a healthy discharge and should not be feared. If the consistency, volume, color or smell of the discharge changes, this indicates the onset of a pathological process.

A natural discharge is a discharge that sufficiently moisturizes the vagina and is not disturbing.In the presence of normal discharge, additional moisture to the vagina before intercourse is not required.

In terms of consistency, the discharge differs into watery, slimy, curdled and frothy.

  • Fluid discharge – watery and slimy – odorless and colorless. Watery discharge is noted in the middle of the cycle during ovulation, mucous membranes appear during intercourse and serve as a lubricant.
  • Thick, cheesy discharge indicates the presence of a fungal infection.Doctors usually diagnose candidiasis. The discharge resembles liquid cottage cheese, they are not uniform in consistency.
  • Foamy discharge indicates the presence of a bacterial infection. This is especially dangerous if they have an unpleasant odor or pronounced color. Foamy discharge is the hallmark of trichomoniasis.

The color of the discharge distinguishes between transparent (normal), white, bloody, yellow, green and brown.

  • Transparent discharge is the norm.They are usually invisible on underwear and on the body.
  • Thick white discharge indicates the presence of candidiasis (thrush). In a healthy state, white discharge may appear before childbirth.
  • Bloody and brown discharge is the most dangerous, as it signals the presence of blood in the vagina. Normally, they are only during menstruation. When taking hormonal contraception, especially in the first months, the appearance of intermenstrual bloody discharge is permissible, this is normal and informs about the adaptation of the body to artificial hormones.In other cases, spotting indicates the presence of a serious pathology or the onset of bleeding.
  • Yellow and green discharge indicates the presence of an infectious and inflammatory process.

By smell, odorless discharge is differentiated, with a sweetish odor, with a sour odor, with an unpleasant odor.

  • The phrase “odorless discharge” is conditional, since all human discharge is characterized by some odor. In a healthy state, this smell is pleasant and subtle.It is individual for each person. Since a person feels it constantly, he eventually ceases to feel it. If a woman does not smell the discharge, you can say that it is odorless discharge.
  • Discharges with a sweetish or sour odor are most often indicative of thrush. Candida fungi use sugar for food, love it, and live in a sugar-rich environment.
  • Foul-smelling discharge is caused by a bacterial infection. They often smell like stale fish.Anaerobic bacteria give the characteristic smell of fish. The stronger the smell, the stronger the infection.

Reasons for the appearance of

Intimate secretions serve as a kind of indicator of the health of the female sphere.

With natural secretions that do not cause discomfort, it can be concluded that the organs of the female reproductive system are healthy. However, regular check-ups with a gynecologist at the beginning of the cycle are still necessary. Many pathological processes pass without symptoms; only a gynecological examination and laboratory tests can show their presence.

Several factors can affect the type of discharge in a healthy woman. This is stress, climate change, taking hormonal drugs, taking strong drugs, allergic reactions. Personal hygiene can also affect the nature of the discharge.

A woman should be concerned when the discharge changes in consistency, acquires a strange color or odor, or changes in intensity. Often such discharge is accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen, itching, cutting in the perineum, irritation of the external genital organs, and discomfort during urination.

There are some symptoms by which the disease can be tentatively identified. Of course, accurate diagnosis is possible only with a doctor after examination and laboratory diagnosis, but the appearance of some can give a more or less accurate picture of the disease.

White curdled discharge with a sweetish or sour odor indicates candidiasis. Other symptoms of candidiasis are:

  • burning, itching in the vagina and external genitals;
  • 90,025 vaginal swelling after intercourse;

  • pain when urinating and during intercourse.

A profuse yellow or bloody discharge with an unpleasant odor may indicate bacterial vaginitis. This is an inflammation of the vagina caused by a violation of the microflora. This means that local immunity cannot restrain the growth of pathogenic bacteria, they attack the cells of the vagina, and the inflammatory process begins. Typical symptoms of bacterial vaginitis:

  • redness, itching and swelling of the genitals;
  • pulling pains in the lower abdomen;
  • soreness of intercourse;
  • slight increase in body temperature;
  • weakness and fatigue;
  • frequent urination.

Abundant, frothy leucorrhoea with an unpleasant odor may indicate trichomoniasis. The causative agent of the disease is Trichomonas. The following symptoms are also observed:

  • Irritation of the genitals and inner thighs;
  • erosion of the mucous membranes of the intimate zone;
  • 90,025 pain when urinating;

  • pain in the lower abdomen;
  • pain during sexual intercourse.

A uniform, yellow-green discharge with an unpleasant odor can be a sign of gonorrhea.It is an acute infectious disease caused by gonococcus and is sexually transmitted. The symptoms of gonorrhea are:

  • itching and pain in the urethra and vagina;
  • 90,025 increase in body temperature;

  • separation of pus from the vagina;
  • Frequent painful urination;
  • enlargement and soreness of the lymph nodes;
  • weakness;
  • nausea;
  • Appetite disturbance.

Serous-purulent discharge with blood often indicates the presence of a cyst in the uterus or its appendages. Symptoms of a cyst, in addition to bloody discharge, are:

  • vaginal discomfort;
  • pain in the lower abdomen;
  • 90,025 pain during intercourse;

  • increase in menstrual flow;
  • menstrual irregularities;
  • soreness of menstruation.

Bright yellow and green discharge in abundance with a very unpleasant odor signals endometritis.This is inflammation of the uterus caused by bacteria or injury. Endometritis symptoms:

  • Acute pain in the abdomen, in the lower part of it;
  • temperature rise with chills;
  • increased heart rate;
  • painful urination;
  • weakness;
  • enlargement of the uterus caused by tissue inflammation;
  • profuse and painful periods;
  • infertility.

Brown discharge when menstruation is delayed can inform about the pathological course of pregnancy, for example, about an ectopic pregnancy.You can judge the likelihood of this pathology by the following symptoms:

  • absence of menstruation;
  • Acute or cramping pain in the lower abdomen, usually on the side;
  • toxicosis and other signs of pregnancy.

This is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention. Even if the pregnancy is uterine, but there is bloody discharge, you should immediately consult a doctor, as this is a sign of a threat of termination of pregnancy.

Which doctor should I contact for unhealthy vaginal discharge

For discharge of an unnatural color, odor or consistency, visit your gynecologist. The doctor will ask about the symptoms, conduct a visual examination, take a swab from the vagina and make a diagnosis based on the results of the tests. The analysis of vaginal discharge will show if there is a bacterial, viral or fungal infection, what is the degree of infection. After that, an ultrasound examination of the organs of the reproductive system is prescribed.An ultrasound will show the size of the organs of the female system, their position, the presence of neoplasms, for example, cysts or tumors, and will help to concretize the diagnosis. In addition, the doctor prescribes a complete blood count, cytological examination and / or colposcopy.

In case of a cyst or tumor, additional consultation with an oncologist is required. If you experience heavy discharge due to stress, it is helpful to see a psychologist. If a sexually transmitted disease is detected, an immunologist consultation will be required.With a long course of disease, it is useful to consult an immunologist and assess the immune status. In case of abundant discharge against the background of allergies, it is recommended to consult an allergist. In children, unhealthy discharge is assessed by a pediatric gynecologist and pediatrician.

How to treat abnormal vaginal discharge

Treatment of problematic discharge should always take place with the participation of a doctor after a thorough diagnosis.

With a bacterial infection and inflammation against its background, antimicrobial drugs are prescribed.Antibiotics are prescribed orally and topically in the form of suppositories, cream, ointment.

For fungal infections, antifungal medications are prescribed. It is worth remembering that thrush is a local manifestation of extensive damage to the body by a fungus, and its treatment is not limited to candles and creams. The bulk of the fungus is located in the intestines, so it is worth treating the entire body as a whole, and not just the vagina.

With a viral infection, antiviral drugs are prescribed.Viruses are dangerous organisms, and doctors have not yet learned how to effectively treat them. Enhancing immunity plays an important role here.

When neoplasms appear, their conservative treatment or removal is possible. Here, the decisive role is played by the nature of the neoplasm – benign or malignant – and the speed of its development.

In case of uterine pregnancy with a threat of miscarriage, the patient is sent to the hospital, the condition of the uterus, placenta, and fetus is examined.With an ectopic pregnancy, immediate removal of the ovum from the woman’s body is required.

In any case, when unhealthy discharge appears, very careful hygiene is required, since many pathological discharge corrodes the skin of the genitals. Sometimes the doctor prescribes baths with medicinal solutions and douching.

There are many alternative methods for treating discharge. They sometimes help, but sometimes they can blur the clinical picture and complicate the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.Of the folk methods, washing with decoctions of herbs is considered safe and useful. Chamomile, calendula, St. John’s wort relieve inflammation, increase local immunity and soothe irritated skin. In no case should foreign objects be introduced into the vagina, as some folk recipes advise. This can harm the microflora and injure the already irritated vaginal mucosa.

How to prevent pathological vaginal discharge

The first rule of preventing painful discharge is regular hygiene.You need to wash yourself every time after using the toilet and in the evening before going to bed. Washing is carried out with clean warm water with special means for intimate hygiene. Ordinary soap can destroy natural microflora and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Hot water kills beneficial lactobacilli, and cold water can exacerbate a viral infection.

Change your underwear daily. Linen must be breathable and absorb moisture, therefore, linen made from natural fabrics – cotton, linen is recommended.Synthetic underwear should not be worn all the time. Tight underwear and thongs irritate the skin of the genitals and reduce local immunity. Gynecologists advise against using panty liners, as they disrupt air exchange. Better to change your underwear more often.

Nutrition also affects the nature of the discharge. Consuming large amounts of sugary foods raises blood sugar and promotes the proliferation of Candida.

The smell of fish is there? Bacterial vaginosis, or vaginal dysbiosis.

Bacterial vaginosis or gardnerellosis is an infectious disease of the female genital area with characteristic abundant vaginal discharge, often with an unpleasant odor and the absence of an inflammatory reaction of the vaginal mucosa. It is characterized by a sharp decrease or even complete absence of lactobacilli. Normally, lactobacilli play a leading role in the vaginal biocenosis, accounting for up to 95% of the microflora and are responsible for its resistance to infectious agents. It is lactobacilli that produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, maintaining the acidic reaction of vaginal secretions and thus suppressing the growth of pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms.

The microflora of the vagina is very changeable and reacts to both external factors and changes in the state of the woman’s body. It is actively influenced by hormonal and physiological changes associated, for example, with puberty, pregnancy, menopause. They are reflected in the biocenosis and the phases of the menstrual cycle, as well as its disorders, sexual activity, taking antibiotics, hormonal therapy, surgical interventions, etc.

Bacterial vaginosis occurs when, as a result of exposure to one or more predisposing factors in the vagina, the number of lactobacilli decreases, the acidic reaction of the environment is replaced by an alkaline one, and thus comfortable conditions are created for the reproduction of opportunistic microorganisms.

Risk factors include:

Hormonal imbalance (during pregnancy, after childbirth, during menopause)

Violation of local immunity

Infectious and inflammatory diseases of the genital area

Taking antibiotics

Long-term use of an intrauterine device

Taking combined
oral contraceptives (COCs)

Frequent change of sexual partners

Stressful situations

Failure to comply with the rules of intimate hygiene
, including frequent douching

Bacterial vaginosis – symptoms in women

The main symptom of bacterial vaginosis in women is abundant discharge with an unpleasant fishy odor, white or gray, creamy consistency.Manifestations intensify before menstruation or after intercourse. Discomfort in the form of itching, burning, discomfort during intercourse, urinary disorders are less common. Symptoms can persist for a long time or periodically arise under the influence of adverse factors. In some cases, the disease is asymptomatic, or patients do not regard changes in vaginal discharge as a deviation from the norm, considering these manifestations to be the result of insufficient intimate hygiene.

Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy

If you develop signs of bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy, you should see your doctor right away. In the absence of adequate treatment and a prolonged course of bacterial vaginosis, there is a threat of infection of the membranes of the membranes and amniotic fluid. This can lead to termination of pregnancy or premature birth. In addition, there is a risk of infection of the fetus and, as a consequence, a delay in its development, prematurity or the birth of a weakened baby with low body weight.And also, the likelihood of postpartum complications increases – endometritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Bacterial vaginosis is diagnosed with a regular vaginal swab and special tests of vaginal contents. In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis must be treated, since the risk of complications is high. For treatment, antibacterial drugs approved for use during pregnancy are used, if possible, local therapy is preferred.After a course of antibiotic therapy, it is imperative to restore normal vaginal microflora.

Features of intimate hygiene for bacterial vaginosis

The main goal of intimate hygiene during the treatment of bacterial vaginosis is to maintain an acidic vaginal environment and normal microflora.

Therefore it is important:

  • exclude the use of soaps, shower gels and other alkaline hygiene products
  • prevent the use of such methods of “traditional medicine” as douching with soda, potassium permanganate (potassium permanganate)
  • use a product containing lactic acid for daily intimate hygiene
  • carry out hygiene procedures at least twice a day
  • use cotton breathable underwear

How to cure bacterial vaginosis

Today, in world and Russian practice, the treatment of bacterial vaginosis is carried out in two stages:

  1. Antimicrobial therapy
  2. Restoration of normal microflora of the vagina

When symptoms appear or signs of bacterial vaginosis are detected during examination, it is important to start treatment in a timely manner.It is categorically not recommended to treat bacterial vaginosis on your own using unverified recipes: there is a possibility of choosing the wrong drug, skipping concomitant infections, which can lead to serious consequences.

Choosing a remedy for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis

Antimicrobials are the main drugs for treating bacterial vaginosis, usually metronidazole and clindamycin are given, and therapy is either oral or topical, depending on the situation.The drugs are aimed at eliminating the activated opportunistic microflora. As part of the complex therapy of this disease, especially in the case of a recurrent course, the immunostimulating drug Epigen Intim Spray can be used. The active ingredient – activated glycyrrhizic acid – has immunostimulating, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic and regenerating effects. Therefore, the Spray not only helps to increase local immunity, but also helps in eliminating such unpleasant symptoms as itching, burning, and discomfort in the intimate area.It is important that Epigen Intim Spray is approved for use during the entire period of pregnancy and lactation.

After a course of antimicrobial therapy, they begin to restore the vaginal microflora. For this, agents containing lactobacilli are used.

For daily intimate care during the treatment of bacterial vaginosis and after recovery, you can use Epigen Intim Gel, which, in addition to activated glycyrrhizic acid, contains lactic acid, which helps to maintain the correct pH and natural microflora of the intimate zone.

Is douching harmful

Doctors told if douching is harmful. A syringe is a device used to introduce a stream of water into a part of the body in order to wash it, GlavUfa writes.

Douching is carried out for medical or hygienic reasons. Many women use a douche to get rid of vaginal odor. Some people find it helps to keep the vagina clean.

Although douching is believed to be regularly practiced by at least 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 and 44, it can have unpleasant and even dangerous consequences.

What Should You Know About Douching?

  • Douching is used to flush, rinse or clean any cavity in the body.
  • There are alternative and safer ways to keep your vagina clean and healthy.
  • Douching can mask and exacerbate underlying health problems.

Why are syringes used?

Douches were originally used by women to wash the vagina.Vaginal douching involves filling a bottle or bag of water and squirting it up into the vagina.

Women sometimes choose to mix water with other liquids, such as vinegar, or buy douches that may contain ingredients such as baking soda, iodine, antiseptics or fragrances.

Women state that they use a syringe for the following reasons:

  • to get rid of unpleasant odors in the vagina
  • prevent pregnancy
  • to wash away bodily fluids such as menstrual blood or semen
  • to reduce the likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted infection

Despite this, it has been proven that douching does not achieve any of these goals.

Is douching safe?

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that women should not use douches.

Vaginal flora is bacteria in the vagina. This keeps the vagina healthy and prevents infection. The woman’s vagina is “self-cleaning” and can maintain the correct pH balance without interference.

Douching can remove good bacteria from the vagina. Using a syringe can alter its pH balance, allow bad bacteria to proliferate, and cause infection, irritation, and more serious complications.

Douching risks

Douching can do more harm than good.

The possibility of complications, some of which can be serious, depends primarily on the reasons why the woman decides to resort to this procedure.


Douching is not an acceptable form of contraception. However, using a syringe can prevent a woman from getting pregnant. In addition, women who bathe regularly may have a more difficult pregnancy.

Pregnant women may experience:

  • early labor
  • increased likelihood of miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy


There is a common misconception that douching can help prevent or get rid of vaginal infections. However, the opposite is also true.

  • Regular douching may increase a woman’s chances of developing a vaginal infection.
  • Disruption of the natural pH balance of the vagina can lead to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
  • In fact, women who douch frequently are five times more likely to develop vaginosis than those who do not.

Using a syringe when an infection is already present is also more likely to worsen the condition and allow it to spread to other parts of the reproductive system.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection.It affects the reproductive organs and can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.

Women who shower regularly have a 73% higher risk of developing PID.


Cervicitis occurs when the cervix becomes irritated or inflamed and this can cause itching, pain, and vaginal discharge. This is another condition that is commonly transmitted through a sexually transmitted infection.

Although natural vaginal odor and some vaginal discharge are perfectly healthy, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a more serious problem.It is:

  • Vaginal discharge that has a strong odor
  • Vaginal discharge that is white, yellow or green
  • vaginal odor that does not go away even after a few days
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • pain when urinating
  • redness or swelling, burning or itching in or around the vagina

If a woman notices any of the above, then it is advisable to seek the advice of a doctor.

Is douching obligatory?

The woman’s vagina cleans itself and by itself gets rid of semen, menstrual blood and other bodily fluids.

Cleaning with a douche or a destructive cleaning method is likely to cause damage to the vagina, which can be severe in some cases.

A woman who is worried about vaginal odor or abnormal discharge should contact her doctor to discuss the matter.Using a syringe to correct these problems can mask underlying problems and can lead to more serious complications if left untreated.

Alternatives to douching

  • Keeping your vagina clean is easy.
  • The easiest way is to wash with water while bathing or showering.
  • The outer folds of the vagina should be gently washed off or sprayed with water.
  • Do not allow soap or detergent to get inside the vagina.

Prevention of vaginal odor

Although the vagina has a natural odor, some women find the odor unpleasant or embarrassing.

Every woman’s vaginal odor is different, and activities such as sex and exercise can change vaginal odor.

There are ways to safely reduce vaginal odor. It is:

  • Hygiene: Keeping the vagina clean by regular washing with water or soap that does not contain harsh chemicals.
  • Clothing: It must be made of breathable materials. Avoid fabrics such as satin, silk and polyester, which restrict airflow and can stimulate bacterial growth.
  • Drying: It is important to thoroughly dry the vagina and surrounding area to avoid excess moisture, which can lead to infection and foul odor.

Do not use harsh detergents to prevent odors for a long time.

The pH balance and good bacteria in the vagina will thus remain intact, and infections and odors will be less likely.

90,000 Aspirin is omnipotent. What can, what cannot

The hero of today is a small white pill that has become one of the record holders in production and sales over the last century (in 1949 it was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling pain reliever). Most likely, it is in your first-aid kit, but even if not, then its contents – aspirin, aka acetylsalicylic acid – will probably be found in some complex preparation.Fans of home experiments can easily find it there: if you drop a solution of copper sulfate on a tablet, it will turn green (and if suddenly you have iron (III) chloride lying around in your house, then in reaction with it, the color will turn out to be purple).

How Aspirin Works

As the name suggests, the acetylsalicylic acid molecule consists of two parts – salicylic acid and an acetyl group. The effect of aspirin on the body is provided by the ability of this molecule to hang its acetyl group on various cellular proteins.As a result, the target proteins change their shape and, as a result, their activity.

Thus, aspirin manages to block the work of the protein cyclooxygenase, which is present in many cells of the body and is needed to convert membrane lipids into distress signals, the so-called inflammatory mediators. When many of these altered signaling lipids accumulate in the blood, other cells begin to respond to them, and this leads to blood clotting, activation of immunity and the development of inflammation.By interfering with the work of cyclooxygenase, aspirin stops the production of inflammatory mediators, and it “calms down”.

What can aspirin do

  1. Aspirin is an analgesic, that is, an anesthetic agent . Nerve endings that transmit pain signals to the brain react, among other things, to the concentration of inflammatory mediators in tissues. The more there are, the more intense the pain signal. By inhibiting their production, aspirin thereby prevents the painful endings from being excited.
  2. Another symptom that aspirin can easily deal with is fever.Just like pain, fever rises because inflammatory mediators accumulate in the blood, so aspirin is often used as an antipyretic agent.
  3. In addition to cells, signaling lipids also act on platelets (which, strictly speaking, are not cells). Under their action, platelets are activated, stick together and start the blood coagulation cascade. Therefore, aspirin is used as anticoagulant and blood thinning agent , for example, in the elderly with a high risk of blood clots.From the age of 50, it is prescribed regularly in low doses, even to healthy people. This prophylaxis has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis. However, for people suffering from bleeding, aspirin is dangerous – if taken, then the chances of stopping the blood becomes even less. So, they say that Grigory Rasputin possessed this valuable knowledge, which strengthened his position at the imperial court: he insisted that Tsarevich Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia, should not be given aspirin in any case – the medicine could be fatal.
  4. Blood thinning is often important during pregnancy. With an increased activity of the mother’s platelets or her immune response to the fetus, preeclampsia develops – a condition in which the pressure is so high that the life of both the child and the mother is threatened. Physicians are still debating whether aspirin really helps in this case, but it has already been established that in low doses it can be used to prevent preeclampsia . However, after the birth of a child, at first, aspirin will be more likely to be dangerous for him.Children and adolescents who take aspirin for viral diseases often develop Ray’s syndrome – for not fully known reasons, the liver and brain are affected, which can lead to death. Therefore, doctors recommend refraining from taking aspirin until at least 16 years of age.
  5. But the most unexpected effect of aspirin is cancer prevention . It turned out that people taking low doses of aspirin for a long time, for various indications, have a reduced likelihood of tumor formation.This is not shown for all types of tumors, but in almost any case, aspirin reduces the number of metastases and increases the patient’s chances of survival.

However, this is not a reason to take aspirin without special indications. In addition to the fact that it promotes bleeding, thinning the blood, it also suppresses the activity of cells in the gastrointestinal tract, which often provokes the development of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.

Aspirin crystals under a microscope. Image: Alexander Klepnev / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

What else can aspirin do

But the miraculous properties of aspirin are not limited to this. People often turn out to be more curious and inventive than doctors – we found 20 alternative ways to use acetylsalicylic acid (we will not give recipes, they are easy to find on the Internet upon request.) So, according to popular advice, you can use it:

  1. Fight acne …
  2. Relieve itching from insect bites.
  3. Alleviate hangover.

Here, apparently, the anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin are used.

  1. Treat dandruff.
  2. Protect soil from pests.
  3. Increase the shelf life of flowers (“to last longer”).
  4. Salt cucumbers.

Apparently, it also has antimicrobial activity.

  1. Cleanse the skin from dead cells.
  2. Remove ingrown hairs.
  3. Soften the skin after shaving.
  4. Strengthen nails.
  5. Get rid of corns and calluses.

Aspirin seems to work just like regular salt here.

  1. Wash sinks.
  2. Clean blockages in pipes.
  3. Protect colored hair from pool bleach.
  4. Remove stains from clothing.
  5. Remove oxide film from metals when brazing.

And in these cases it can be easily replaced with another (more often citric) acid.

  1. Recharge the battery (eg in a car).

Acts like any other electrolyte.

One can only guess what is the reason for such popularity of aspirin among the people. Probably, the scale of its production made it one of the most affordable chemicals on a par with the same citric acid. But it can also be assumed that people’s belief in a magic pill that saves from any ailments has spread to its use in the household: since he so successfully cleans blood vessels from blood clots, then he probably does not care for a blockage in the pipe.

An advertisement for aspirin in the 1923 L’Illustration newspaper. Image: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

What Aspirin Can’t Do

Like any hero, aspirin is also credited with mythical properties, which, unfortunately, it does not possess. So, you cannot use aspirin:

  1. Protect yourself from pregnancy.

This method of contraception appears to be a form of contraception with citric acid. There is an opinion that washing the vagina with citric acid after intercourse leads to strong acidification of the environment and the death of sperm.However, practice shows that the effectiveness of this method is low. In this case, an aspirin tablet works even worse than citric acid, because it has a detrimental effect on the vaginal mucosa, causing its damage. And against sperm that have managed to penetrate deeper, even the almighty aspirin, alas, is powerless.

  1. Change the state of consciousness.

It was believed in the youth culture of the 20th century that the combination of aspirin and Coca-Cola could lead to the most unexpected effects.There were many options for this folklore story: it was believed that such a combination acts as an aphrodisiac, causes euphoria and intoxication, or even can kill a person on the spot. It is said, for example, that every American college had its own version of the story. Perhaps this was a consequence of the fact that adolescents wanted extreme sensations, and what could be better than the magic pill that most adults take (especially with a hangover)?

However, the super drug does not demonstrate miracles here either.Even the great prankster-experimenter Richard Feynman researched this topic, and this is what he got: “… Someone argued that if you take aspirin and Coca-Cola, you will immediately fall into mortal weakness. I told them it was sheer nonsense and suggested they drink aspirin and Coca-Cola together. Then they got into an argument about whether to drink aspirin before Coca-Cola, right after, or together. Then I drank six aspirin and three glasses of Coca-Cola, one after the other. First I took two aspirin and washed it down with a glass of Coca-Cola, then we dissolved two tablets in a glass and I drank that, and finally I drank another glass of Coca-Cola and two aspirin tablets.And each time, these believing idiots stood around me, waiting to pick up when I started to fall. But nothing happened. True, I remember that I slept badly that night, but in the morning I got up normally, made a lot of drawings and worked on some formulas related to what is called the Riemann zeta function. ”

As it turns out, the combination of aspirin and Coca-Cola is not fatal at all. Moreover, the main active ingredient of cola – caffeine – many of us regularly use together with aspirin in the old version of the popular medicine Citramon.