This article was inspired by conversations that I have had recently with a few men, and throughout the years with women, regarding the appropriate “scent” for a woman’s vagina to have (or NOT have).

I feel so strongly about this issue that I even dedicated a radio show to the topic of Vaginal Aromas, and what your vagina “should” smell like. (You can listen to that here!)

First off, let me say that 99.9% of the women I know do feel – or have felt – uncomfortable with the way their vagina smells at some point in their lives.  And given the advertisements we see regarding “feminine odor” and hygiene, it’s no surprise that most women have perceived themselves as being inherently “funky” down south – and not in a good way.

There seems to be a cultural perception that our vagina is supposed to have NO scent whatsoever, and yet that’s totally unrealistic. What’s important to understand is our bodies do have a natural base line scent, and there will always be some sort of aroma associated with your vagina – as there will be with any part of your body, which sweat and lymph glands are associated with.

RELATED: For all you men out there check out this post on the benefits of Manscaping! CLICK HERE

The key is being able to discern if your scent is attributed to the natural, healthy smell of your body or the symptom of an infection or an imbalance in the delicate ecosystem of the vagina.

The way we smell can be affected by a number of different causes such as hormone levels, foods we eat, the fabric of our underwear, even our genetic heritage can determine our baseline body fragrance.

If your body smell is particularly strong and unpleasant, it could be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a more common possibility, bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is a bacterial infection caused by the overgrowth of the natural bacteria found in the vagina, which causes an imbalance. This imbalance can occur from excessive alcohol, drug, tobacco, sugar, fatty foods, etc.

The symptoms consist of a strong fishy odor, with heavy white-grayish discharge. If this sounds like what’s going on for you, then head to a clinic and let them know what you think is up. They should be able to determine if some sort of infection is the cause of your woes.

If that’s not the case, here are some other factors that may have an impact on the natural aroma of your body:

  • Vaginal pH is all important! A healthy vagina has a pH of of 3.5 -4.5.  Anything above a pH of 5 is likely getting into that BV infection zone. Things that affect your vaginal pH are:  semen, menstrual blood, fragrances, douches or body washes, pregnancy or menopause and antibiotics. There are a few natural ways to re-establish a healthy vaginal pH such as pro-biotics, plain yogurt, even apple cider vinegar baths are recommended for restoring pH naturally.
  • Your lymph system.  One of the many important functions of your lymphatic system is transporting bodily toxins to be removed. There are numerous lymph glands in the genital region and if those are not functioning well there may a build up of toxins in that area of the body, which could contribute to a heavy body “odor.”

All of that being said, once you have ruled out infection or some sort of pH imbalance, your vagina will still have it’s natural, healthy, happy scent.

Dr. Lissa Rankin wrote a great article about this topic. I encourage you to check it out!