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Bad Vaginal Odor, Normal Vaginal Odor

Updated on December 12, 2009

Most women worry about the scent of their vagina at least once or twice in their lives; many worry about it constantly. I am convinced this worrying starts in junior high school, when moronic teenage boys (read: too inexperienced to have a clue as to what hoo-hoo ought to smell like) run around repeating stupid jokes they overheard their stupid fathers telling during card night. The result? You end up with a 15 or 16 year old girl who thinks douching is the answer (it ain’t – douching is bad for you) and winds up with yeast infection after yeast infection because of it. Or, you wind up with an otherwise normal 20 or 30 something woman who stresses out during intimacy because she’s worried her boyfriend (or girlfriend) will think her vagina smells badly. Therefore, we’re going to cover the basics of hoo-hoo odor; some smells are good, others not so much. Read on to learn what’s good vaginal odor and what’s bad; and don’t forget to read Vaginal Odor: How to Smell Good Down There.

Normal Vaginal Odor

Let’s get this one out of the way first. The vagina is supposed to have a scent when a woman is in the mood for lovin’. It’s biological and suits a specific purpose; it makes you loads more attractive to men (for those two minutes, anyway!) and women who dig women. A slight musky scent is perfectly normal (even if you’re not in the mood for love) and not something you should panic about. Some women have no scent at all, some have more than others – your own scent will be a mixture of natural body chemistry and what you ingest (food, drinks, etc.) Women who drink acidic drinks like cranberry juice often say their partners report a pleasant, fruity scent. All of these vaginal odors are perfectly normal.

Bad Vaginal Odor

If something smells particularly pungent, urine could be to blame and you may want to eliminate certain herbs, spices and drinks from your diet. If you’ve got itching, irritation, or abnormal discharge in conjunction with a pungent vaginal odor, you need to see a physician to rule out infection. A fishy smell in the vaginal area could indicate a bacterial or fungal infection (both of which are typically very easy to treat with prescribed creams); other unpleasant odors could indicate an sexually transmitted disease, or perhaps a “forgotten” tampon. Some odors are rank but not indicative of an infection – sometimes hoo-hoo just smells badly because of the sweat glands surrounding it. Take a bath, or use a baby wipe, and the area will smell fresh again once it’s clean.


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