Each vagina has its own distinct aroma—and no, it is not a bouquet of roses. Below, we’ll discuss how to determine when something is wrong.
Gwyneth Paltrow is constantly introducing bizarre new products and treatments, such as vampire repellent spray and vagina steaming. In 2020, she’s carrying on the tradition with a decidedly unconventional way to scent your home: Goop’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle.
According to the listing, the amusingly named product, which was created by artisanal fragrance brand Heretic, “began as a joke” between Paltrow and perfumer Douglas Little. Paltrow, 47, reportedly stated during a testing session, “Uhhh… this smells like a vagina.” As a result, another one-of-a-kind Goop product was born.
Are you curious as to how Paltrow’s vagina smells? They’re “funny, stunning, seductive, and delightfully unexpected.” Alternatively, a “blend of geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed.”
If you’re in a state of panic because your vagina does not smell of flowers and fruity substances, put an end to it immediately. “The vagina is not intended to smell like a rose garden,” she explained. Sherry Ross, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of She-ology: The Complete Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, according to Health. “However, the vaginal area has a pleasant scent that many enjoy. Vaginal discharge can vary in smell (as well as consistency) depending on the time of the month.”
What, after all, is normal vaginal odor?
It’s difficult to describe the smell of a healthy vagina because each woman has a unique scent, according to Dr. Ross. However, some women describe their normal vaginal odor as earthy, ripe, or even pungent or slightly sour.
The trick is to understand what your ‘normal’ smell is,” she explains. “Most of us who have a vaginal cavity are familiar with that awkward sensation when confronted with a novel and strange odor. Because the vagina is particularly sensitive to changes in your daily environment, anything that disturbs this delicate balance will affect the smell, as well as the type and consistency of discharge. “
What factors contribute to changes in vaginal odor?
Antibiotic use, douching, spermicide, new sexual partners, and frequency of sex are all factors that affect the odor of the vagina, according to Dr. Ross. Hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause can also alter your scent. Vaginal infections, such as yeast, bacteria, and sexually transmitted infections, as well as a forgotten tampon, will alter your odor down below (due to the bacteria that set up shop there).
“Not only can these factors contribute to an odd odor, but they can also contribute to other unpleasant symptoms,” Dr. Ross explains. Indeed, if something is wrong with your vagina, you are likely to experience additional symptoms in addition to a change in odor.
How am I to determine when a change in vaginal odor is indicative of a health problem?
A vaginal infection is typically characterized by vulvar itching, burning, redness, and swelling, as well as a change in odor—particularly if the odor is strong and fishy, which may indicate bacterial vaginosis or the sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis. If you believe you may have a vaginal infection, it is critical to see a doctor for testing and appropriate treatment.
Altering your diet may also alter the smell of your vagina. Certain foods can upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina, resulting in an unpleasant odor. Dr. Ross cites garlic, onions, mint, turmeric, blue cheese, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, red meat, and vinegar as the worst offenders. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and not drinking enough water can also alter conditions below the surface, she explains.
Hygiene practices also have an effect on vaginal scent. Keep in mind that your vagina, like any other part of your body, must be kept clean. “The vagina contains sweat glands and hair follicles, which can harbor bacteria and contribute to a pungent odor,” Dr. Ross explains. Additionally, due to the vagina’s proximity to the anus, it is critical to keep the area clean to avoid bacteria buildup that can result in foul odors, she adds.
Regardless of how clean and healthy your vagina is, it is unlikely that it will ever smell naturally like “citrusy bergamot and cedar absolutes.” However, this does not preclude it from smelling equally as good in its own unique way.