4 reasons why you may
have a smelly vagina

4 reasons why
you may have a smelly vagina

AUGUST 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

smelly vagina - close up on grapefruit

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Being in the underarm odor and sweat business, I often have conversations with those around me, discussing what most would deem “unsexy” topics. I was having a conversation with an esthetician who has waxed over 10,000 women during her career, and she told me the number one thing women are concerned about is having, in their words, a smelly vagina. 

Unbeknown to most, when women think they have a smelly vagina, they presume the smell is due to an internal issue, however more often than not, odor occurs in the intimate region from the external groin region a.k.a. the vulva and groin/bikini line. Read on to learn about why this happens and more importantly, how to prevent it.

WHAT CAUSES ODOR “DOWN THERE”?

There are numerous factors that can contribute to a “smelly vagina” that can be associated to a medical condition or an internal issue, however what I am going to focus on is odor caused by the external vulva and bikini/groin area. This type of odor is what most women experience and incorrectly attribute to an internal issue.
smelly vagina - Skin Closeup

UNDERARMS AND VULVA ARE MORE SIMILAR THAN YOU THINK

The female groin region is a very complex area and believe it or not, it’s very similar to the underarms where odor can also be an issue for many.  

1. CONCENTRATION OF SWEAT GLANDS

The vulva and groin area are home to a concentration of apocrine glands, the glands responsible for sweat and are predominantly found in areas abundant in hair follicles (scalp, underarm and groin). The presence of these glands makes this area prone to odor as moisture from sweat feeds odor-causing bacteria.
smelly vagina - Sweat on Stomach Closeup

2. PRESENCE OF HAIR AND SKIN FOLDS

The vulva and bikini line also have many skin folds; when combined with a moist environment, it becomes the ideal climate for odor-causing bacteria to get trapped and thrive. The presence of hair also creates more surface area for bacteria to live and can trap moisture close to the skin.

3. NON-BREATHABLE ENVIRONMENT

The groin is highly prone to “suffocation” as daily wear of tight clothing, multiple layers and synthetic materials trap moisture, allowing bacteria to grow and produce odor. Tight shapewear can also exacerbate this issue, keeping moisture trapped against the skin.

smelly vagina: Leggings Closeup

HOW TO STOP SMELLING DOWN THERE

If you’ve determined your odor issue is related to these external factors, there are some practical tips to help keep you fresh and odor-free all day long. The key to preventing odor down there is to reduce the chances of creating that dark, moist environment that bacteria loves.

USE A TALC-FREE BODY POWDER

If you find that you are someone who sweats a lot, or if you are in a hot and humid environment, applying a layer of talc-free body powder over a layer of natural deodorant can help you stay dry down there.

I created the sweat powder which was designed to absorb sweat in the bikini area, as well as underarms and breasts. The targeted brush applicator makes it easy and safe to distribute the powder without it poofing everywhere and keeps it away from the vaginal opening.

Talc-free powder is safe to use down there, but note that any body powder should be used with caution and only externally. I recommend applying the sweat powder on the bikini line after you put your undergarments on. Make sure powder is never applied internally in the vaginal region or near the vaginal opening.

TRIM OR REMOVE PUBIC HAIR

I believe that keeping or removing pubic hair is a matter of personal preference, however when it comes to odor concerns, the presence of hair can contribute to odor. I recommend trimming or removing pubic hair, when possible, to reduce the chances of bacteria being able to thrive in this area.

USE A NATURAL DEODORANT ON THE BIKINI LINE

Applying a natural deodorant on a clean bikini line before putting on your underwear, will give you an added layer of odor and sweat protection. The key is to choose a natural deodorant that is formulated for a delicate region; meaning it should be free of baking soda, high fragrance levels and any harsh ingredients. Also be sure not to apply the deodorant on the vaginal opening or internally keeping it strictly on the bikini line or the area normally covered by pubic hair as that is where the sweat glands are. 

I formulated my brightening deodorant stick with skin-loving ingredients such as aloe and niacinamide to soothe the skin and alpha arbutin to gently brighten. It is also formulated with a potent fermentation extract that controls odor in the underarms and bikini line. Just be sure not to apply it (or any other product) on freshly shaved or waxed skin as this can cause hyperpigmentation and irritation. 

WEAR NATURAL FIBRE UNDERWEAR AND CLOTHING

If you are accustomed to wearing synthetic material undergarments and tight pants, changing these to loose and breathable materials can be a simple way to avoid odor down there. 100% cotton or linens are the best natural fabrics.

USE PANTYLINERS WITH CAUTION

If you wear pantyliners daily, the moisture sitting against the skin can cause odor and can even irritate the skin causing an itchy irritated environment. Minimize the use of these products daily to allow your bikini area to breathe. 
smelly vagina - Breathable Clothes

THE TAKEAWAY

These simple lifestyle changes and incorporating the sweat powder and theniacinamide brightening deodorant into your daily hygiene routine will greatly reduce groin sweat-related odor issues. As always, if something doesn’t feel right or if your odor issue is persistent, never delay seeking medical advice. 

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All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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The Little Book of
Human Discomforts

BY MADAME SWEAT

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly content series, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

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