Odor in the vaginal area is a common problem for women, and it is neither unusual nor something to be ashamed of. But feminine hygiene companies have capitalized on the shame women feel about this problem by offering products that are advertised as perfect remedies for odor. The problem is that the products we are told will eliminate odor actually perpetuate the problem- and doctors know it. In fact many doctors and OB/GYN’s are telling their female patients the truth about these products, and are offering them safe, healthy alternatives that actually work far better. These alternatives respect the female body and its natural balance. As you’ll see in this article, when we respect nature and our place within it, we find better ways of dealing with our concerns.
Always sells a wide range of products to women, including daily panty liners. Traditionally, women have used panty liners as either back-up while using tampons during periods, or as a lighter, thinner pad for days when your period is light. These days, however, companies like Always are marketing their liners for daily use. They have correctly assumed that many women who like the idea of having an odor and moisture absorbing pad during their periods would think that liners can be used everyday for the same benefit, period or not.
Douches are another odor fix produced and marketed to women by such companies as Summer’s Eve. Though they promise to reduce or eliminate odor, they do not tell us about the dangers of using douches. On Summer’s Eve’s website, nowhere does it mention possible negative effects, yet there is much research that proves that douches are indeed harmful for many people.
Other Products: Deodorant sprays, wipes, etc.
Many doctors advise against these, too, for the same reasons they advise against all the other hygiene products.
Planned Parenthood is an example of doctors who give women the truth about feminine hygiene products. They actually tell their patients who complain of odor to STOP using these products. There is even a page on their website that gives patients detailed information about why these products make odor worse. The website offers natural, more effective ways to reduce odor.
Below are respected sources of information for female health concerns. As you’ll notice, they all have the same general advice: Stop using these products and you’ll actually have LESS odor.
Get relief from feminine odor with these simple solutions: Regular washing with warm water and a mild, unscented soap when bathing or showering will keep the outside of the vagina clean and healthy.
Also steer clear of douching: Studies have shown that these prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, iodine, or baking soda can introduce new bacteria into the vagina, disrupting its delicate chemical balance and making any infection worse.
Here are some tips for preventing vaginal infections that can lead to abnormal discharge: Keep the vagina clean by washing regularly with a gentle, mild soap and warm water.
Never use scented soaps and feminine products or douche. Also avoid feminine sprays and bubble baths.
After going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing an infection.
Wear 100% cotton underpants, and avoid overly tight clothing.
If you are concerned about an abnormal or persistent vaginal odor, see your doctor — especially if you have other symptoms such as itching, burning or discharge. In the meantime, to minimize vaginal odor:
Wash your external genital area. During regular baths or showers, use a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water.
Avoid douching. All healthy vaginas contain some bacteria and other organisms. The normal acidity of the vagina keeps bacteria and yeast in check. But douching can actually upset this delicate balance.
You do not need to do anything to clean inside your vagina. The vagina cleans itself. Feminine hygiene sprays, deodorants and douching are not necessary.In fact, scented and antibacterial products can be harmful to the vagina (even “sensitive skin” products or baby soap).
Mild unscented soap or just plain water is all you need to keep the outer folds of your vulva clean. Avoid bubble bath and bath oils. Taking showers rather than tub baths may help you avoid getting vaginitis.
Wearing cotton panties and loose clothing are helpful because they allow air to reach the vaginal area.
Change out of sweaty gym clothes and wet swimsuits after the activity is over.
When you use the bathroom be sure to wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina.