5 Natural Remedies that may Help Control Bad Vaginal Odor

January 22, 2020
Although these topical remedies for vaginal odor can be effective, it's best to consult a gynecologist to rule out more serious issues.

One of the most common reasons why women visit their gynecologist is without a doubt bad vaginal odor. In addition to the smell, it’s common to have other symptoms like an itching or burning feeling, inflammation, and vaginal secretion.

Also, you have to keep in mind that the odor can change before and after your period, sexual relations, or after doing physical activity. Meanwhile, deodorants, gels, sprays, or vaginal washes can have a counterproductive effect since they can irritate the area, causing an infection.

On the other hand, although these natural alternatives can improve the smell of your vaginal area, you should consult your gynecologist if you suspect you may be suffering from an infection. A simple vaginal infection can have serious complications, especially if you’re pregnant.

Common causes of bad vaginal odor

According to information published in the online portal Cleveland Clinic, bad vaginal odor can be caused by an infection or inflammation. Often, this occurs when certain factors generate an imbalance in the bacteria that normally live in the vagina. These causes include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Rectovaginal fistula
  • Vaginal and cervical cancer

Of course, a bad odor isn’t always an indication of a serious problem. In some occasions, it can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, or the result of a diet rich in foods such as garlic. Sometimes it can be caused by other factors altogether.

Risk factors

  • Wearing tight underwear or underwear made from synthetic material.
  • Having sexual relations without protection.
  • Frequently taking antibiotics.
  • Parasites.
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence.

How to combat bad vaginal odor: 5 natural remedies

Before you try any remedies against bad vaginal odor, it’s important to adjust your hygiene routine, as this symptom can often be triggered by poor hygiene. The Mayo Clinic recommends:

  • Washing the external genital area. When doing so, use a minimal amount of gentle, odorless soap and plenty of water.
  • Avoid vaginal washing: under normal circumstances, a healthy vagina contains bacteria and yeasts. Generally speaking, vagina can maintain its own pH balance, However, washing can alter this pH, and increase the risk of infections.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to consult with a gynecologist, especially when the bad odor is accompanied by other symptoms. Although natural remedies can help to calm it, they shouldn’t be considered a primary treatment or a substitute for conventional medication. You should always follow the recommendations given to you by your doctor.

1. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural ingredient that helps to combat bacteria and fungi. Above all, it’s useful for controlling changes in the bacterial flora of the vagina in the presence of pathogens.

In fact, in a case published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a 32 year woman succeeded in using apple cider vinegar to improve symptoms of a vaginal infection. Topical use helped to control bad odor, burning and pain in the genital area.

Discover: 6 Things That Damage Your Vaginal Health

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar (100 ml)

How to apply it?

  • Add the apple cider vinegar to your bath water.
  • Sit in the bath for 20 minutes so that the vagina can acquire the proper amount of acid levels.
  • After, rinse yourself off as you normally would.

2. Tea tree essential oil

Thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, tea tree oil may help fight bad odor caused by vaginal infections. Also, it may help reduce inflammation.

This oil is particularly useful for treating infections caused by Candida Albicans yeast, as detailed in a study published in BioMed Research International. Thanks to its antifungal properties, tea tree oil can help to stop the growth of these yeasts, and speed up recovery.

Ingredients

  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil (30 g)
  • 1 cup of warm water (250 ml)

How to apply it?

  • First, add the 10 drops tree tea oil to the cup of warm water.
  • Then, place the mixture in an adequate container and use it to wash the vaginal area.
  • Repeat this process twice a week.

3. Vitamin C

Cirtrus fruits.

As detailed in an investigation published in the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, when applied to the vagina, vitamin C has the ability to increase its pH, potentially inhibiting the growth of bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis. As such, this remedy is a good option when treating bad vaginal odor.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin C (3 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (1 g)
  • 1/2 cup of water (125 ml)

How to apply it?

  • First, mix the vitamin C and the baking soda.
  • Then, add the water (be careful because the reaction with the water creates an effervescent effect).
  • Consult with a doctor to discuss how often and how long you should use this remedy, as it can irritate the vaginal mucosa in the long term.

4. Fenugreek tea

Fenugreek is a natural ingredient that can help to combat bad vaginal odor. How? According to a publication in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, this plant has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties which, in this case, can help to stop the growth of infectious microorganisms.

Read more here: Four Homemade Remedies to Balance Your Vaginal pH

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds (10 g)
  • 1 cup of water (200 ml)

Utensils

  • Mortar

How to apply it?

  • Using a mortar, crush the tablespoon of fenugreek seeds.
  • Then, boil the glass of water and once it begins to boil, remove from heat.
  • Add the fenugreek seeds to the hot water and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • You can drink the tea hot or cold, whichever you prefer.

5. Neem tea may help control your vaginal odor

Neem tea.

According to information published in Current Medicinal Chemistry, this plant has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties which can be useful for inhibiting the growth of fungi and bacteria in intimate areas, and can help to combat bad odor.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of neem leaves (20 g)
  • 1 tablespoon of water (10 ml)

How to apply it?

  • First, heat the neem leaves in a skillet for three minutes to roast them.
  • Turn off the heat and let them cool.
  • Then, crush them until you get a powder.
  • Add the water to create a paste.
  • Apply the ointment to the vaginal area.

Recommendations to avoid bad vaginal odor

As well as using the remedies mentioned above, there are some other basic things you can do to help eliminate bad vaginal odor. If you suffer from this issue, don’t hesitate to put them into practice.

  • Wear cotton clothing.
  • When it comes to washing your clothing, do not combine your underwear with everything else.
  • Use neutral soap.
  • Wash your intimate areas before and after every sexual encounter.
  • Tight clothing isn’t recommended.
  • Sponges may irritate the vaginal area.
  • Don’t use deodorant, talc or perfume.
  • Every time that you go to the restroom, clean your vagina from front to back (never the other way around).

Conclusion

These natural remedies against bad vaginal odor can be useful for controlling symptoms while you wait for an appointment with your gynecologist. It’s important to speak with a professional, as in many cases bad odor can be a symptom of an underlying issue, such as a fungal or bacterial infection.

  • Mashburn, J. (2012). Vaginal Infections Update. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1542-2011.2012.00246.x
  • White, B. A., Creedon, D. J., Nelson, K. E., & Wilson, B. A. (2011). The vaginal microbiome in health and disease. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2011.06.001
  • Palmeira-de-Oliveira, R., Palmeira-de-Oliveira, A., & Martinez-de-Oliveira, J. (2015). New strategies for local treatment of vaginal infections. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addr.2015.06.008
  • Ozen, B., & Baser, M. (2017). Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine23(7).
  • Nagulapalli Venkata, K. C., Swaroop, A., Bagchi, D., & Bishayee, A. (2017, June 1). A small plant with big benefits: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.) for disease prevention and health promotion. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Wiley-VCH Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201600950
  • Biswas, K., Chattopadhyay, I., Banerjee, R. K., & Bandyopadhyay, U. (2002, June 10). Biological activities and medicinal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica). Current Science.