Five Natural Remedies to Control Foul Vaginal Odor

Although these topical remedies for vaginal odor can be effective, it's best to consult a gynecologist to rule out more serious issues. We'll tell you more below!
Five Natural Remedies to Control Foul Vaginal Odor

Last update: 12 December, 2020

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.

If so, receiving professional care is essential, as it can be caused by infections that require specific medical treatment. While there are some natural remedies that seem to temporarily relieve this symptom, they shouldn’t be the first choice against this problem.

Common causes of foul vaginal odor

According to information published in the online portal Cleveland Clinic, foul 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, onion, grains, etc. 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
A diagram of the bacteria in the vagina.
Vaginal odor may be influenced by changes in the bacteria that live in the vagina.

Five natural ways to get rid of foul vaginal odor

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, the 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 is a natural ingredient that helps to combat bacteria and fungi. It should be used in moderation, in small quantities, since in excess it is irritating. However, according to anecdotal data, it may be useful to regulate vaginal pH alterations.

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.

A bottle of apple cider vinegar that'll help someone with vaginal odor.
Apple vinegar can irritate your skin so you must dilute it. Use it for 2 or 3 days, until the discomfort subsides.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c. of lukewarm water

How to apply it?

  • Add the apple cider vinegar to your bathwater
  • Sit in the bath so 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 anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil can help to stop the growth of these yeasts, and speed up recovery.

Ingredients

  • 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 1 c. of warm water

How to apply it?

  • First, add the tree tea oil to the 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

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 tsp. of vitamin C
  • 1/2 c. of water

How to apply it?

  • Firstly, mix the vitamin C and the water
  • Then, use the liquid to wash the external areas of the vagina
  • Finally, consult with a doctor to discuss how often and how long you should use this remedy, as it can irritate the vaginal mucosa

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.

A jar of fenugreek.
Fenugreek has shown antimicrobial effects. Therefore, it’s believed to help against vaginal infections that cause bad odor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 c. of water

Utensils

  • Mortar

How to apply it?

  • Firstly, using the mortar, crush the fenugreek
  • Secondly, boil the water and once it begins to boil, remove it from the heat
  • Then, add the fenugreek to the hot water and let sit for 15 minutes
  • Finally, you can drink the tea hot or cold, whichever you prefer

5. Neem tea may help you get rid of foul vaginal odor

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 tbsp. of neem leaves
  • 1 c. of water

How to apply it?

  • Firstly, prepare an infusion with the neem leaves and water
  • Secondly, when it is warm, use the liquid to wash the external area of your vagina
  • Then, repeat use the next day if the discomfort persists
  • Finally, suspend use and rinse with plenty of water if any unfavorable reaction is observed

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.

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