9 Natural Remedies for Vaginal Odor That You Should Avoid

Remedies for vaginal odor and vaginal infections have become popular in recent years. However, they're not aways a good idea.
9 Natural Remedies for Vaginal Odor That You Should Avoid
Maricela Jiménez López

Written and verified by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 01 August, 2022

Every part of the body has its own distinct smell, and the vagina is no exception. However, if you notice that your vagina smells really bad, that could be a sign that something is wrong. An unpleasant or bad vaginal odor could be caused by infection.

Excessive growth of yeast or vaginal bacteria and infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV) and candidiasis can change the characteristics of vaginal discharge and give it a bad smell. This can be a very uncomfortable situation for any woman.

Causes of vaginal odor

A bad smelling vagina.

Vaginal odor is caused by an alteration in vaginal pH or a lack or dearth of the bacteria that live there. If there’s an excessive increase in the bacteria that regulate pH in the vagina, you’ll have a thick, bad-smelling, greyish or yellowish discharge.

What natural remedies should you avoid?

There are many home remedies made with natural ingredients that you should avoid unless you get the green light from your doctor. While it’s true that many drugs have a certain percentage of natural ingredients, their formulas are specially-designed to offer an effective solution with as few side-effects as possible.

Though many natural remedies seem harmless, if you are applying them to a delicate area like the vagina, you could actually make things worse. That’s true in the case of tea tree oil baths.

A humid or wet environment is bad for vaginal health, which makes a bath a bad idea, especially if you have an infection. While tea tree oil is famous for its antiseptic properties, you can’t use it any way you want on any body part, as it can cause burning and other problems.

Some of the most popular natural, topical remedies that you should avoid are:

  1. Garlic.
  2. Alum.
  3. Yogurt.
  4. Milk with turmeric.
  5. Guava leaves.
  6. Apple cider vinegar.
  7. Tea-tree oil.
  8. Baking soda.
  9. Grosella espinosa india.

Though these ingredients are natural and don’t contain chemicals, they aren’t completely innocuous. In other words, even a plant leaf can cause reactions, even though you might not notice it at the moment. Basically, it’s important to be cautious and not get carried away with the idea that something can’t be harmful just because it’s natural.

Applying yogurt, tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar will not eliminate the microorganisms that may have caused both the infection and the vaginal odor. On the contrary, they’ll only irritate the area, cause a lot of burning and make you more vulnerable to other gynecological problems.

You might like: What do You Know About Vaginal Yeast Infections?

How to prevent and combat vaginal odor

A woman hydrates with a glass of water.

To prevent (or combat, as the case may be) vaginal odor, try one or more of the following measures. As you can see, most of them are very simple habits that are not difficult to incorporate into your routine.

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Practice good hygiene during and after sex.
  • Eat more vitamin C-rich foods.
  • During your menstrual cycle, change sanitary pads and tampons frequently.
  • Avoid tight underwear and underwear made of synthetic materials. Instead, wear underwear made of breathable cloth, like cotton and make sure to wash and dry well before using it.
  • Wash your outer genital area with neutral soap and plenty of water. Avoid washing the inner part of your vagina.
  • Don’t douche.
  • Don’t shave your pubic hair, as this increases your risk of getting an infection. You shouldn’t let it get too long, either. Keep it trimmed and neat.

What should you do about vaginal odor?

Bad vaginal odor: a woman with her gynecologist.

Vaginal odor can be uncomfortable and can have a negative effect on women’s self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to treat it quickly and intelligently.

Consequently, avoid these natural remedies at all costs, and see your doctor as soon as you can. These home remedies don’t usually do anything, and there’s no scientific evidence to support them.

The most popular (and least appropriate) method consists of applying yogurt directly on your vagina. The goal is to “reset” your vaginal flora. However, science has shown that yogurt used in this way doesn’t have any benefits. Eating yogurt, on the other hand, as part of a balanced diet can help balance pH.

If your vaginal odor comes with persistent and sometimes intense symptoms like burning, itching, irritation, inflammation, etc., then it’s really important to go see your gynecologist for a physical exam.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.