Ah, the teenage years! There’s nothing quite like them. Puberty. Body odor. And questionable hygiene practices. When kids reach this stage in life, body odor is inevitable and it can result in teasing, shaming, and being excluded. Besides the usual body odor from sweaty armpits and stinky feet, there’s also body odor from the groin area to deal with. For teen girls, in particular, teen vaginal odor can be embarrassing and can cause anxiety. But no worries! We have compiled 10 home remedies and some basic hygiene practices to get rid of teen vaginal odor.
Why Does My Vagina Smell?
A healthy vagina has the perfect balance of normal flora — microorganisms including bacteria and fungi that are found on or in specific areas of the body — that maintain the pH in that area. But when this balance is off due to infection, irritation from soaps, lack of basic hygiene or even dirty underwear, there is a change in the pH. This leads to “good” bacterial levels going down and “bad” bacterial and fungal levels going up. Yikes! The good news is vaginal infections are rare for most preteen and young teen girls.
It’s important to note that vaginal discharge is normal and it’s NOT a source of teen vaginal odor. Although vaginal discharge has an odor, it’s not stinky. But if it lingers too long…
Sweat and body odor lingering in pubic hair plus vaginal secretions sticking around in the vulvar folds is the cause of vaginal odor. Proper hygiene of the vulva is key to preventing odor. Thorough washing of all the “nooks and crannies” — pubic hair which really holds onto odors, the outside of the vulva and groin, AND (let’s not forget) the butt crack — WITH MILD SOAP and water every day usually does the trick.
Since vaginal discharge only causes odor if it lingers too long, it’s really really important to make sure there’s no dried discharge in the folds and creases in your vulva. The best way to wash your vagina is to spread your legs or squat so the labia opens and use your hand or a washcloth and warm water. You DON’T need to put anything inside the vagina! Just make sure to clean the outer and inner labia and the creases around them, and to rinse well so soap isn’t left on that sensitive skin.
“Feminine deodorant” or “douches” aren’t recommended for tweens and teens. They DON’T EVER need to use these products! This is because the vagina cleans itself, and squirting water or other fluids up there to “clean” it interferes with the normal flora and pH AND increases the risk for vaginal infections. Take home message: the vagina cleans itself, the vulva does not.
10 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Teen Vaginal Odor
Getting rid of teen vaginal odor is simple. There are some natural products that are quite effective at safely reducing and eliminating vaginal odor. And most of these DIY remedies are available right in your home.
1. African Wild Cucumber
African Wild Cucumber leaves (Momordica foetida) have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. African Wild Cucumber leaves have been used for ages to cure many skin diseases, parasites, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, body swelling and edema, gout, as an antidote for venomous stings such as bee stings, and also as a pain-killer. Since body odor and vaginal odor can also be due to bacterial overgrowth, African Wild Cucumber leaves can be used to treat vaginal odor effectively.
To get rid of teen vaginal odor, wash your vagina with a MILD natural antibacterial body wash that contains African Wild Cucumber extract twice daily for two weeks. Since African Wild Cucumber leaves have antibacterial properties, a daily dose of this herbal medicine prevents microbial growth and eliminates odor.
Neem leaves (Indian lilac) and neem bark also have antimicrobial properties. Neem leaves have been used for ages to cure many skin diseases, leprosy, smallpox, intestinal worms, skin ulcers, and wounds. Since vaginal odor can be due to bacterial overgrowth, neem leaves can be used to eliminate teen vaginal odor.
To treat vaginal odor, wash your vagina with neem extract twice daily for at least one week, preferably for two weeks. Neem leaves and bark also have antimicrobial properties. A daily dose of this natural antibacterial will help prevent growth and get rid of vaginal odor.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It can be used to treat skin conditions such as spots, pimples, blemishes, dryness, infections and other medical conditions such as dandruff and dry scalp. Its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties make it ideal for treating teen vaginal odor.
To get rid of odor, dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in water and use as a vaginal wash.
Please note that it’s possible to be allergic to tea tree oil. To check for a reaction, put a little of the tea tree oil and water mixture on your forearm and rinse. Wait 24 to 48 hours. If no reaction occurs it should be safe to use.
4. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil (lavandula angustifolia) is a sweet-smelling essential oil that’s uplifting. It has powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, sedative, calming and antidepressive properties. It’s also known to reduce vaginal itching and irritation. Lavender oil has been used both cosmetically and therapeutically for centuries.
To get rid of vaginal odor, add a few drops of the oil to your bath water and soak in the water for at least 10 minutes. Do this every other day for two weeks. Alternatively, since lavender oil is gentle enough to apply directly to the skin, add a few drops of the oil to a quart of water and use a cotton ball to dab this solution onto the mouth of your vagina and vaginal area. Store in a bottle and refrigerate.
5. Cranberries or Cranberry Juice
Cranberries contain compounds that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. They possess anti-clinging properties, which prevent the bacteria from adhering to cells on walls, and also prevent bacteria from multiplying further. By doing so, they reduce the stinky odor from your vagina.
To eliminate vaginal odor, either blend/juice a cup of fresh cranberries and drink the juice or just drink a glass of store-bought cranberry juice. This should be done every day. Drinking cranberry juice daily prevents bacterial growth by preventing the adhesion of the bacteria onto the vaginal wall. Cranberries are also effective against bacteria that affect the urinary tract.
6. Citrus Fruits
Oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are excellent sources of immune-boosting vitamin C. Vitamin C affects bacterial metabolism which prevents bacteria from growing. Therefore, drinking fresh citrus fruit juice or eating the fruits daily gets rid of vaginal odor. Citrus fruits also maintain the pH in the vaginal area and fight against bacterial growth, preventing microbial infection and itching.
Some people might not be fans of yogurt (and my daughter is one of them), but it can reduce or even eliminate vaginal odor considerably. Yogurt has antibacterial properties, probably due to its lactic acid content. Lactic acid is known to be bactericidal against some organisms.
Also, if your vaginal odor is caused by a yeast infection, yogurt can fight the infection and reduce the odor as well. The Lactobacillus bacteria present in probiotic yogurt gets rid of the yeast infection and restores the vaginal pH back to normal.
To get rid of the odor, simply have two cups of unsweetened yogurt every day, preferably with meals, to reduce the bacteria and fungi and restore the normal pH level.
8. Baking Soda
Vaginal odor intensifies when the pH level of the vagina isn’t balanced. Baking soda can be used to balance not only your vaginal pH but that of your body as well. When your pH is normal, your vaginal odor goes away.
Simply add half a cup of baking soda to your bathwater and soak for 20-30 minutes. Dry your body thoroughly with a freshly laundered towel, paying extra attention to any folds and the groin area, before putting on your clothing.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic used to prevent infection. It’s a very effective disinfectant. It kills yeast and bacteria in the vagina, and removes vaginal odor. It is one of the most effective vaginal odor remedies.
To get rid of the odor, add equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide to water and use the mixture as a vaginal wash. You may experience some tingling and there may be foamy discharge. This is normal. The hydrogen peroxide is flushing out the bacteria in your vaginal area. You can repeat this every day until the foul odor dissipates.
Caution: Hydrogen peroxide can cause severe side effects such as dermatitis (eczema), burns, blisters, hives, redness, itchiness and irritation when used on your skin. If the tingling you experience when using the hydrogen peroxide as a wash becomes a burning sensation, stop use immediately and flush the area with water.
Vinegar, whether it’s apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, is another effective home remedy for getting rid of teen vaginal odor. Vinegar neutralizes odors by breaking down odor proteins, and a vinegar bath can eliminate vaginal odor and restore pH levels in the vagina.
Just mix a cup of vinegar in lukewarm bath water and soak in it for 20 minutes. Do this once daily until the odor is gone. Alternatively, you can mix a half cup each of vinegar and sea salt and soak for 20 minutes several times a week. Vinegar removes toxins that cause foul vaginal odor. It’s also acidic in nature and has antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria.
Caution: Vinegar can cause allergic reactions in some people. Step into the bathtub cautiously. If you experience a burning sensation, step out immediately and wash the area with water.
5 Ways To Help Your Vagina Smell Good
1. Wear Clean Cotton Underwear and Change it Twice A Day
One of the best ways to get rid of vaginal odor is to wear clean cotton underwear rather than silk or satin. Cotton allows the skin to breathe and prevents moisture in the area by drawing it away from the skin. On the other hand, silk and satin trap moisture, sweat and urine, which accelerates bacterial growth and foul odor. It’s also recommended to change your underwear twice a day or every 12 hours, especially before going to sleep every night (remember to wear cotton underwear to bed). Sweaty, dark, and covered areas are ideal for bacterial growth so it’s a good idea to also change your underwear after exercising. This prevents additional bacteria growth, itching, irritation, and foul odor that can occur if the area is kept in an unsanitary environment.
Also, make sure you wash your underwear regularly in warm water so any bacteria in your underwear is washed away. And be sure to dry your underwear completely before wearing it again.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water maintains your body’s temperature and cell integrity and flushes out harmful toxins. Water helps your vagina’s overall health by lubricating your vagina naturally. It also enables healthy sweating and release of fluids, which aids in reducing vaginal smells. If you’re not properly hydrated, this can lead to foul vaginal smells. The amount of water you need, though, depends on your height, weight, and activity level. The more active you are, the more water you need.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced diet means your body will be healthy, and that includes your vagina. Aim to have a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that fight bacterial and yeast infections. Strive for five to avoid smelly vaginal odor — at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits daily. Avoid spicy and/or sugary food.
4. Avoid Bathing In Hot Water
Hot water kills the body’s natural “good” bacteria. Constantly taking hot baths can cause vaginal odor. Take lukewarm baths. They may not sound as appealing but they’re better for you in the long run. You can also add essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil to your bath water to enhance your experience.
5. Avoid Douches And Fragrances
Our bodies were designed to take care of most issues. When you douche or use a feminine spray, you not only eliminate bad bacteria, but you also remove healthy bacteria in the vagina that you need to help prevent infection. The vagina is meant to naturally cleanse itself so let your body work out the bacteria ratios and skip the unnatural washes.
These home remedies usually get rid of teen vaginal odor in about a week. If the odor persists or it gets worse, you should see a doctor. This could be a sign of a larger problem.
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