Gynecologist, Dr. Maria Sophocles, Explains Normal vs Abnormal Vaginal Odor
Want to learn how to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome? Keep reading!
Vaginal odor is a completely normal thing that is nothing to be ashamed of. All vagina's have their own unique microbiomes, so it makes sense that everyone's have different odors as well. There's nothing tho be worried about when experiencing normal vaginal odor, but if you're experiencing abnormal odor, this could indicate a shift in pH that needs to be addressed. So how do you know if you're experiencing abnormal vaginal odor or when to see a doctor? Luckily we got these answers and more from MD, Gynecologist, and Medical Director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, NJ, Dr Maria Sophocles. Read on to hear Dr. Sophocles explain the difference between normal vs. abnormal vaginal odor, when to consult a doctor, and tips on how to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome.
Interview with Dr. Sophocles
How can you distinguish between the types of vaginal odors?
In general, there are certain odors that suggest bacterial vaginosis which is not an infection but a shift in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria, which also shifts pH. Most other odors are a version of normal vaginal odor from perspiration.
What are the potential causes of vaginal odor?
BV is the most common cause of strong socially unpleasant odor. Other causes are just variations of normal odor. Things like STDs don’t really cause odor.
Can you share any helpful tips and/or solutions to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome?
It’s more about what to avoid than what to do. Most women will keep a healthy vaginal microbiome if they limit things like douching and using a lot of vaginal products. However, if you are prone to getting a shift in pH, using products like RepHresh can keep the pH balanced and where it should be.
When should you consider consulting a healthcare professional about your vaginal microbiome?
See your healthcare professional if you are getting recurrent yeast infections, have chronic BV, or experience undiagnosed socially embarrassing odor.
Can you recommend any products to avoid?
In general, products with scents can be irritating. Vagisil products tend to have a lot of additives that can lead to irritation. Scented detergents, soaps, and toilet paper should be avoided. Some ingredients in lubes or condoms can be irritative as well as some spermicide condoms can. Bath bombs, soaps, dyes, or any products with chemicals and fragrances can all irritate the vagina and also change pH, so these things should be avoided.
Can you recommend any products that might help balance your vaginal microbiome?
A probiotic containing lactobacillus, such as RepHresh Pro-B, is just one pill a day and does great at helping to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome.
To wrap up what we just learned from Dr. Maria Sophocles: if you're experiencing vaginal odor that smells different from your ordinary odors, this could indicate an imbalance in pH or bacterial vaginosis. If you're prone to these shifts in pH, using products like RepHresh can help keep your vaginal microbiome balanced. Dr. Sophocles explains that the best way to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome is to avoid products with harsh chemicals, dyes, or fragrances - especially any products that may come in contact with your vaginal area (toilet paper, soaps, bath bombs, lubes, etc.). If you're experiencing frequent yeast infections, recurring BV, or consistent abnormal vaginal odor, consider visiting your doctor.
We Want to Hear From You
Do you have any questions about how to recognize normal vs abnormal odor?