First of all, you may wonder why the image I used today is this incredibly bubbly woman in yellow when the topic is vaginal deodorants and douches. Wouldn’t you like to know? Just cuz. Now, on with the show…..

Have you ever noticed that your vagina smells funny? And not “that is hilarious” funny. More like, “I better take a look around to make sure no one is getting a load of what’s happening down south” funny.

Although you may be tempted to use a vaginal deodorant or vaginal douche to mask the problem, that is generally a bad idea. An extraordinarily VERY bad idea. A strange or unpleasant vaginal smell is your vagina’s not so subtle way of telling you that something is wrong. Adding potions and crazy chemicals in the mix may delay diagnosing the problem and may even make things worse.

Let’s start with vaginal odor 101: A healthy vagina has a scent. You heard me. That scent can change at different times of your cycle, during menopause, or can even become stronger during sexual excitement. None of these things should necessarily lead to an unpleasant vaginal odor. If you become acutely aware of a strong or foul vaginal odor, this could be a sign that you have an infection or some other disturbance in the force.

Infections That Commonly Cause Vaginal Odor

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis or “BV” as it is affectionately known, is the infection most commonly associated with a strong fishy smell. This is not technically an STD or sexually transmitted disease, however, the odor tends to get way worse after sex with men. Why you may ask? Well, semen lowers vaginal acidity, and the compounds that the bacteria releases in the vagina mixes with a less acidic pH to produce an unpleasant odor.

Action Step: Go to your doctor and get a simple vaginal swab test to figure this out. Most of the time you can get rid of it with a 5 day vaginal gel called metrogel. However, there is a 50% risk of recurrence which means your vaginal microbiome isn’t ideal. Consider additional preventive measures like vaginal boric acid and lactobacillus rheuteri and rhamnosus species of probiotics.


“Trich” as it is known by it’s close friends is a PARASITE and IS sexually transmitted. Men typically will have no symptoms but women may develop a strong vaginal odor with itching or pain during sex or urination. The vaginal discharge may look “frothy” and yellow or greenish in color. Overall a bad scene. And “frothy” is not a word that should be paired with “vagina.”

Action Step: Go to your doctor and get a vaginal swab test to see if that could be causing odor. This definitely requires oral antibiotics and your partner needs to be treated as well or else you will pass it back and forth. Which unlike a football at Thanksgiving, is not my idea of a good time.

Yeast Infections

Yeast can cause vaginal odor. Though yeast infections are are not sexually transmitted they may be related to having sex.

Action Step: Go to your doctor and get a vaginal swab test to see if that could be causing odor. This can be treated with medications. If you get yeast infections frequently, it’s best to try to figure out what’s going on and what is causing frequent yeast overgrowth. Cue music that leads you to a functional medicine practitioner 🙂

Finally…..not all vaginal odor infections are related to infections. Here is a short list to consider as well:

  • A high vaginal pH (meaning, less acid than ideal)
  • A retained tampon — this is honestly a common occurrence and always a surprise to both patient and the gynecologist.
  • Low estrogen states as can occur in menopause, during breast feeding, in women who are not getting their period, women in perimenopause or even those on birth control pills.
  • Low “good” bacteria — many things can contribute to an abnormal balance (uncontrolled diabetes, steroid medications, antibiotic use, high intake of sugar, alcohol and processed foods, intestinal infections or maldigestion, douching and feminine hygiene products).

Eat This And Live To 100

I have spoken about Blue Zone Areas in the past. These areas in the world that have the highest concentration of inhabitants that live to be over 100. Researchers have been studying these healthy 100 year-olds to figure out how to living longer AND healthier lives than the rest of us schmucks.

Blue zone areas are:

  • Loma Linda California
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Icaria, Greece
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

So what do these 100 year olds eat!!!!

Best things to EAT — 3 of these DAILY:

  • Beans
  • Greens (spinach, kale, chard, fennel tops, collards)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil (extra-virgin is best)
  • Oats (slow-cook not instant)
  • Barley
  • Fruits — any and all
  • Green or Herbal teas
  • Turmeric

Best things to DRINK:

  • Water
  • Green Tea
  • Coffee
  • Red Wine (1-2 a day max)

Best foods to AVOID:

  • Meat (2 times/week at most and less than 2 ounces per meal)
  • Cow’s Milk Dairy — Goat’s and Sheep’s milk products are ok in moderation
  • Eggs (not more than 3 eggs a week)
  • Sugar
  • Bread (though true sourdough, sprouted grain bread, whole grain rye, or pumpernickel were considered okay — but I’d caution that bread in the US is awful and chemicalized)

Bottom Line with the food:

  • 95% of your food should be plant-based
  • Eat your largest meal at breakfast, a mid-sized lunch, and small dinner
  • Stop eating when you’re 80% full
  • If you need to snack, make it a piece of fruit or handful of nuts
  • Cook most of your meals at home and eat with friends and family as much as possible

Blue Zones lifestyle lessons to maximize happiness, health, and longevity:

  • Move daily (walking counts)
  • Socialize more. According to the research, at least 8 hours/day
  • Have a sense of purpose, or reason for living. This will add a nifty 7 years to your life.
  • Have a spiritual practice. Attending faith-based services at least 4 times per month may add 4–14 years to your life.
  • Being in a committed relationship adds up to 3 years to your life.
  • Sleep 8 hours each night
  • Have sex. At least 3 times a week. This will increase longevity. Don’t shoot the messenger.

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