What do you notice at the end of a long day of work? Or after going to the gym and working out hard? Do you feel sweaty “down there”? Do you notice dark spots in your clothing from sweating “down there”? Do you notice the soap smell you had earlier in the day? Or do you notice nothing at all? Maybe a not so pleasant smell, like sweat or body odor?
Let’s face it and let’s have a serious talk. Firstly, I have a sweaty crotch writing this because it is definitely out of my comfort zone. However, I’ve been asked WAY too many times about odor and what it all means or when to be concerned. So, we are going to have the talk ya’ll. It’s going to be the real deal.
Well. I’m here to tell you, that doesn’t mean you are unhealthy or something is wrong if you sweat or have odor. Our vaginas sweat. And sometimes they sweat like a pig which is mostly out of our control! Trust me, I know, I live in Florida and my vagina is always sweating. It’s terrible.
I believe it is expected in society that our vagina is supposed to smell like flowers all the time. I mean, we already take care of it like we do our legs, we scrub (stop that), we shave it (be careful with that), we soap it up (doesn’t need it), but we don’t exercise it. There is a leg day, why not a pelvic floor day? I mean, just a thought for another day of discussion. My point is, everyone is different. We all have different smells that come from our vagina. There are also different reasons for everyone on why there might be different smells.
So, here’s the deal. Odor is not a negative thing. Odor is your vagina’s way of speaking to you. Listen to it. Pay attention to the odors you are producing because they can actually tell you what is going on internally. You have natural bacteria and yeast in your vagina (which you should be incredibly thankful for) that could be causing some of the smell. It is a great thing to be able to secrete bacteria or yeast from our vagina or we would constantly be battling UTI’s or yeast infections.
You have sweat glands in your vagina. Yes, I said it. That is a lot of the reason you get those weird dark spots in the crotch of your shorts during summer. There are 2 types of sweat glands:
eccrine: release sweat right onto the skin
apocrine: release sweat in hairy places (armpits or vagina) into the hair follicles
Your vagina is mostly composed of the apocrine glands, which explains why you “smell.” Your bacteria, yeasts, and sweat are all coming out into the hair follicle. Then to top it all off, we usually have tight leggings on so our vagina cannot catch a breathe of fresh air. If you do not have hair “down there” the sweat still comes out of the hair follicle, so yes this applies to you too. The cool thing is that the sweat glands in your vagina release sweat when you are hot (eccrine) or when the temperature rises, but the apocrine glands can secrete sweat with just emotional stress. So you remember that stress you had this morning, before lunch, during lunch, and picking the kids up from school? Yes, it makes your vag sweat.
So, you stress, your vagina sweats……. WHAT?!?!
I’ve started to tell my husband during an argument or disagreement to stop making my vagina sweat. Ha, that goes in my favor every time!
Sweat mixes with the normal bacteria and is actually supposed to be odorless. The odor comes from the fact that it is released into the hair follicle ALONG with the bacteria and yeasts. Some ways we make things worse: wearing tight clothing in hot temperatures, clothes that are not cotton, thongs or tight fitting lingerie, not letting your vagina breathe. This means those expensive leggings and that sexy lingerie is potentially causing your vagina to stink….
Also, don’t wear underwear to bed. Let it air out, give it some room to breathe! It needs to allow all of the bacteria from the day to go away!! Wear loose pajama bottoms or a nightgown without having underwear on. During the day, go for cotton underwear and try to avoid thongs/g-strings as these are NOT GOOD for your lady parts!
Pay attention to your smells. Figure out what your normal smell is, what it smells like during ovulation, during your menstruel cycle. Because if you don’t there is a high chance you will mistaken the smell to be an infection or that something is wrong. Unfortunately infections tend to be over-diagnosed due to the patient fearing the “new smell” when it has actually just been the fact they do not know their normal smell.
As reported in my last blog, it does not help to put scents or use soap. That can actually mess with the pH, bacteria, or yeast and CAUSE a worse smell down there. So, your best option is to take my advice from the before blog for cleaning, wear cotton, let it breathe, don’t waste money on things that will make it worse, and listen to your vagina!