There’s a foul fragrance adrift and no, it’s not coming from your trash can. It’s foreign, fishy and seems to be coming from down there. You’ve only just donned your new leopard print panties and already there’s an excess of white stuff, leaving a telltale trail in your crotch line. One sniff check confirms what you don’t want to believe -- yes, it’s your lady parts giving off that unpleasantly strong odor. Before you start combating the unwelcome smell with soaps, sprays and perfumes, book a visit with your gynecologist or doctor to assess your V’s atypical aroma.
Your V has a delicate balance of both good bacteria (probiotics) and bad bacteria (pathogens). The peaceful probiotics work to protect your lady parts against unwanted microorganisms by discouraging growth, stimulating your immune responses and fighting bad bacteria. Pathogens have the potential to disrupt the natural acidity of your V, and can cause infections like bacterial vaginosis and candida, or yeast infections. While unidentified smells can be alarming (not to mention embarrassing), your lady bits are doing their job in alerting you that something is amiss south of the border. Strong smells and abnormal discharge can be signs of a pH imbalance and potential infections. Instead of hanging your head in shame, celebrate the fact that your body is letting you know there is something wrong!
Your lady bits are capable of so many wonderful things, including stimulation and pleasure, so maintaining optimal V health is important. If your hoo-ha isn’t at its happiest, here are 15 signs you might have a sad V, or ways that you can guarantee you've made it sad.
15 Funky Smell
Foul odors belong anywhere but down there. Yes, your lady junk naturally has a unique smell, but it shouldn’t be the type of stench that knocks you off your feet! Smells permeating from your panties may be a cue that something is going on down there. Don’t be shy and get to intimately know your fragrance. Regular sniff checks can help you maintain a happy V, and alert you when things are headed south. By acquainting yourself with your scent at your healthiest, you can be more attuned when your fragrance changes to something less familiar. Foul or unusual odors can be indicators of imbalances, infections or other health problems. A fishy scent is usually a sign of common infections like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. A yeasty odor can be an indication of a yeast infection (though sometimes this infection may be odorless). Tune in to other strange scents and generally, if it smells bad, book an appointment with your gynecologist or doctor.
14 Cause: You Use Potentially Harmful Products On Your Lady Garden
Chances are, if you’re regularly using V hygiene products, your lady may be feeling a little blue. So you invested in some special cleansers and sprays to boost your confidence and mask your intimate eau-de-you, but what you may not have realized is that those products usually do more harm than good. All V’s have their own unique look, smell, and taste, and many products for your downstairs are laden with chemicals, parabens, dyes and other synthetic no-no’s. Down-there hygiene is much simpler than feminine hygiene product market would like you to believe. Do yourself a favor and say goodbye to lady wipes, deodorants, douches, shampoos and sprays. All you need is good old fashioned mild, natural, unscented soap and warm water to clean your lady parts. Regular washing, especially after sweating and physical activity will help keep you feeling (and smelling) fresh. Save your money and throw away all those products. Your lady V will thank you!
13 Cause: Clothing Too Tight
Too tight clothing can make you feel an inch smaller, not to mention wonderfully toned and tucked in. Those denim jeans with the oversized pockets make your butt look so good! Unfortunately, if your clothing is a size too small, you’re not able to breathe properly and that includes down there. You need to breathe! Non-breathable undergarments and pants that allow your V some room will keep you feeling fresh and comfortable throughout the day. Cotton is the best breathable fabric for your underwear. Choose pants that are form fitting but stretchy enough to allow you some wiggle room. Too tight slacks can chafe your delicate lady, or give you a rash, especially in warmer climates. Give your body a break for a day (or two) and get into some comfy sweats, a classy skirt or some stylish harem pants. You’ll stay fresher down there for longer and your body will thank you!
12 Pain During and After The Deed
Intercourse should definitely include some oohing and ahhing, but not in a painful way! If you romantic life has more ahhs than oohs, it might be something to ask your doctor about. Some women experience regular pain during intercourse, and even if this is the case, it’s still your V’s way of communicating that something is wrong. Perhaps your pain is an easy fix, like incorporating more foreplay into your intimacy to ensure you are lubricated and raring to go, or perhaps your stress levels are contributing to your unpleasant and painful experiences. Otherwise, pain during intimacy can be caused by infections like yeast, genital herpes, trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted diseases. These infections may cause pain during or after passion fuelled encounters. Doing it should be exhilarating and pleasure-filled, not uncomfortable and painful. Intercourse can be a wonderful stress release, so if you’re experiencing more pain than pleasure, it’s time to tap into this natural, alleviating medicine.
11 Cause: You Don’t Treat Yourself
Self-care is important for your vitality and well-being. You can’t take care of those around you if you don’t take care of yourself first. Stress has negative effects on the body, and not surprisingly, this stress can affect things down there too! High stress levels can create hormonal imbalances which can impact your lady, potentially causing unwanted yeast and bacterial infections. Keep your southern bits happy by maintaining mindfulness and balance in your life. When life gets hectic, carve out time to treat yourself. Perhaps this means spending a day shopping with the ladies, or treating yourself to a day at home in your pajamas. Everything is connected, and when you gift yourself the attention and love you deserve, your body feels it! Your V is happy when you’re happy, so do things that make you smile, especially if that means going on that long overdue second date with the recent crush of yours.
10 Itchiness, Irritation, and Redness, Oh My!
Feeling the need to scratch that itch can be a little harder to do when it’s your V that’s in need of relief. If you’re on your lonesome and in a suitable location, itch away! However, if you’re out in public and experiencing itchiness and irritation, it can be a little more inconvenient to relieve yourself of that troublesome tickle. V itchiness can be caused by irritants and chemicals found in soaps, sprays, douches, deodorants, contraceptives and creams. Scented products like fabric softeners, scented toilet paper, and condoms can also cause chemical irritation. Your lady parts are delicate, and subjecting yourself to these products can cause allergies, rashes, and other sensitivities. If feminine hygiene or contraceptive products aren’t the culprits, irritation and itchiness can also be a sign of more concerning issues like yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, genital warts, and herpes.
9 Unusual Growths (That You Should Get Checked Out BTW)
Lumps and bumps belong in your duvet, not on or around your lady bits. While it’s unlikely that lumps or other unusual growths on your V are cancerous, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have them assessed and diagnosed by a doctor (no, not your best friend, as helpful as she may be). Many women have benign, non-cancerous, painless cysts that grow underneath the skin in the groin area. Lumps in the groin can be swollen lymph nodes, which could be your body reacting to an injury or infection in the body. Abnormal growths can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases like genital warts and herpes. Herpes can cause painful and itchy sores which resemble blisters, while genital warts can be found on your V’s labia and cervix, and appear cauliflower-like in appearance. Both herpes and warts can cause itching, burning and general discomfort. Always monitor your V and get any lumps, bumps, and growths checked.
8 Funky Stuff Happening
If you have a V, then you have discharge. It is a normal part of being a woman and the fluids you secrete change depending on your menstrual cycle, hormones, and emotional well-being. Your V discharges fluids (which can be more liquidous or solid) which are a natural and healthy cleansing process. Unlike your car, if you’ve got leaky fluids, it’s not necessarily cause for concern. Your lady parts are doing exactly what they should be doing! Some women have a lot of discharge and other women only have a little. Getting to know your regular fluids is all part of healthy V maintenance. Changes in discharge, including coloration, smell, and consistency, can alert you to abnormalities and potential health concerns. If your discharge is lumpy, thick, strong in odor and an unusual color (yellow, green, white or grey) it may be an indicator of infections like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases.
7 It Hurts To Go To The Bathroom
Urinating should bring you relief, not pain! If you experience burning, irritation or general discomfort while peeing, it’s an indicator that something is not right. If other symptoms include feeling the urge to urinate often, little urine coming out when you need to pee and burning sensations in your V, you likely have a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are common for women and happen when bacteria (usually colonic) transfers to the urinary tract. UTIs can be avoided by regularly washing your lady parts clean, keeping hydrated, avoiding products with chemicals or irritants, and by urinating immediately after intercourse. If you have had sexual contact with an intimate other and these symptoms are occurring coupled with abnormal discharge and change in odor down there, these could be signs of a sexually transmitted disease. Before you start chugging the cranberry juice, be sure to seek out your doctor for medical advice.
6 Cause: Zero Lady Maintenance
You need love and so does your V. When life got busy, maybe you stopped caring and maintaining the appearance of your lady garden. Your V might be feeling a little unloved, but there’s no judgment! It’s totally normal for self-care and maintenance to diminish over time. Your monthly waxes somehow evolved into yearly waxes, and now you’ve lost your esthetician’s number altogether. While you initially cared about being bare down there down during your early days with your boyfriend, you’ve gotten wonderfully lazy. He says he doesn’t care and frankly, neither do you! Splurging on a bikini wax (or a daring Brazilian if you want to try something new) might boost your self-esteem and encourage you to get back into the dating scene (if you’re not already deep in it). If you cringe at the thought of strips of waxing your nether regions, maybe shaving, scissors or tweezers are more your thing.
5 Irregular Mensies Or Spotting
There’s nothing worse than having to deal with unexpected, messy spots and stains that crop up in your underwear, especially when you weren’t expecting your period for another two weeks and you had some serious beach plans! Luckily (or not), many women experience irregular flow and spotting between their periods. While it is common, there can be different reasons for V bleeding, so if it is happening frequently, or your flow is unusually heavy, long or painful, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your doctor. Your body and menstrual cycle can be influenced by birth control pills or intrauterine devices, medicines (prescription and non-prescription), sexually transmitted diseases, and in rarer cases, polycystic ovary syndrome (a hormonal imbalance) and pelvic inflammatory disease. You may even experience untimely blood spots in response to stress, major life changes or other emotional issues. Your body is highly sensitive and intuitive, so make sure you are listening to the signals it is giving you!
4 A Lot Of Annoying Ingrown Hairs
They’re red, painful, inflamed and itchy, and all you want them to be is GONE! A definite downside of shaving, waxing or plucking your pubes is the annoying ingrown hairs that frequent your skin post clearcutting. Ingrown hairs occur when the hair follicle grows back into the skin, instead of outwards towards your skin’s surface. The trapped follicle produces small red bumps or pustules (yech!) and can become irritated and swollen. Ingrown hairs can be a nightmare, and can chafe, causing extreme sensitivity and discomfort. Most ingrown hairs clear up on their own or can be safely picked at with tweezers. You can turn that sad V to a happy one by reconsidering your hair removal options (waxing instead of shaving), using a sharper razor with plenty of lubricating shaving cream, or by considering alternative hair removal options like electrolysis. If your ingrown hairs are chronic and painful, consult with your doctor for best medical advice.
3 Cause: Not Showering After You Get Sweaty
You’re an active girl and you recognize the importance of taking care of yourself physically. You run, walk with your girlfriends, go long distance cycling, and lift weights at your local gym when you work up the courage to disregard the intimidating beefcake gym types. Unfortunately, you’ve got a busy schedule, and you don’t always take the time to shower right after your exercise, like you know full well you should. Sweat happens! But not showering after breaking a sweat can cause unwanted smells down there, not to mention nasty sweat and heat rashes. Your delicate lady parts should be thoroughly washed after physical activity -- for your and for your partner’s benefit. Use the shower at the gym or at work if it’s available. You’ll feel fresher throughout the day, and prevent unwanted clamminess. You’ve got enough to worry about in a day than worrying about your uncomfortable lady parts.
2 Cause: You Compare Yourself to Others
You have those days when your best jeans look terrible, when your hair just won’t cooperate, when no amount of make-up seems to hide your frump factor. Still, comparing yourself to other women is never a good idea. You are who are you and that includes your body. You’ve got one body in this lifetime, so you might as well make the most of it and enjoy yourself. Your body is to be celebrated, not compared (and that includes your down there features)! Every woman has different amounts of hair, and every V has its own distinctive look, smell and taste. You’re not a porn star, so there’s no sense in comparing your V with one. Focus on loving yourself for exactly who you are and don’t try to drastically change your appearance (it will just feel fake it you do). Make your lady parts happier by learning to accept yourself.
1 Cause: You Put Unsanitary Objects Up There
Unsanitary objects belong nowhere near your nether regions. When it comes to personal hygiene, you should take your V health seriously. Yes, your V is strong, but it can also be very delicate, especially when it comes to bacteria. Your V has a balance of good and bad bacteria, and unsanitary objects can cause some serious imbalances. Hello, yeast and bladder infections! Ensure you are carefully sterilizing menstrual cups before your monthly cycle. If you’re giving yourself a little love, make sure your fingers are washed and clean (this goes for your partner’s digits as well)! Read labels on your lubricants and contraceptives as many products contain ingredients that can irritate your lady parts. If playing with toys, make sure these objects are thoroughly washed and sterilized before usage. You are in charge of the objects that you allow in your lady zone, so ensure chosen objects pass the clean (and safe) check for a happy and healthy V.