When you first step out of the shower or bath, you likely feel clean, refreshed, and ready to face the day with confidence. Unfortunately, that sweet-smelling feeling of confidence may not last nearly as long as you would like.  Vaginal odor is the most common feminine hygiene issue faced by women and most are embarrassed to discuss.

If you are concerned about vaginal odor, you may be tempted to purchase one of the many products marketed to clean your vaginal area or mask the scent. It's important to know that these products often offer only a temporary effect and can be quite irritating. It can actually do little to stop vaginal odor at its source. Using a product that is scientifically proven to minimize odor-causing bacteria will help you feel fresh and confident throughout your day.

The Factors that Can Influence Vaginal Odor

If you have concerns that your intimate area does not smell as fresh as you would like, it may be helpful to know that having a slight vaginal odor serves a purpose. Research suggests that your vagina communicates important information about your health and fertility by releasing pheromones. The fragrance changes with hormonal shifts during the different stages of your menstrual cycle, and also during pregnancy and menopause.

While a certain amount of odor is to be expected, many women significantly underestimate the number of factors that contribute. Just a few of the numerous factors that can contribute to vaginal odor include:

  • Your Choice of Undergarments

    Synthetic undergarments and shapewear create the ideal environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive. If you are concerned about odor, consider wearing cotton undergarments. Cotton fabrics are less likely to hold moisture.

  • Intimate Contact

    The interaction between vaginal fluids, blood,  semen, lubricants, and condoms, can alter the natural pH of your vagina.  This can cause an overgrowth of normal bacteria leading to odor-causing bacterial vaginosis.  Rinsing with plain water and avoiding flavored or scented lubricants can help reduce the risk irritation and temporarily reduce unpleasant vaginal odor.  Best way to solve the issue is to reestablish normal vaginal acidic pH.   When left alone, your vaginal flora will re-establish balance.   Alternatively, one can use suppositories or supplements that are designed to maintain normal vaginal pH and thus control unwanted bacterial overgrowth and odor.  It is a good idea to use after menses or intercourse to reestablish balance instead of waiting for the odor to develop.

  • Personal Hygiene Practices

    Anywhere you sweat will eventually develop an unpleasant odor. If you are concerned about feminine odor after working out, consider washing your vulva with water and a warm washcloth after exercise (or between showers). Odor-causing bacteria thrive in a warm moist environment.  Remember yeast loves alkaline soap so excessive washing with soap can actually make skin irritation worse.  Simple warm water and gentle drying would be best.  Avoid soap when the skin is irritated.  Removing sweat before bacteria can multiply reduces the likelihood of odors developing.   Bacteria can grow and form an irritating slimy film called biofilm.  Biofilm can be found in any body surface that is moist such as gum, armpits, under our breasts,  skin folds and our intimate area.  This biofilm enables bacterial to grown and causes unpleasant odor as well as irritation.  Key to maintaining good hygiene is to reduce biofilm formation and thus reducing environment for bacteria overgrowth.

  • Your Choice of Menstrual Products

    Some women notice a strong metallic odor during their period. While many women are bothered by this somewhat unpleasant odor, that metallic smell you might notice is caused by the natural breakdown of blood.  Blood also alters normal vaginal pH to cause an overgrowth of normal bacteria.  Some women susceptible to vaginal irritation notice the same odor after intercourse. Changing pads more frequently or using an internal feminine hygiene product (tampons) could help you feel fresher throughout the day.  It is best to use an organic unscented product as many pad and cotton are bleached with chemicals during the manufacturing process and can cause irritation when in contact with our intimate areas.  If you chose to use a tampon, best to use one without applicator to not only reduce contact with potential irritants but also to be environmentally friendly.

  • Your Hydration Habits

    Women who remain well hydrated commonly have less pronounced vaginal odor than women who neglect their hydration needs. Women who stay on top of their fluid intake throughout the day also have a lower risk of developing bacterial overgrowth, and the odor of their sweat is often less pronounced.

Vaginal odor is a common complaint, even for women who do everything "right." If you notice a strong "fishy" odor or experience other symptoms such as burning, itching, or discharge that does not resolve, it's always best to consult your health care provider. These symptoms could suggest the presence of a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Left untreated, vaginal infections can spread to your cervix and fallopian tubes causing pelvic inflammatory diseases leading to scars that can cause pain or infertility. The irritation caused by an infection can also increase your risk of contracting an STD if the normal integrity of your skin is damaged.

Avoiding Odor-Controlling Methods That Can Compromise Your Health

Many feminine deodorant sprays, powders, suppositories, and wipes promising to eliminate vaginal odor can create more issues than they solve. Far too many contain irritating fragrances, chemicals and other harsh ingredients that can disrupt your delicate PH balance and leave you susceptible to vaginal infections.

The increased risk of vaginal infection is also the primary reason doctors commonly advise women against douching. While douching may have been a common practice of women in previous generations, today we know that flushing your vagina with products containing vinegar, baking soda, or iodine can eliminate both harmful and beneficial bacteria. When essential balance is disrupted, your risk of developing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis increases dramatically. Forcing fluids into your vagina can also push bacteria into your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries and have a significant impact on your reproductive health.   

A Scientifically Proven Solution for Vaginal Odor

Many feminine hygiene products intended to eliminate vaginal odor temporarily mask the problem. Most fail to provide a safe, proven method of inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria and are only effective for a few hours at best.

If you are one of the many women who feel more self-assured and confident knowing vaginal odor is under control, consider the benefits of MD® Intimate Fresh. MD® Intimate Fresh is a 100 percent natural product that reduces odor-causing fungi and bacteria while maintaining a natural moisture barrier. By inhibiting the formation of odor-producing biofilm, MD® Intimate Fresh keeps you feeling clean and confident for up to 12 hours with the combined effects of two safe, effective odor-inhibiting ingredients:

  • Peppermint Essential Oil

    Natural essential oils have been used medicinally throughout the ages to control infection.  While our early ancestors may not have fully understood why this sweet-smelling herb prevented infection, researchers today confirm that peppermint is effective against 22 strains of bacteria. In addition to reducing or eliminating bacterial growth, peppermint also calms irritation while providing a safe, natural method of odor control.

  • Silver Sol Solution

    MD® Intimate Fresh relies on the biofilm-inhibiting properties of Silver Sol, a colorless, odorless blend of elemental silver and deionized water. The nanosilver particles from a sphere surrounding a molecule of nanosilver to emit energy wavelength between890 and 910 nanometers. This is a natural drug-free method to break down the biofilm making the skin much cleaner and less irritated.  Silver ions are shown to inhibit the formation of odor-causing biofilm, including the bacteria that can cause candida This colorless, odorless compound is probiotic-friendly and provides a natural barrier against odor-causing bacteria. Unlike the ionic silver or mild silver protein used in other wellness products, Silver Sol will not accumulate in your body due to its small size and its safety has been demonstrated.  It is approved in Europe to use intravaginally but not yet in the US.

MD® Intimate Fresh is a vegan-friendly formula with ingredients that are proven safe and effective in more than 400 safety reports and independent studies. Developed by a gynecologist, this natural product could be ideal for anyone looking for a safe, long-lasting way to minimize feminine odor, including those living with incontinence. Intimate fresh contains no mineral oils, parabens, fragrance, or BPA. In addition to reducing vaginal odor an irritation, Intimate Fresh also addresses pain, itch, and dryness. It contains natural essential oil to control bacterial overgrowth and maintain pH.  Hyaluronic acid and glycerin for a natural moisture barrier.  These simple, natural and drug-free formulation when applied externally can provide up to 12 hours of freshness and confidence.

Feeling Fresh and Confident with MD® Intimate Fresh

Just like any other area of your body, including your hair and skin, your vagina has a unique, natural odor.  That odor can be influenced by a significant number of variables, including hormonal changes, activity levels, the foods you eat, and the clothing you prefer to wear. Many women, just like you, feel entirely more confident knowing the potential for minimizing vaginal odor is within their control.

Rather than masking vaginal odor, or using a product that could cause further complications, consider the value of selecting a product shown to effectively minimize the growth of bacteria, so you feel fresh and confident throughout your day, MD® Intimate Fresh.

For MD® Intimate Fresh and a quality selection of scientifically supported health, wellness, and beauty products visit MD®, where science meets beauty and wellness. Founded in 2006 by Susan F Lin MD, we combine the best of eastern and western science to formulate effective hair, skin, lash, and wellness products that empower you to look and feel your best.