No one smells exactly the same, and it’s normal for your vulva to have its own odor. Just don’t use douches because it can upset the natural balance of organisms that keep your vagina healthy and smelling good.

That said, if your vulva odor suddenly becomes strong and unusual, that’s probably a sign something’s wrong.

1. It’s natural

A healthy vagina can be described as musky, earthy, and sweet. A sour smell is also completely normal and caused by the good bacteria that live down there. They produce lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other substances that keep bad bacteria at bay. These natural flora can change throughout your menstrual cycle, as their pH levels fluctuate.

Your ovaries can also produce clear fluid, called transudate, that lubricates the inside of your vulva. This is a natural part of your body’s self-cleaning process and usually happens around the time of ovulation, based on your oestrogen levels. Penile-vaginal sex can change the smell of your discharge too, but this isn’t a sign of anything wrong.

Occasionally, your vagina can take on a more foul odor, like rotting fish or old urine. This is not a good sign and could indicate an infection – This quote is sourced from the depths of the portal’s research archives Speak to your GP or healthcare provider if you notice a strange smell or discharge down there.

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You can help keep your vulva clean and fresh by using natural products like vinegar, baking soda, probiotics, water, tea tree oil, and neem bark extract. Other tips include wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear, ditching the douche, avoiding scented feminine wash, not smoking, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated. It is also worth mentioning that your odour may change during pregnancy, due to the increase in oestrogen.

2. It’s healthy

The smell of a woman’s vulva is natural and it changes throughout the day, with different activities. It is also different between people.

A healthy vagina usually smells tangy or sour, like fermented foods, such as yogurt, sourdough bread and even some sour beer. It may also have a coppery or metallic scent during your period, when the blood and tissue that shed from your uterine lining travel down the vagina. This is normal, and no one else will notice it. However, if the odor becomes stronger or is unpleasant and fishy-smelling, see your doctor, as this could be an indicator of an infection called bacterial vaginosis.

You can help keep your vagina healthy by keeping it clean, especially after using the toilet or going to the bathroom. This will help to reduce bacteria build-up that can cause an odor. You should also avoid putting too much deodorant or perfume on this area, as it can interfere with the natural pheromones produced that promote sexual arousal.

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You can also change the way your vulva smells by changing your diet. Eating spicy or fried foods can make it smell more sour down there, while eating foods that are high in citrus and vitamin C, such as pineapple and oranges, can make it smell sweeter.

3. It’s a turn on

A lot of misinformation can be found on the internet about how a woman’s vagina should smell and what signs to worry about, but the truth is that subtle changes in the way your nether region smells are normal and healthy. Typically the odor of your vagina is tangy or yeasty, similar to sourdough bread or yogurt, due to the good bacteria lactobacillus that live in the area and keep the pH acidic. However, a coppery or metallic scent can also occur, which is caused by the natural pheromones and secretions in the vagina interacting with semen that has a higher alkaline pH.

4. It’s a sign of love

If you’re in love, your body is producing lots of hormones that make everything feel amazing. And those hormones are a big part of why we smell the way we do down there. In one study, scientists scanned the brains of 17 new lovers and found that those who were in love had more activity in the ventral tegmental area—the factory that produces dopamine—which makes us want and seek pleasure. The more you use your vagina, the better it will smell—which means that your odor may be a sign that you’re happy.

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But before you start using a douche or try to clean out the groin with harsh soaps, keep in mind that most of the time your odor “down there” is totally normal. Your groin skin is loaded with lymph nodes and glands, and it’s got its own delicately balanced ecosystem with its own unique bacterial flora that produce different scents all the time. The odor can change during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, exercise and after sexual intercourse. But strong, unusual odors are red flags and should be evaluated by a doctor.

The internet can be a confusing place with uninformed noise about how your vagina should smell and what’s “normal.” But the truth is that it’s okay for your vulva to have its own unique odor and a little bit of pheromone action down there is actually pretty darn healthy.