Once Upon a Month by Incognito

Embarrassing intimate odours: causes and solutions

October 21st, 2015

Zoé's Diaries

That's right girls! I'm talking about those little smells "made in pantyland" that we could all kind of do without, if you know what I mean...! You know, that little aroma coming from your undies at the end of the day or the less-than-pleasant scent you get the impression that everyone and their grandma can smell when it's that time of the month? 

With the [insert descriptive curse here] beauty standards conveyed by today's media, the ideal woman is something reminiscent of a photoshopped model who eats nothing and who never worries about stuff as gross and trivial as pooping or being on the rag. Of course! You didn't know? Basically, girls never have to take a dump and our perfectly smooth little flower is supposed to smell like a rose 24/7! No time off there! #minuteofsarcasmover

The result of all this nonsense? Young girls are ashamed to get their period and are convinced that because they have a little discharge or their panties smell like something other than spring waterfall-fresh detergent, they're abnormal… 

NEWS FLASH: these odours are perfectly NORMAL!!!

Clear or white discharge is a type of natural secretion designed to cleanse and lubricate the vagina. It starts at adolescence and amounts vary from one woman to the next. When it dries in the undies, this daily discharge gives off a teeny-tiny odour but rest assured! Nothing could be more normal. If you're turned off by more than just a little discharge (in other words, if your panties are always damp), you can try wearing cotton undies (instead of a synthetic material) and use pantiliners to reduce that damp sensation: liners come in all shapes and sizes nowadays to fit all types of undies.

Learning to know your discharge – what it looks like… and how it smells – is also a good way to monitor the health of your va-jay-jay! In fact, a sudden and dramatic change in the look of the discharge (colour, texture…) and a stronger odour are often the sign of a vaginal infection – at which point it's time to see your doc.

Many girls also write me about how their crotch smells during their period. This odour is also totally normal. In fact, menstrual blood oxidizes when it is exposed to air, giving off a not-so-pleasant odour. No big deal, ladies: it's as if you left a piece of raw meat out at room temperature: after a moment, doesn't smell so hot! Rest assured: only you smell this odour. Need proof? Just ask yourself if you ever noticed such an odour on one of your girlfriends! However, if these odours really bug you, we recommend that you just change your pad more often when you have your period.

The most common mistake young girls make is to do way too much to make these odours "disappear": vaginal douches, astringent soaps, perfumes… the vaginal flora has a delicate balance that can easily be disturbed by these practices or products, causing irritations, sometimes even infections. Do you think scented pads and tampons are the answer?

In reality, you should steer clear of them! As indicated in this article "Perfume promotes irritations in the very sensitive skin of the genitals, in addition to disturbing the [vaginal flora's] pH." So if you want to freshen your crotch area – and fast – you're better off using a hypoallergenic intimate wipe; they're individually wrapped, so totally simple to throw in your purse!

Are there any other points you'd like to be reassured about in terms of your sexual health? 

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About the author

 Zoé’s never at loss for words. Part fashionista, part foodie, she loves sharing her latest discoveries and funny stories.   Zoé had her first...