Meet Dr Natasha Dole, our resident doc. She’s here to answer your health-related questions.
It’s time to bust another medical myth with #AskADoc!
We’ve all heard the rumour – eat more pineapples and your vagina will taste as sweet as summer fruit. But if you’re a person with a vagina, you’ll know that’s not exactly how it works. So what’s the deal? Is there any truth in the claim that you can control the taste and smell of your va-jay-jay?
Is it true that what you eat affects the smell and taste of your vagina?
There is no scientific evidence to prove it does. But FYI, regular personal hygiene is the most NB! Foul smells down there are usually cased by infection – bacterial, viral, parasitic and, of course, fungal. All these are easily treatable – either with antibiotics, anti-fungals or antivirals – and you may need a full STI screen to check for any sexually transmitted causes.
Remember: wearing tampons or sanitary towels for extended hours can also contribute to this. Foreign bodies up there, such as an unchanged tampon or stuck condom are another contributing factor for smelling funky. Very rarely, certain medical conditions can also cause this, for example, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Vaginal discharge may be normal depending on where you are in your monthly cycle but when your discharge changes in consistency, smell, colour or is increased in amount – that is when you should seek professional help.
Past puberty, a normal vaginal discharge consists of 1 to 4 mL fluid (per 24 hours), which is white or transparent, thick or thin, and most often free of any odour with no associated symptoms. Multiple factors can affect the volume and character of normal vaginal discharge – diet, sexual activity, medication and stress are a few examples.
Associated urinary symptoms such as painful, burning, or frequent urination, and blood in the urine, are also symptoms that need a doc ASAP – most often, these symptoms are due to a urinary tract infection (UTI) which is easily treated with antibiotics. Itchiness and pain during sex also need immediate attention. A foul smelling discharge coupled with nausea, vomiting, fevers, abdominal or lower back pain need medical attention, too.
Lastly, a less than pleasant odour can be due to pelvic fistulas (an abnormal connection between two areas, for example between the rectum and the vagina). Urinary and faecal incontinence (when you loose the ability to control when you pee or poop) and chronic constipation can also cause displeasing smells.
Bottom line – if in doubt, it’s best to #AskADoc!
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