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The education on offer about vaginas and vulvas isn’t up to par. All too often, you’re left wondering what your body is doing and can’t get simple answers.

Should your vulva look like that? Why is there vagina itching and odor? Is it normal to have that much discharge?

Sometimes, the questions are easily answered. Someone should just come out and tell you that your vulva is just the way it should be and that cervical mucus is normal, and there’s nothing to worry about!

However, some vagina issues aren’t as easy to answer or forget about. You might feel discomfort, such as burning and itching around the vulva or something that might be embarrassing or concerning, such as an unpleasant smell.

It’s time to focus on the most common questions relating to the vagina and help you understand if you can chill or if you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to be safe.

Why Is Your Vagina Itchy?

There’s no discharge – just itchy patches all around, maybe with some bumps on the skin. Most itching is a result of irritation, so there’s nothing more sinister going on in your body. In fact, many things can irritate your overly sensitive vagina, such as:

  • Soap
  • Perfumes
  • Bubble bath
  • Moisturizers
  • Detergents
  • Tampons with chemicals
  • Toilet paper (the scented kind)
  • Fabric softeners

Before rushing off to the doctor or typing in your symptoms to Google (which is never a good thing), check the materials and products you currently use.

Did you try a new “sensitive” body wash? Are there different ingredients that weren’t there before? Do you use period products or toiletries with chemicals and synthetic materials?

If the answer to any of those is yes, try eliminating the products to see if that helps with your itchiness. Since there’s no discharge, just itchy patches of skin, it often comes from using the wrong things on that sensitive area.

If you want, you can add one product back to your routine at a time. Use it for a few days, and if there’s no itching, it should be safe.

However, your itchiness might not be caused by external things. If you eliminate all of those products and still have itchiness, make an appointment with your doctor. There’s probably nothing to worry about, but you don’t want to itch and burn (and try to scratch in public) for long. Your down-there doc might have soothing creams and other treatments to cool the “V.”

Chances are, your itchiness is from thrush. You’ve either had it or knew someone who did because it’s quite common. It’s a yeast infection that anyone can get (regardless of body type or sex).

However, it often comes with a thick and white discharge that resembles cottage cheese. It’s definitely not something you want oozing from your vagina, and there are medications to help you get over the infection.

Usually, thrush comes on with no odor unless you ask someone with a penis. With it, you may notice a stinging sensation while you pee or have sex. It’s harmless for the most part, but it is uncomfortable. Your doc can quickly set you up with some antifungal meds to calm it down and get rid of the infection.

While it’s not super bad, it’s easy to fix. Who wants to suffer when they don’t have to?

Again, though, you may have no discharge, just itchy spots along the vulva. Almost every minor infection includes a discharge of some kind.

Why Does Your Vagina Smell?

Um, every woman’s vagina smells. It’s a moist place with a lot going on down there, so there’s bound to be something.

However, you must be more specific here. Just because there’s something doesn’t mean it’s a bad odor!

With that, vaginal discharge is normal! It has a smell, but if it’s musty or just slightly sour, that’s okay! However, if you detect anything unpleasant such as fishiness or a gone-off whiff, that’s a little different.

Just schedule an appointment with your vagina doc and let them know what’s going on. They can quickly figure out what to do and treat your issues. That way, you don’t have to deal with vagina itch and odor for long.

Here’s a shout-out to the ladies that just hit puberty. You’re right to worry about a new smell but remember: your body has a specific one. Learn the difference between what’s normal for you and abnormal. That way, you can dismantle the shame that goes along with owning a vagina and know when there’s something to concern yourself with.

Okay! You’ve figured out that the smell isn’t from your discharge. What else could it be?

There are tons of reasons for unusual smells coming from your vagina, such as you:

  • Recently had sex
  • Engaged in exercise (body sweat)
  • Have a tampon that should be removed, like, NOW

Always remember that you’ve got a tampon in your body! Don’t leave it in longer than recommended because that can cause some pretty icky symptoms.

A common cause of vagina itching and odor is from BV (Bacterial Vaginosis). It often comes with a strong fish smell and gets powerful after having sex. Usually, you notice a white or gray watery discharge.

There’s absolutely nothing to worry about, though. It’s just caused when something upsets the natural pH balance of your vagina.

While you don’t want to walk around smelling like fish, it’s easily treated by a visit to your local sexual health clinic or doctor.

Sometimes, women have a different connection between the vaginal hole and rectum, which allows gas or feces to get in from the large intestine. It doesn’t sound pretty, but it is treatable. Typically, you have more than just odor and itching, so that’s probably not the cause for you.

Let’s say this: if you experience vagina itching and odor, it’s probably nothing. Try eliminating products from your routine to see if that helps. If not, there’s absolutely no shame in going to the doctor and getting checked out. You’re bound to feel better knowing everything’s A-OK down there.

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Keeping Your Vagina Healthy and Clean

It’s so important to educate yourself about your body! Only you know what’s normal for you. When you pinpoint that, you can identify when something’s just not quite right. With that, you gain the knowledge to identify symptoms and know when to call a doctor.

It’s always good to have your symptoms checked out if you’re not sure.

That said, though, you don’t have to scare yourself or jump down the Google rabbit hole researching tons of symptoms and getting nowhere.

Repeat this mantra as often as necessary: My vagina is very sensitive, and it doesn’t take a lot to upset it. Your body is so amazing with what it can do, and that’s especially true of the vagina.

If there’s no discharge, just itchy patches here and there, it’s likely some new product you used or an “improved” formula.

Instead of buying things that aren’t designed for your vagina’s sensitive skin, consider products that are focused on feminine use and care. Those who are extra anxious about minor vaginal itching may also want to use CBD-infused products, such as bath salts, mists, and more.

Take the edge off and be yourself. Love your vagina for what it is and does for you every day!