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My vagina smells like onion: Is my food to blame?

If your vagina smells like onion, don't fret! All women have vaginal odour. Let's explore the connection between food and a smelly vagina!
Vagina smells like onion
Know the reason behind a smelly vagina. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 2 May 2023, 20:58 pm IST
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Every woman smells different down there. Sometimes it’s due to poor hygiene, other times you can blame your periods or infections. But do you know that food also plays a role in how your vagina smells? It might surprise you, but vaginal odour and your diet have a strong connection. So if you eat onions or garlic, they not only leave you with bad breath but also a smelly vagina. Read on to find out how long the unpleasant smell can last and when you should be concerned.

Health Shots connected with Deepti Lokeshappa, Senior Consultant – Nutritionist and Dietitian, Motherhood Hospital, Indiranagar, Bengaluru to find out the link between vaginal odour and food.

vagina smelling like onion
Vagina can smell like onion at times. Image courtesy: Unsplash

Vagina smelling like onions or garlic

All women have noticeable vaginal odour, owing to the changes in their hormonal levels, periods, contraceptives and even food. Eating food plays an instrumental role in keeping the vagina healthy and maintaining the ideal pH level. Your dietary modifications and food preferences can change the microflora in the vagina. Eating certain products can change the acidic level of the microflora which caters to the smell of your vagina, says Lokeshappa.

So, while citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can make your vaginal smell comparatively sweeter, foods with a strong odour such as garlic or onions can make your vagina smell bad.

Your vagina won’t smell like onions forever

The strong distinct smell of the vagina will go away once the body completely metabolises what you ate. Leaving out food products which cause a change in vaginal odour can also help to reduce the distinct smell. So, take a break from onions and garlic for some time. Staying hydrated will also help to get rid of the foul smell. Also, maintaining a balanced diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help in getting a lighter scent as compared to greasy foods.

A smelly vagina is a sign of infection

Yes, certain foods such as onion or garlic affect your vaginal health to a certain degree. So, if you eat onions in large quantities, you will end up with pee and vaginal discharge smelling like onions. If your vagina has an unusually strong and unpleasant smell, like onions, for long, it may be a sign of an infection like bacterial vaginosis, which is bacterial overgrowth in the vagina. In this case, you will have a strong and unpleasant smell down there and also feel itchy and pain.

If the vaginal odour lasts for several days or if you develop symptoms like an unusual discharge, pain, itching, redness, or irritation, it is important to contact your doctor.

vagina smelling like onion
Everyone has a different vaginal odor. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Ways to ensure vagina smells good

Vagina is a self-cleansing organ. You can’t get rid of your natural smell down there, but you need to keep your vagina clean to make sure it doesn’t smell bad. Here’s what you can do!

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• Wash your vagina regularly so that you don’t invite infections, but don’t go for vaginal douching.
• Wear breathable underwear made of cotton to avoid irritation.
• Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants regularly because vagina naturally releases moisture all the time. If the moisture can’t escape, the bacteria balance will get disrupted leading to odour and irritation.
• Avoid using scented washes because it eliminates good bacteria and interrupts the pH balance leading to irritation and infection.

So, next time you decide to load up your plate with onions, think of how it will affect your vaginal odor.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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