11 DIY Remedies For A Smelly Vagina (Including Gwyneth Paltrow's Favorite Vaginal Odor Cure)

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Before we get to the meat of this article, I want to get a couple of very important things straight that every woman in possession of a vagina ought to know.

Your vagina has a smell. That smell is not inherently good or bad.

It is simply the smell of your vagina.

Because of the way your body and your vagina are designed, anyone in possession of a vagina will at some point in their life experience different amounts of vaginal odor and/or will notice a change in the vaginal discharge due to hormonal changes, health issues, diet, or sexual intercourse.

Very often when women worry about a smelly vagina, it's because of menstruation or sweat.

Other medical issues that can cause your vagina to develop an unhealthy odor are bacterial vaginosis — an overgrowth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria and trichomoniasis — one of the many sexually transmitted infections out there.

Many believe yeast infections are to blame for a bad odor but that is actually a myth, but some vaginal infections can create a fishy odor.

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The best way to combat vaginal odor is with basic hygiene. Don't go out and buy a fancy vagina wash, because that is a fool's errand. Your vagina is perfectly capable (nay, in fact quite skilled) at keeping itself clean. Unsettling its own natural PH balance by introducing foreign substances is one sure-fire way to guarantee that you will wake up to an aroma that is the opposite of awesome.

With bacterial vaginosis, even after showering the unpleasant odor or strong smell may still be there. It can also cause you to be constantly wet from discharge that is trying to clean out the overgrowth that isn't supposed to be there. Sometimes doctors will put you on medication to help. 

To keep a healthy vagina smelling the way a healthy vagina should, all you need to do is shower and bathe in soap and warm water to wash only the outside of your vulva or vaginal area, and change your underwear frequently.

Practicing safe sex is also a great preventative measure to take. 

Divine Feminine Educator and author Anna-Thea says, "Your Yoni is the most powerful part of your femininity. She doesn't like when she's out of balance or not being honored. She'll scream, she''ll holler and even smell if she's not treated right. And we live in a society that doesn't treat her right."

It is that simple.

However, sometimes even the healthiest vaginas go bad, and when this happens that's when it's time to take action. 

For most people, that means to consult a doctor (especially if you have other symptoms along with the odor), but some people prefer to look for natural remedies for a smelly vagina, and you know what, more power to them.

To help those of you who dig homeopathic options, here are some of the most popular all-natural methods and at-home remedies to get rid of vaginal odor.

Check them out and see if any seem like they might do the trick for you.

But remember as you read: there is nothing wrong with having a vagina that smells.

That's part of what they do, and in bygone eras, it's how men would scent and identify their mates. Sexy, right?

1. Vinegar Soak

Taking too many baths or showers can actually be bad for your vagina.

I know, it's a contradiction. Good hygiene is required to keep the smell of your vagina at bay, but if you take that good hygiene to the extreme you actually make that noise (by which I mean your vagina) smell worse by stripping it of its natural bacteria.

If you are going to take any kind of bath, do it in vinegar, preferably apple cider vinegar for the full "hippie" experience. Vinegar is thought to do battle with bacteria, so the thinking when you bathe your nethers in it is that you are going to strip away the "bad" bacteria causing the fishy aroma.

The risk? You might strip away some of the good, protective bacteria too.

You can also try it with baking soda. 

2. Essential Oils

I love me some essential oils. When I'm not dosing my essential oil necklace (a thing I truly own) or dumping as many as I can into my diffuser, I am trying to brainwash others into joining me and my cult of aromatherapy.

That said, for all my passion in this area, it's never occurred to me to use them in order to fight a case of a bad-smelling vagina, which is apparently something other women do!

Limited studies have found tea tree oil to be effective in the fight against the ol' stinky vagina, as tea tree oil naturally breaks down bacteria and fungus.

Try it if you'd like, but just don't pour the oil right onto your lady bits.

Therein lies madness.

3. Fenugreek Seeds

Yup, we gettin' super earthy now!

Fenugreek seeds are supposedly able to have a positive effect on your body's PH. So, if you think your PH is out of whack, you might want to try fenugreek seeds.

The seeds are also said to support your body's ability to make estrogen, which is always fun, because who doesn't want perpetually sore boobs, am I right? I am. It's okay. I don't need you to bolster my confidence.

If you want to try Fenugreek to bid your vagina smell farewell, you can either steep the seeds in hot water overnight and then drink as a tea twice a day, or you can steep it overnight, let it cool and then use to wash your vagina.

The fact that both techniques are supposedly equally effective has me a tad skeptical, but go on, live your best life.

4. Indian Gooseberry

Indian Gooseberry, sometimes known as Amla, is really revered by people in the know (herbally speaking) because of its impressive power when it comes to fighting infections. Add to that the fact that this stuff is also full of Vitamin C and it makes for an herbalist's dream.

Power up that immune system, y'all!

There are several different ways you can prepare Indian Gooseberries. You can make them into tea and drink them. You can straight up eat them. Or you can dry them, blend them with honey until they form a paste and smear that paste on your vagina until things clear up.

Fun fact: While writing that last sentence, I discovered that my own vagina is capable of wincing.

5. Banana

There is zero science to back up the fact that eating two bananas a day will cure you of a case of smelly vagina, and yet women all over the internet swear by it.

The theory is that bananas are packed with carbs and give your body a jolt of sugar, which also can make you a little bit constipated.

I'm not really sure how that fights a bad-smelling vagina, but okay "natural remedies."

Side note: Do not stick a banana inside of your vagina. They are easy to bend and break and the awkwardness that would follow having to tug out bits of banana from your stuff is something I cannot bear to even think of any longer than I already have.

RELATED: Why Your Vagina Smells Like Onions — And What To Do About It

6. Cranberry

Women who suffer from bacterial vaginosis often swear by the power of cranberries.

Cranberries themselves contain vitamins C and K, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants that work to detox your kidneys and urine, which leads some to believe it will do the same for any lingering imbalance of vaginal bacteria.

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This is a relatively harmless thing to try if you want. That said, make sure you purchase actual cranberry juice, because a cranberry juice cocktail or mixed cranberry juice beverage, while delicious, will not do the job even a very little bit.

7. Fig

In the Ayurvedic tradition, figs have long been used to treat problematic vaginal odors. The main thinking behind this is that figs act as a powerful laxative to flush out all manner of things from your body.

While this might be true when it comes to your bowels, your vagina itself is usually pretty good at taking care of any potential interlopers without the help of a fruit whose sole purpose seems to be making you poop. But go ahead and try eating a few figs to see if this trick works to cure you and your Gal Friday.

8. Vaginal Steaming

Vaginal steaming (also known as Yoni Steaming) is an ancient practice popular in several parts of the world. It has no known health benefits and, depending on which herbs you put in the water that you are using to steam up your crotch, it could, in fact, be harmful.

Still, many women swear by the tightening and cleansing power of regular vaginal steaming. The only benefit from this that I can see is that steam can clean you up because it basically hot water.

Gwyneth Paltrow's website, Goop, is among the advocates for this treatment. She even crashed James Cordon's monologue during an episode of The Late, Late Show in order to "defend" it, so make of that what you will.

Most of the reviews say it does help to get rid of a bad smell down there. You never know until you try it!

9. Yogurt Bath

Lately, the marketing world has picked up on what women with vaginas have known for years: yogurt is the cure for all that ails you. Well, for almost all that ails you. The powerful bacteria in yogurt can help correct your unbalanced PH and get rid of bad smells in the process.

For some women, this is done by putting a cup of yogurt in their actual bathwater and bathing as normal. For others, it meaning soaking a tampon in yogurt before inserting it into your vagina.

But remember: before you try any sort of new and exciting way to cure your vaginal odor, you ought to talk to your doctor.

10. Alum

Alum has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, which makes it slightly easier to understand why people might use this powder to eliminate vaginal odors.

That said, I am still morally opposed to putting something in my vagina that is also used to pickle vegetables.

Pickles are delicious, sure, but I do not want to pickle my vagina. That sounds ungodly and, if anything, like it would make the aroma a heck of a lot worse.

11. Neem Leaves

Neem, otherwise known as Indian Lilac, is full of antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. People chew it when they have mouth infections, drink tea made from its leaves when they are sick, and all that good stuff.

If you want to try any one of the items on this list, I'd go with neem first. The best way to give it a try is by steeping the leaves in boiling water and then, once the water has cooled (that's critical!) pour it gently over the affected area.

It's awesome to want to tackle your body issues with natural solutions instead of running out to get a prescription from a doctor who barely knows you.

I totally get why that might seem appealing.

However, sometimes when the situation gets serious, you simply have to take a deep breath, offer up your ego, and call the doctor, gals.

Anna-Thea encourages us to love our vaginas even when she's smelly, "There is no better remedy for an out-of-balance (smelly) vagina than love. Release the shame and any limiting beliefs you have regarding your female genitalia and you'll see - magic will happen. Love her and she will smell like a flower!" 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor, and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.