This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Healthy vaginas do not all have the same scent. Each woman has her unique vaginal smell, and that odor can change throughout the month. Vaginal onion smell and other unusual odors can be caused by several factors. With quick changes to your lifestyle, they will go away, and your typical scent will return.
Five common reasons your vagina might smell like onions:
Sweat is a clear, salty liquid produced by the sweat glands in your skin. The body cools down itself with sweat when you are hot. The mixture of sweat with skin cells and bacteria leads to a smell. The sweat can smell like onions underneath the armpits and even down there. The fluid in and around your vagina (i.e., vaginal discharge) may have a different odor when it mixes with sweat. The smell will be more prominent if you continuously sweat and wear the same underwear for hours, especially after working out or in a warm climate.
As we sweat, the pH of our skin rises, causing bacteria to multiply and odors to start to rise. Our Gentle 2-N-1 Foaming Wash – created by an OB/GYN – leverages naturally mineral-rich Montmorillonite clay (from western France) to create perfect pH harmony, reduce odors, dissolve bacteria, and immobilize yeast where you need it most. Remember that when your vaginal smell is not-so-fresh, that’s not on you. That’s on your pH balance. Use feminine products to help balance your pH and change your underwear or underpants frequently. Other suggestions are to wear cotton clothes when you work out and avoid wearing exercise outfits that have not been washed.
You know how the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” As you might expect, when your diet consists of onions, heavily spiced dishes, or garlic, that will have some effect on your bodily functions. Eating onions can affect the smell of your urine and vaginal discharge from its typical odor to a strong onion scent. Other food items, such as asparagus, can change the smell of your urine. Because the scent is so strong, it is often mistaken for the vaginal odor.
Start to change your diet by decreasing your intake of garlic and onions. You can see changes in your vaginal smell by drinking lots of water within 48 hours. If the odor persists after 3 or more days, contact your healthcare provider to determine the best action.
Your vagina has good and bad bacteria that, at a healthy balance, work together to prevent vaginal irritation and infections. Poor hygiene habits such as wearing dirty underwear or not washing down there for days may lead to irritation. With the overgrowth of the bad bacteria and a decrease in the normal bacteria, you may experience vaginal infections.
Good hygiene for vaginal care includes:
- washing your vaginal area and labia with a feminine soap and water to remove sweat and dead skin
- removing your gym clothes after each workout
- showering after your exercises
- wearing cotton underwear
- and breathable clothes that allow air circulation around your vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is a common type of vaginal inflammation amongst women of all ages. Still, it is most likely to affect you in your reproductive years. BV occurs when the normal bacteria is overtaken by harmful bacteria. The imbalance of the two bacteria and the growth of more bad bacteria upset the pH balance. Symptoms of BV, which include thick white or gray discharge, strong fishy smell, and itching, can last for days or weeks, depending on treatment or severity.
To confirm that the discharge and odor you're experiencing is indeed BV, visit your OB/GYN or your primary healthcare provider. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can show up in cases of sexually transmitted diseases. If that's the case, you will need to be treated appropriately for that. Don't let the issue linger, or it could lead to serious health concerns, including infertility.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2019), using boric acid suppositories to treat BV symptoms is helpful and recommended. If you oppose using antibiotics that kill good and bad bacteria, use the Kushae Natural Boric Acid Suppositories for a permanent and natural BV treatment. Our Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories also include probiotics, or good bacteria, which will help you maintain a healthy pH level, remove vaginal odor and help restore the good bacteria for better vaginal health. The aloe in the formula also helps to soothe irritation or burning sensations, helping you say goodbye to pesky BV for good.
Many women forget their tampons for a few hours, which might not cause any foul odor. But, when a tampon is forgotten inside for a few days, many describe the smell as rotten onions or meat. If you forgot to remove a tampon that has been in for a few hours, you could pull it yourself once you remember. Afterward, wash your vaginal opening with an unscented feminine wash and warm water. If you have forgotten your tampon for 2 or more days, visit your healthcare provider for its removal. The tampon may fall apart inside you, and your doctor can ensure no particles are inside your vagina. You may also require other medical services if there is an infection.
We hope this blog has helped you figure out why your vagina has an onion smell. Keep reading our regular blog feature, where we answer your real questions about feminine health.