It happens to nearly every woman at one time or another. Regardless of your feminine hygiene practices, like regularly showering and changing your underwear daily, you notice a bit of an odor emanating from down there. There are many reasons why your vagina might smell (and sometimes it means you should go to the doctor to make sure everything's OK), and it's important to remember that there is a typical, normal odor, which is different and individualized for every woman. So why do certain foods change the way you smell down there?
First, let's talk about how this all works. How (or why) does your vagina smell in the first place? As Mayo Clinic physician Dr. Maria Mendes Soares told Broadly, the smell is due to the specific collection of bacteria present, which is why it can vary woman to woman. Additionally, Dr. Heather Rupe wrote for WebMD that your diet truly can upset this bacterial balance - not causing a problem in and of itself, but there are foods that you eat that can then change the smell of your lady parts. Also, according to Seventeen, it can, of course, vary, like body odor or bad breath, within one woman and once you know what's up, it's typically fairly easy to fix.
As Dr. Mary Rosser, an OB-GYN at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, told Women's Health, the foods that you eat affect the pH balance of your slightly-acidic lady bits, which is why your normal smell may change. But Rosser also noted that the change is very temporary - usually only two to three days after you've eaten that particular food before everything goes back to normal. Rupe also pointed out in her WebMD article that some new medications or supplements can also influence the way you smell, so that could in fact be the real culprit. Cosmopolitan also noted that drastic changes in scent, like an especially strong, fishy, or garbage-like scent, could signify a change thatneeds to be treated with antibiotics.
But if you go to a doctor and get the all-clear, you may want to consider editing your diet ever so slightly. Here, a couple of foods that could be causing that change in vagina scene, because an informed woman is a powerful woman.
According to the University of California Berkeley Wellness Center, garlic affects vaginal odor because it's strongly scented itself. Just as it affects your breath, it affects your lady parts.
For the same, strongly-scented reason as garlic (it's part of the same veggie family after all), Rosser told Women's Health that onions can also change the way your nether regions smell. But don't worry — it will work itself out in a couple of days.
Likewise, Women's Health noted that broccoli's strong scent can influence how your vagina smells.
Again, because asparagus is strongly-scented, it can affect the way you smell down there, according to WebMD. It makes your urine smell, too (as you probably already know).
Strong spices, such as curry, can also affect your feminine odor, as Dr. Djinge Lindsay told Buzzfeed. It may not, but anything especially odiferous can potentially temporarily alter your normal.
Red meat, such as steak, can also change the way you smell. This potential change is due to the alkalinity of the meat since your vagina is slightly acidic, Lindsay told Buzzfeed.
Dairy, but especially strongly-scented dairy such as blue cheese, can change vaginal odor, as well, according to the University of California Berkeley Wellness Center.
Again, as with with others on this list, cabbage is a common culprit because it is so strongly scented. According to Self, this change is at least partially due to the fact that it can make your sweat smell differently, which in turn can affect any odor emanating from your lady bits.