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Your vagina smells--as do other parts of your body. That simply means you're alive. However, if your vagina smells different now--has a powerful odor that smells sickly or like rotting fish--that could indicate you have an infection. If that's the case, see a gynecologist ASAP.
Many people grow up with the idea that there is something ugly, dirty or wrong with the female crotch, and these attitudes are difficult to change.
Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and, in fact, there are less bacteria in it than there are in your mouth. Like other parts of our bodies, it produces fluids, and can also get quite sweaty during lots of exercise, so it's important to keep it clean. When you exercise and sweat, your smell may become a bit more intense--just like when you sweat and your armpits smell. So keep it clean. However, there are helpful bacteria that live in your vagina, so you should NEVER wash it with anything that has perfume or alcohol. Plain water only, please.
Also note that your food intake can affect your vaginal odors. Intense, spicy foods such as garlic change the odor of vagina secretions as well as semen, so if you eat a spicy diet, expect your odor to change accordingly.
For more information about this issue, I'd recommend you check out www.scarleteen.com. There's lots of information there about vulvas and vaginas. Dr. J
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