Vaginal health has been of great concern to women and health professionals over the ages. Poor vaginal health has led to negative effects like marital problems, infertility and low-confidence. When and how can one judge her vagina as healthy? Globally, women of all races and ages have heightened concerns about how their vagina smells and looks. This has led to the quest of trying to achive the perfect vaginal health state by most women but questions echoes in the minds of all women. What am I doing wrong? What can I do better to achieve a clean and odorless vagina? Are my methods of hygiene the best or are they worsening the condition?

Before we go further, it is best to establish this fact; the vagina is not totally odorless and every lady has her own unique, but not foul smell. Vaginal discharges are also normal in the lives of every woman. Although we have stated the fact that having a vaginal discharge and vaginal smell is normal, the defense mechanism of the vaginal might be disturbed leading to abnormal vaginal discharge and odor. This article brings to light some common practices by women, leading to poor vaginal health.

Poor vaginal health refers to the state in which the normal protective environment of the vagina is compromised and the vagina is vulnerable to all sorts of infections and problems. In these situations, there are usually various changes in the vagina’s smell and secretion.

A lot of practices women indulge in, knowingly or unknowingly in their normal daily lives, contribute negatively to the natural state and health of the vagina. Some of these practices are due to superstitious knowledge, poor sex education or even cosmetics products. Below is a list of some of the most common practices


1. Washing of the vaginal canal

The belief of always cleaning the vagina with harsh soap to keep the vagina healthy may sound credible in theory but this ideology is quite harmful. The vagina has a defensive environment of bacteria and a pH of range 3.5 – 4.5. Using harsh cleansers disturbs the defense environment making the vagina prone to infections. The washing of the vulva and the perineal area is more important in keeping the vaginal environment clean and healthy. The best method is cleansing from front to back with mild cleansers. The internal canal of the vagina has natural secretions which ensure that the vagina is kept clean and tidy.

2. Douching and use of scented vaginal wipes

Though it is important to keep the vagina clean, people use the unrecommended means and ways to do so. The vagina will smell good if women clean the perineum and keep the vulva area clean and neat. The use of chemicals and perfumed soaps with to scrub the internal canal of the vagina reduces the acidity of the vagina and compromises its protective mechanisms. This makes the vaginal environment vulnerable to a lot of infections..

3. Wearing of panties and panty liners which prevent aeration of the vagina

Cotton panties are able to absorb moisture and ensure proper ventilation of the vaginal area; it keeps the vagina dry and healthy. Nylon panties and some panty liners cause the accumulation of moisture at the vaginal area, preventing ventilation of the vagina. The lack of effective vaginal ventilation and fluid accumulation in the vaginal area increases the vaginal pH, leading to poor vaginal health.

4. Eating poorly

Most women who eat a lot of sugary food have a high predisposition to poor vaginal health. Absence of fruits and vegetables in a woman’s diet indirectly reduces vaginal health, due to a generalized body low-health state. Increased sugar diet supports the growth of yeast like Candida albicans, which cause opportunistic infections in the vagina.

5. Continuous shaving of the vagina area

Although it is good to keep the vagina and perineal area clean and neat, continuous shaving deprives the vagina of a protective barrier. The hairs around the vaginal region help trap bacteria causing to infections, this can best be prevented by a proper shaving method. Improper methods of shaving can lead to cracks and breaks on the vaginal skin providing a route for entry of infections. Use of shaving creams upon their entry into the vagina can also disturb the normal hemostasis of the vagina.

6. Chronic usage of antibiotics

Antibiotics are drugs which are used to treat bacterial infections. Women who continually take antibiotics without a doctor’s direction cause a huge decline in vaginal health. Antibiotics kill the acid-forming bacteria in the vagina, which increases the pH of the vagina. An increase in vaginal pH leads to colonization of microorganisms in the vagina, with abnormal vaginal discharges and odor.

7. Birth control pills

Estrogen a natural female hormone plays a great role in promoting vagina health. Estrogen stimulates vaginal mucosal cells to secrete mucus, which is also a defense mechanism of the vagina. Estrogen suppressing pills cause severe dryness of the vagina in some women, making the vagina prone to cracks and a point of entry to bacteria.


  • Multiple sex partners.
  • Lack of medical screenings (cervical screenings).
  • Unprotected sex.
  • Keeping menstrual pads on throughout the day.
  • Sleeping in tight clothing.
  • Wearing panties that enter the vagina directly (G-strings).
  • Drying panties in the rooms.
  • Rough sexual acts that irritate the vagina.