What causes vaginal odour?

Ask the experts

Dr. McCoy and naturopath Caroline Robertson come to the rescue

Q. I find that I have a strong vaginal odour. Naturally, this makes me very self-conscious. Why does this happen and is there something I can do to clear it up?

Dr. McCoy: While vaginal odour can be caused by any number of things, including but not limited to sexually transmitted diseases, something as innocent as some displaced cells or the most likely reason – thrush. Don’t worry, around 75 per cent of women will experience this.

Thrush – Candida albicans – is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, which is often related to changes in hormones, antibiotics, or dietary factors. The symptoms – including vaginal itching, burning, swelling and pain during intercourse – are hard to ignore, so talk to your GP. Once diagnosis has been confirmed your doctor can recommend treatments including creams, pessaries or an oral tablet.”

Caroline Robertson: “Candida can be cured by a three-pronged approach: kill it, starve it and replace it. Kill it with anti-fungal herbs and tampons soaked in very dilute tea tree oil and sugar-free yoghurt. Starve it by removing all yeast, sugar and alcohol from your diet for at least four weeks. Replace it with probiotics.” 

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