Why your vagina may have a fishy smell
Followers of the Big Brother Naija reality show must by now know what went down between Boma and Tega, who have unfortunately been evicted from the show. I’m not about to give my opinion on what happened.
This is Nigeria, the land of hypocrites and sanctimonious people. The only flaw here is that Tega has not learnt the art of adultery very well.
Here, its chop and clean mouth; fight with those who know your secret and scream your innocence to the high heavens. I am more concerned about what Boma allegedly told Pere, another housemate morning after their encounter. Boma was quoted as saying that Tega’s private smelled like rotten fish. While we cannot confirm this to be true or not, what we can do is tell you why a woman’s vagina can have this odour.
As we all may already know, the female sex organ is very delicate and sensitive. Almost anything can disrupt its PH balance and set off an infection. Below, I have listed a few infections that affects the vagina and might spark off an offensive smell where not treated properly. I have culled this from my book: Youth, Sex and Wellbeing.
This is one condition that can make life pretty miserable, especially when it refuses to go away. Although a harmless fungal infection, Candida is a yeast infection, also caused by the disruption of the PH balance in the vagina. Since it is transmitted through vaginal sex, men do get it too and have to be treated as well.
These include, itchiness, white or creamy discharge, redness and swelling of the vagina, pain during sex and urinating. As a result of the frequent itching, painful stinging occur anytime semen or urine touches the tiny cuts around the vagina.
Anti-fungal vagina pessaries, tablets or cream will be prescribed. These are inserted deep into the vagina with the aid of an applicator. Oral anti-fungal tablets are also available. For the guy, the cream or the tablet may be used.
Vaginitis is a name for any swelling, itching, burning or infection in the vagina and can be caused by several different germs. The most common types of Vaginitis are Bacterial Vaginitis (BV) and Yeast, a fungus. Trichomoniasis, caused by a parasitic protozoa called Trichomonas Vaginatis, may also be called Vaginitis. Research says that Vaginitis is so common that an average woman will have some kind at least once in a life time.
A healthy vagina must have a balance of different kinds of bacteria, some good, some bad. The “good” bacteria help to keep the vagina a bit acidic and prevent bad bacteria from growing too fast. A healthy vagina produces a mucus-like discharge that may look clear or milky depending on the time of a woman’s monthly cycle.
However, when the balance between the good and bad bacteria is upset, the bad bacteria begin to grow too fast and causes infections. The discharge may change to a funny colour or have a bad smell causing Vaginitis to spread through sex. Other things that can upset the balance of the vagina are the use of antibiotics, douching, wearing of damp underwear, tight pants, pregnancy, poor diet, vaginal products (sprays, lubricants, birth control devices).
Symptoms of Bacteria Vaginitis
Signs and symptoms depend on the germ that you have. For Bacteria Vaginitis, symptoms usually include a pastry vaginal discharge that may appear white or gray with a fishy odour. Many women however have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed.
Symptoms of Yeast
Signs of Yeast infection in women may include abnormal discharge, itching, irritation and redness of the vulva. Possible burning when urinating due to urine passing over inflamed vulva. However, other STIs such as HSV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea may cause similar symptoms, while discomfort and inconvenience may vary with individual.
For men, symptoms often go unnoticed, but evidence of slight irritation, itching or redness on penis may occur.
Symptoms of Trichomoniasis
For women, the signs may include profuse, “frothy” discharge that may either be yellowish, greenish or gray in colour with strong odour. Tiny spots of blood may appear in discharge. Vaginal itching, irritation and inflammation may also be present. The cervix may become inflamed with ulcerations (this is called strawberry cervix). Pain during intercourse or urination may be experienced. Abdominal pain or increased frequency of urination is also possible. Symptoms are more severe during or immediately after a menstrual period.
For men, though often asymptomatic (no symptoms), slight urethra irritation, small amount of abnormal discharge may occur intermittently, while itching and redness inside or on the penis may be experienced too. Also, genital sores and painful irritation are possible.
Due to its asymptomatic nature especially in men, the risk of transmitting these diseases are very high. Even where the disease self-revolve, it may take many weeks, so unprotected sex is risky.
As with all other diseases, if you notice any symptoms of Vaginitis or Trichomonasis, you will need to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Only a correct test can identify the germ causing your infection. It is important that your partner must receive treatment to avoid re-infection. Left untreated, Vaginitis has been associated with Pelvic Inflammation Disease, (PID), increased risk of getting HIV, increased risk of complication during pregnancy causing premature birth and low birth weight of baby.
To reduce your risk of exposure to this disease, take note of the following:
*Always wipe your vagina and anus from front to back.
*Take antibiotics only when needed as it can kill “good” bacteria.
*Wash your vagina area everyday with mild soap, rinse well and pat dry.
*Contrary to belief that douching keeps the vagina clean and dry, douching can upset the natural balance of the vagina. The vagina is naturally endowed by God to clean itself. So, don’t douche.
*Wear cotton or cotton lined underpants.
*Don’t wear tight pants or panty hose in hot weather.
*Limit the number of sex partners and always use condoms with a new partner or with multiple partners.
I wish Tega and Boma all the best as they continue their journey for success. Do have a wonderful weekend!!