The term "vagina" is often used broadly, but what we typically mean is the vulva. The vulva is the external part of the intimate area, while the vagina is the inner canal leading to the uterus.
The vagina is self-cleansing, maintained by helpful bacteria that keep it moist, healthy, and slightly acidic. These bacteria, like any others, carry a natural scent, unique to each individual. If the scent becomes strong or fishy, it might signal bacterial imbalance.
Just as our scent is distinctive, the appearance of the vulva is too. Picture it like a flower with two sets of unique petals – the "labia," or lips. Between these layers, build-up of dead skin cells, discharge, sweat, and menstrual blood can lead to odour and infections if not properly cleaned.
Soap-based products are the primary culprits behind intimate health issues. Even mild soaps can break down the natural protective layer, making it easier for harmful bacteria and yeast to stick to the skin and cause problems. Anything that lathers should be avoided in the vulva area.