When eating a particular diet, we usually think about what is good for our body or our energy levels, but we don't usually pick a meal based on what it will do to us "down there." However, there are a number of foods that can wreak havoc on your lady parts, and this can be anything from causing a yeast infection or even some unwanted odor. It's not exactly something you learn in nutrition class, but if you're looking to keep your vaginal health in tact, you'll want to make sure you're tweaking your diet to make sure everything stays just peachy down south.
"Diet affects everything, and the vagina follows the same rules of thumb as the rest of your body," says Dr. Angela Jones, M.D., FACOG over email. "Too much sugar — not a good thing. Too much alcohol — not a good thing."
Some of these foods, especially the ones that just affect smell, are still healthy for you, which means you don't want to cut them out completely, so just make sure you're balancing them with other food groups. To keep your vaginal health in tip-top shape, pay attention to these nine surprising foods that can wreak havoc on your lady parts.
"While most of us enjoy a drink or two (or three), remember some of the detrimental affects of alcohol," says Jones. "Other than hangovers, alcohol is very 'drying.' Well, If your body is dry, guess what else could potentially become dry? Your vajayjay! Not being adequately hydrated makes it harder for the vagina to produce adequate amounts of lubrication."
"Eating a lot of foods high in sugar may increase the likelihood of a woman acquiring a vaginal yeast infection in the right environment," says Christine Greves, MD, OB/GYN over email. "Yeast absolutely loves sugar, warmth and moisture. Foods that are high in sugar, like desserts, can increase a woman's risk for having that if the environment is warm and moist; for example, if she does not change her workout bottoms after sweating at the gym for a few hours."
"Any food that can give you bad breath can cause vaginal odor," says Dr. Nicole Scott, OB/GYN at IU Health over email. Onions are one of the most common culprits, as they can change the make up of the bacterial flora in your vagina, causing a strong odor, according to medicaldaily.com
"Asparagus doesn’t just cause your urine to smell bad," says Jones. It can also affect the pH of your vagina, which could cause a funky odor, although it will go away after a couple of days.
Broccoli is another one of those stinky veggies that could also make your vagina smell down there as well. The vegetable is obviously healthy, so you may not want to cut it out of your diet completely, but you could instead avoid it before you know you're getting intimate with someone — save it for your night in alone!
Those french fries are so darn delicious, but it will make your vagina much happier if you eat them in moderation. "High-fat diets and fatty foods (fried anything, many processed foods) have, in some studies, been associated with increased risk for bacterial vaginosis," says Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG over email. "The reason is unclear, but I suspect women who eat high fat diets are missing out on some beneficial nutrients which help regulate bacterial health."
Coffee can not only change your vaginal odor, but it can also increase your risk of getting a yeast infection, according to livestrong.com. Caffeine can also trigger stress in some people, which could leave you more susceptible to an infection.
Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates, including white bread, white rice, etc., can put you at risk for bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections, according to the University of Maryland. These foods raise your blood sugar, which gives a prime environment for the bacteria to feed on.
Like sugar and refined carbohydrates, too much cheese can disrupt the bacteria in your vagina and cause a yeast infection, according to livestrong.com. You're better off switching to yogurt, which contains probiotics that actually promote vaginal health.