Q. Should women use vaginal deodorants?
A. Absolutely not. If you have a bad vaginal odor or discharge, you should not use a deodorant to cover it up. Go to your gynecologist to make sure that you don’t have an infection. Normal hygiene – bathing or showering daily – should be all you need to prevent unpleasant body odor.
Although we are obsessed with cleanliness and smelling good, normal body odor is not offensive. In fact, animals (humans included) produce scents called pheromones that may be instruments for attracting the opposite sex and causing sexual arousal in partners.
Overpowering your natural scent with an artificial fragrance may actually be detrimental to your ability to attract members of the opposite sex!
Finally, many women find vaginal deodorants to be very irritating, and may cause itching and other types of unpleasant side effects.
Dr. Marianne Legato, Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University is an internationally known academic physician, author, lecturer, and specialist in gender-specific medicine. She is founding member of the International Society for Gender Medicine and also the founder and director of The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University and its next iteration, The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine. These enterprises are the first collaborations between academic medicine and the private sector focused solely on gender-specific medicine: the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and of how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender and sex. Her ground breaking textbook on Gender-and Sex Specific Medicine has been published in 2017 in the 3rd edition.
She has published extensively on Gender and Sex Specific Medicine, both scientifically and for the lay public. She is also the founding editor of the journal Gender Medicine, and the Journal Gender and Genome, published for the scientific community. In 1992, Dr. Legato won the American Heart Association’s Blakeslee Award for the best book written for the lay public on cardiovascular disease. She is a practicing internist in New York City and has been listed each year in New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” since the feature’s inception in 1993.