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No, bathing with vinegar will not tighten the vagina or eliminate vaginal odour

Several “solutions” to “vaginal odour” are offered in a message posted on Facebook in Uganda. These at-home “remedies” include taking a bath with apple cider vinegar to cure bacterial vaginosis. 

“The presence of bacteria is one of the reasons why there is vaginal odour that’s why you need something with antibacterial and antiseptic properties such as apple cider vinegar,” the message claims.

“Try mixing two cups of apple cider vinegar in warm bath water and soak for 20 -25 minutes to kill the bacteria.”

Other Facebook messages also claim that baths with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can cure vaginal odour. One says a vinegar bath can also tighten the vagina overnight. 

Can bathing with vinegar tighten the vagina and eliminate its odour? We checked. 


Vinegar baths not supported by evidence and potentially dangerous

Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition that causes a strong vaginal odour.

According to eMedical Health, some women may have reported relief from adding apple cider vinegar to baths, but there is no evidence that it cures bacterial vaginosis.

“No studies have been conducted that support the use of apple cider vinegar for BV treatment,” the website says.

Dr Denise Armatas, gynaecology and obstetrics specialist at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, told Africa Check that bathing with vinegar can be dangerous. Vinegar is acidic and can disrupt vagina’s pH balance, killing the naturally occurring bacteria that protect it. This leaves it more susceptible to infections like thrush and sexually transmitted infections.

“You’re really running the risk of damaging that internal flora which will then lead to more infections. Using products that have vinegar can damage the vaginal mucosa,” she said.

She added that vinegar baths cannot tighten the vagina.

“Absolutely nothing will tighten your vagina unless you are doing plastic surgery or you are going through menopause and you are using estrogen cream and that will maintain what is there,” she said. 

There is no evidence that bathing with vinegar will cure vaginal odour, and it will not tighten the vagina. Gynaecologists advise that bathing in vinegar could be dangerous as it may disrupt the vagina’s natural bacteria and pH balance, leaving it more at risk of infection. – Naledi Mashishi


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