Vaginal smegma?

Originally Published: December 5, 2003 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: February 6, 2009
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Hello Alice,

I've been wondering about the white stuff that is occasionally found in between my labia majora and labia minora... I do NOT have any STDs (I tested) and am assuming it's dried urine...

I want to get rid of this white stuff because it looks and smells bad as if I have STDs when I have oral sex. Is there any way to prevent getting this white stuff?

Thank you, a good guy seeker

Dear a good guy seeker,

The vagina normally secretes a clear or whitish substance to help cleanse itself and maintain a healthy environment. Changes in normal vaginal secretions (i.e., smell, texture, color, thickness, etc.) may indicate the presence of an infection. Some infections can be home treated; others need to be diagnosed and treated by a health care provider.

What you describe, however, sounds similar to the substance noticed by men with uncircumcised penises found under the foreskin: smegma. Smegma is a natural lubricating residue made up of shedded skin cells, skin oil secretions, and moisture, including sweat. Its cheesy like appearance can vary in color from almost white to a darker shade, depending on a person's skin tone. Smegma gathers in the nooks and crannies of the body's skin folds, including between the labia and around the clitoral hood. Because of male circumcision, it is more common among women than men.

What smegma is known for is its characteristic smell, which some people find arousing and others find unpleasant. If the build up of smegma is bothersome, it can be rinsed away easily with warm water. As the mucosal skin of the genitals is sensitive, avoid applying soap to the area.

Dried urine, especially on pubic hair, can also produce a distinctive scent. Carefully washing your pubic hair when showering/bathing and making sure to wipe well after each urination can help minimize urine odor.

If a regular warm water rinse between your labia does not produce enough of an improvement in your aroma down there, you can consider seeing your primary care provider or gynecologist for a check-up.

Alice

December 18, 2013

546552
All mammals produce smegma... male and female. Also, smegma (Greek for “soap”) is a combination of exfoliated skin cells, skin oils, and moisture. In males, smegma is produced and can collect under...
All mammals produce smegma... male and female. Also, smegma (Greek for “soap”) is a combination of exfoliated skin cells, skin oils, and moisture. In males, smegma is produced and can collect under the foreskin; in females, it collects around the clitoris and in the folds of the labia minora. Women on average also produce more smegma than men. It is usually present as a very thin waxy layer that protects the inner foreskin and glans and also acts as natural lubrication during sex. Think of it as similar to sex wax used by surfers or car wax used to protect cars. Like many normal body secretions, smegma itself does not cause disease, but without proper hygiene it can build up after a while. The same way ear wax can build up. Smegma is easy to wash away with water.

August 1, 2012

514460
Keeping a water bottle (or spray water bottle) next to the toilet is a good idea. Just rinse off after using the toilet; wet wipes work too, but I avoid chemicals.
Keeping a water bottle (or spray water bottle) next to the toilet is a good idea. Just rinse off after using the toilet; wet wipes work too, but I avoid chemicals.

February 5, 2009

21495
To the reader:

I see this a lot in my OB/Gyn practice. You can cause yourself a great deal of discomfort if you wash in the vulvar area with strong soaps. I tell my patients to wash thoroughly...

To the reader:

I see this a lot in my OB/Gyn practice. You can cause yourself a great deal of discomfort if you wash in the vulvar area with strong soaps. I tell my patients to wash thoroughly with warm water, really get up there in the creases. If you have a bidet or handheld shower piece, that works well, although a washcloth works well, too. DON'T douche, put fragrances or scented sanitary products in this area — you'll increase itching and problems.

—from a gynecologist

April 29, 2005

20889
Alice,

It is a normal cleansing process of the body, don't be worried. When you get in the shower, simply wash away the discharge with a non-irritant cleanser (baby shampoo works well). Spread...

Alice,

It is a normal cleansing process of the body, don't be worried. When you get in the shower, simply wash away the discharge with a non-irritant cleanser (baby shampoo works well). Spread your labia and wipe with a wet foamy cloth. Then when you get out of the shower, refrain from using femminine sprays as they can make odor worse. Carry a travel pack of baby wipes and occasionally freshen up in the ladies room by wiping the baby wipe between the two sets of labia. This should keep you as fresh as a cherry blossom :)