What Causes Vaginal Odor and How to Get Rid of It

Regular checkups and open discussions regarding your symptoms will go a long way toward maintaining good vaginal health.

BV is usually not serious. STI-associated vulvovaginitis may be caused by sexual abuse or vertical transmission, and are treated and diagnosed like adult infections. Have you taken any medication and treatments yet? Pregnancy can alter the vaginal pH and, thereby, induce changes in the genital odor.

Docs aren’t sure why this happens, but BV isn’t an STI, stresses Dr.

It may also be a symptom of vaginal atrophy, a condition in which vaginal tissues become thinner and more easily irritated. Parasitic infections (trichomoniasis). It's not always easy to figure out what's going on, though. Risk factors associated with BV include the number of sex partners in the previous 12 months, douching, smoking, and low socioeconomic conditions. Its hallmark is a foul-smelling vaginal discharge that’s off-white or grayish.

Masterson says that BV—which, again, usually smells fishy—can sometimes smell like ammonia instead. Find out more in our Cookies & Similar Technologies Policy. The color and thickness of the discharge change with your monthly cycle.

Vaginal medicines or douching. The most common symptom is a smelly vaginal discharge. Although it can be darned uncomfortable, it's not the end of the world. Many people would describe their healthy vaginal odor as being musky, and despite comparisons to gardens and flowers, vaginas will never smell like a bed of roses. Sometimes, the discharge smells different. Trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as “trich,” is a parasitic infection that is transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. Women who have trichomoniasis are at an increased risk of infection with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are several ways to treat vaginitis, depending upon the cause of the infection:

Although described as cottage cheese–like in character, the discharge may vary from watery to homogeneously thick.

You Have A Bacterial Infection.

They’ll be able to tell and recommend treatment options. However, one 2020 randomized controlled trial suggested that short-term douching with tap water may help reduce vaginal malodor that occurs without any discernible cause. Vaginal malodor can also be symptomatic of primary vaginal cancer, especially if it is accompanied by a bloody vaginal discharge that is unrelated to your normal menstruation. This causes the lining of the vagina to become inflamed. Different scents mean different things, but a fishlike odor is a common scent to be on the lookout for, because it can signal bacterial vaginosis or the sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis. Bacterial vaginosis and pregnancy, acute pyelonephritis can have serious consequences for both the mother and the fetus. The vaginal walls and uterine cervix contain glands that produce a small amount of fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean.

  • You could have an infection caused by bacteria, yeast, or viruses.
  • There are not enough good bacteria and too many bad bacteria.
  • If you’re unsure about whether you have a yeast infection, see your doctor.
  • Gram staining is highly reliable and inexpensive, but it is not always available in a doctor’s office.
  • We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Masking the odor doesn't fix the problem that is causing it, and the products you use to do so may make an infection worse.
  • Even though yeast infections can be really itchy, try not to scratch.

Symptoms Of Vaginal Discharge

Friction from sex can cause more irritation or make it harder to heal. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal odor and discharge. Vaginal symptoms are among the most common reasons that women consult primary care physicians. Itching is not common, but may be present if there is a lot of discharge. Candida: overgrowth, symptoms & diagnosis, rapidly killing off candida in your body creates a metabolic reaction that releases over 70 different toxins into your body. Your vagina can also turn unusually smelly in the wake of cervical cancer. In initial studies, women found it easy and comfortable to use, and the L.

Infections of the vagina, such as a yeast infection , bacterial vaginosis , trichomoniasis , human papillomavirus (HPV) , or herpes. If there’s an odor, it’s usually rather mild and yeasty. As straightforward as it might seem, most doctors will discourage you from diagnosing and treating a yeast infection yourself. The intensity of vaginal odor can vary during the course of the menstrual cycle. If this is present, there may be larger amounts of thick, white discharge, or no discharge at all.

What are yeast infection symptoms?

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Vaginal dryness doesn’t have to keep you from feeling like yourself or looking forward to intimacy. Vaginitis is the disruption of the healthy vaginal microbiota. They are not sexually transmitted. Periods may lead to odor, many times due to the clotting and drying of blood, not necessarily an infection.

Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis

When should you see a doctor? Diabetic women may especially notice this since yeast feed on sugar, and diabetic women tend to have more glucose (a. )Several vaginal infections, both sexually transmitted and sexually associated, can affect vaginal odor. 13 times you should never wear a thong, yeast infections are pretty common though, so if you're itching a lot, even just on the outside, and you have a whitish, cheesy discharge in your underwear (why is everything gross always described using food? Do not treat patients based on self-diagnosis.

General Considerations

This condition is often linked with excess growth of bacteria that are typically found in the stool. It often leads to itching and other irritating symptoms. To dislodge it yourself, lie on your back or squat with one foot propped on the toilet, then reach into your vagina with clean fingers to search for the string. A yeast infection, or Candida vaginitis, is another common type of vaginal infection.

Below is a list of five common vaginal odors to look out for, explained with the help of Dr.

It causes a foul-smelling, brownish-green discharge and irritation of the labia and vaginal opening.

You Accidentally Left A Tampon In There.

Not engaging in oral sex with people who have thrush in their mouth: As yeast develops most rapidly in moist environments, it is important to avoid leaving moisture on the vagina after cleaning. Uncommon causes of vaginal odor include cancers and an abnormal passageway between the rectum and vagina (rectovaginal fistula).

The following sections will list some tips for preventing vaginal odor. List of oral thrush medications (19 compared), these medicines could be in pill form. You might also have a creamy, whitish coating in and around your vagina. And while it's completely natural and normal for your vagina to have some kind of scent, certain vaginal smells can signal something's wrong.

  • So don’t put off mentioning any unusual vaginal odor that’s got you feeling self-conscious or keeping you from enjoying intimate moments.
  • These factors may lead to or worsen genital itching and burning.
  • Do not attempt to treat trichomoniasis with metronidazole gel.
  • It's totally normal to have some kind of scent down there, and no matter what soap commercials tell you, it shouldn't be a light floral one.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.
  • Vaginitis affects women of all ages but is most common during the reproductive years.
  • The presence or excess growth of yeast cells, bacteria, or viruses can cause a vaginal infection.

Final Word

What factors increase the risk of getting a yeast infection? Sexual partners must be treated to prevent the infection from recurring. It is thought that bacterial vaginosis (BV) results from a disturbance in the normal vaginal flora, whereby the normal levels of Lactobacillus are reduced and replaced by less dominant organisms, such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma, Mobiluncus, Bacteroides spp. The culprit is likely bacterial vaginosis (BV). The increased level of colonization leads to lactic acid production and consequently a decrease in the vaginal pH to less than 4. It is referred to as bacterial vaginosis and is the most common type of vaginitis.

Sweet Or Beer-like Vaginal Odor

You may be able to avoid bacterial vaginosis if you limit your number of sex partners and don't douche or smoke. Each person is different, and brings different symptoms and health histories to the doctor. Therefore, in suspect cases in which the wet-mount examination is negative, it is important to culture the vaginal discharge on Diamond Hollander medium or to use a DNA probe test (e. )Avoid tight jeans, panty hose without a cotton crotch and other clothing that can trap moisture.

What Causes Vaginal Odor?

5, (3) clue cells in the vaginal fluid on light microscopy, and (4) positive whiff test. You can't eliminate all smells, but you can reduce the intensity of an odour by practising certain hygiene protocols. Pope is a fellow of the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, with a practice drawing widely from Southeastern Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island regions.

Your vagina cleans itself and has a natural musky odor but poor hygiene and other factors can sometimes cause an odor that’s unpleasant or simply abnormal for you.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, including: Yes, there may be, especially from bacterial vaginosis. Etsy uses cookies and similar technologies to give you a better experience, enabling things like: Limiting the number of sexual partners and practicing safer sex. These causes of vaginal infection can usually be easily diagnosed by your doctor in the office using simple techniques. A vaginal infection is present when the normal vaginal discharge changes color, becomes heavier or smells different, or if there is itching, burning, swelling, or redness around the vagina. A normal discharge does not smell bad and is not accompanied by redness, swelling, or itching.

This condition was formerly known as vaginitis after one type of bacteria that commonly cause the condition.

Vulva and Vagina

However, it is most common in young girls before puberty, particularly girls with poor genital hygiene. To diagnose vaginitis, your health care professional will take a sample of the discharge from your vagina and look at it under a microscope. The abnormally unpleasant smell is usually accompanied by other signs of vaginal discomfort such as irritation, burning, itching, and discharge. Therefore, unless a medicinal douche has been prescribed to you by a doctor, douching is probably not the best choice you can make for addressing vaginal odor or improving your reproductive health. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection is the first step to getting treatment. The presence of inflammatory signs is associated with candidiasis. Bacterial vaginosis — an overgrowth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria — is the most common vaginal infection that causes a vaginal odor. However, most of the time, a shift in vaginal odor is caused by conditions that are relatively straightforward to diagnose and treat.

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This problem is particularly common in people who are overweight or obese as well as those who have a natural tendency to perspire profusely. But, a strong vaginal odor — for instance, a "fishy" smell — might be abnormal and could indicate a problem. Some females may also notice a discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Inflammation of the vaginal area can occur because of poor hygiene but is often a result of infection in or around the vagina.

Tests That Help Determine Yeast Infection Presence

This throws off the pH of your vagina and can create a bad, fishy odor in the process. Anti-candida program, it will not last for the entirety of the six-week cleanse. Two of the most common ailments that are spread through sexual contact are trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis. Do not have sexual contact or activity while waiting for your appointment. That said, there are certain things that can change your vagina's odor. There are other symptoms associated with a yeast infection, including: Do not wear the same panty liner for too long.

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Limiting sexual partners and practicing safe sex: If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about what to do. It is not known exactly why this imbalance in bacterial growth occurs.

Bacterial - this type of infection is caused when healthy vaginal organisms are replaced by bacteria. Vaginal infections happen when other organisms grow and change the normal balance of organisms in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is one such infection that frequently affects women. The vaginal skin is extremely sensitive and can react negatively to chemical-laden feminine hygiene products. Should you treat it? I partnered up with NutraBlast to provide you guys with tips on how to prevent and get rid of vaginal odor, itchiness and excess discharge as well as recurring vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections with boric acid suppositories. Yeast infections are most often due to the fungus Candida albicans.

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  • What are the symptoms?
  • Maintain proper fluid intake throughout the day to flush out toxins and harmful bacteria from the body and, thereby, minimize the risk of odor-causing infections.
  • They sometimes occur in times of stress or other illness.
  • As a result, the tumor becomes infected and causes a continuous discharge of discolored, foul-smelling, blood-containing secretions that trickle out through the vagina.
  • Gonorrhea is the sexually-transmitted disease (STD) resulting from infection by the bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  • If this doesn’t take away the smell within a week or so, see your ob-gyn.

Some General Queries

Be sure to take the full course of antibiotics. The normal acidity of your vagina keeps bacteria and yeast in check, essentially cleaning itself. Bacterial vaginosis is more common in women who are sexually active.

Laboratory tests, particularly microscopy of vaginal discharge, are the most useful way of diagnosing the three conditions described in this chapter.


For many, however, the fishy odor is the only symptom. Candida vulvovaginitis (yeast infections). Does douching help in getting rid of vaginal odor? A vagina that becomes distinctly malodorous in regular everyday life could indicate an underlying infection or problem that needs attention. Wear a fresh pair of underwear every day and change out of wet, damp, or dirty underwear as soon as possible to preserve your vaginal health and hygiene.

How is it treated? People who douche are also at an increased risk of developing BV. Vulvar or vaginal injury, such as landing on a metal bar such as on a bike or playground equipment or from an object in the vagina. Not using scented or flavored products in or around the vagina: When you have vaginitis, you may have some or all of these symptoms. A yeast infection is usually treated with creams and suppositories that are placed in the vagina.

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What is a yeast infection? “A forgotten tampon causes the absolute worst vaginal odor,” Dr. However, if there is no itching, candidiasis is less likely, and lack of perceived odor makes bacterial vaginosis unlikely. Is a yeast infection contagious? symptoms, treatment, & causes. Bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection of the vagina caused by bacteria.

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But the emotional discomfort you may feel is plenty painful. It may include oral or topical antibiotics and/or antifungal creams, antibacterial creams, or similar medications. Practice abstinence or safe sex and avoid multiple partners. Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. It is accompanied by other alarming symptoms, such as vaginal itching, pain, soreness, bleeding, and increased vaginal discharge. It is the least common and comprises 3 percent to 5 percent of all vaginitis infections. Be sure to get screened for vaginal and anal sexually-transmitted diseases when you go for testing.

Your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis is higher if you: Probiotic supplements or those found in specialty foods like yogurts can help support the body’s production and balance of healthy bacteria. An example is estrogen, which controls the function of female reproductive organs. You accidentally left a tampon in there.

Those who have multiple sex partners (or whose partners have multiple partners) and those who don’t have sex for a while and then resume an active sex life are more at risk, Dr. But it can occur if you are not sexually active as well. What treatment do you recommend? Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is not necessarily an STD, although it is associated with sexual behavior and has been shown to be sexually transmitted in lesbians.

  • What is the difference between the three types of vaginitis?
  • Trichomoniasis — a sexually transmitted infection — also can lead to vaginal odor.
  • Atrophic vaginitis is treated with estrogen, which can be applied as a vaginal cream, ring, or tablet.
  • Patients should be advised to avoid sexual intercourse for at least 1 week and until they and their partner(s) have completed treatment and follow-up.
  • The changes in vaginal odor are largely due to the periodic fluctuations in the vaginal microflora and acidity levels.
  • Some women experience a change in vaginal odor before their period, which is related to bacteria and acidity levels in the vagina at different times in their menstrual cycle.
  • Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina.

Related Information

This condition is characterized by the deficiency of a certain enzyme that conversely triggers the excessive release of a rancid-smelling compound called trimethylamine in the urine, breath, sweat, and vaginal fluids. Yeast infections often cause genital itching, a thick white vaginal discharge, and other symptoms. The overgrowth of any of these bacteria can disrupt the natural flora balance in the vagina and thereby pave the way for infections. But between half and three-quarters of women with BV don’t have any symptoms. Always on Required Cookies & Technologies Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

For women who have irritation and inflammation caused by low levels of estrogen (postmenopausal), a topical estrogen cream might be prescribed.

You need a prescription from your doctor to get the yeast infection pill. Tight-fitting or nonabsorbent clothing, which leads to heat rashes. To minimize the scent in the future, switch to cotton undies (or at least ones that have a cotton lining) and don’t sit around with sweaty clothes. Thrush in mouth, always follow the instructions on the medicine packet. Your vagina, by nature, has a slight smell.


These types of products can cause an allergic reaction, and/or irritation, and removes the good bacteria that are normally present. But this is a bad idea. As vaginal smell tends to be particularly intense after sexual intercourse, make a habit of washing the genital area with mild soap and water once you are done. You might have one or more and they can vary with each yeast infection. There are other conditions that can cause a variety of vaginal odors. The infections listed above are causes of abnormal vaginal discharge without the presence of significant vaginal bleeding.

In one study, only 33. Coconut oil for candida: amazon.com, stash a jar of coconut oil in your kitchen pantry and one under your bathroom sink – and then read up on the many ways this rich and creamy oil can be used to benefit your health. There are over-the-counter creams that you can use on your vulva to help calm the irritation. Proper genital hygiene demands that you use a minuscule amount of mild fragrance-free soap and copious amounts of water to wash your vagina clean during every bath or even otherwise. Trichomoniasis (trich) is infection by a single-celled parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. Here are some reasons why you might be experiencing this problem and what you should do about it. Adult women, in particular, have vaginal secretions that smell slightly musty, which should not raise any cause for concern. You should also be on the lookout for symptoms of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis, 3 infections that can cause changes in your vaginal discharge. The vagina gives off a faint musty smell at all times, but the odor tends to be most pungent before the onset of a period, especially on days when you are ovulating.

Negative feelings about vaginal odor can lead to difficulties with self-esteem and body image. Burning with urination. Drugs that treat certain types of infections. Your doctor can also give you tips on relieving burning and itching. These bacteria are sometimes spread from the rectum to the vaginal area by wiping from back to front after using the toilet. It is caused by a change in the type of bacteria found in the vagina.

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If you have it and you are exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (including HIV ), you are more likely to catch the infection. The severity of your pain and other symptoms you have may help determine what is causing the pain. This might be an embarrassing conversation to start but it’s one that every woman faces at some point during her lifetime. Stress, birth control, antihistamines, childbirth, breastfeeding, and even dehydration can cause vaginal dryness. This is actually one of the worst things you can do, as exposure to chemicals will alter vaginal pH balance and can even worsen the odor and cause infections.

Types of Vaginitis

It is equipped with glands whose secretions naturally wash away the bacteria and other impurities from the vaginal walls. Douches can disrupt the normal balance of vaginal organisms and should be avoided. Although this approach to diagnosis is not unreasonable, accuracy can be improved by using complete Amsel criteria. A yeast overgrowth in the vagina can produce a sweet smell reminiscent of honey or cookies. An overgrowth of yeast in the vagina can produce a sweet smell, similar to that of honey or cookies. Vaginal itching usually gets worse the longer you have the infection. These can affect the delicate pH balance of the vagina.

Some of these medicines are now available without prescription, such as miconazole (Monistat) and clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin or Mycelex-G), and you may use then when you know you have a yeast infection. If there is a fishy odor, it could signify Bacterial Vaginosis. You’ve probably heard that eating pineapple or citrus fruits can make you smell sweeter down there, and that fried foods can make you stinky. Yes, baking soda soaks are oftentimes helpful. Streicher says. It is unlikely to achieve therapeutic levels in the urethra and perivaginal glands where infection is also located, and is considerably less efficacious than oral preparations. BV may increase the risk of preterm delivery.