9 Reasons Why Your Vagina Smells a Bit…Off
Your vagina probably smells alright, but if you notice a strange vaginal odor, it may be caused by one of these factors.
It’s common to have some sort of vaginal odor. There is probably nothing wrong with the way your vagina smells. You should be able to expect to have some sort ofvaginal odor, which is entirely natural. And no, it’s unlikely that smell will be a field of wildflowers. It’s not aperfume counter; it’s a vagina.
You most likely smell good. But it’s worth mentioning to your doctor if you’ve observed a change in your vaginal odor that doesn’t go away. Here are a few potential reasons why your vagina’s natural aroma can be off.
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What Truly Is Vaginal Odor?
The scent that emanates from your vagina and, often, your discharge is called vaginal odor. According to theAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some vaginal odor is typical.
However, according to ACOG, if the stench is overpowering and obvious, you could have an infection or another issue.
What Causes Vaginal Odor, and How?
There are a few factors that might go wrong with your vaginal that causes unusual odor.
1. Maybe you unintentionally left a tampon inside your vagina
It occurs, maybe more frequently than you’d imagine. Some people may insert a tampon for use toward the end of their period and forget about it, fail to remember that they already have one in place before inserting a new one, or forget and engage in sexual activity while one is still in place, causing it to be pushed sideways into the back of the cervix.
Every gynecologist has seen a lady who smelled bad and was embarrassed to learn it was a discarded tampon.
2. You have a bacterial infection
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bacterial vaginosis, more commonly abbreviated as B.V., is the most prevalent vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 and 44.
It occurs when there are excessive amounts of a particular type of bacteria in the vagina. Your vagina’s pH gets thrown off as a result.
It is unclear to experts what causes B.V. or how some people get HPV, but they are aware that it typically affects those who engage in sexual activity and have vagina.
Additionally, those who douche have a higher chance of contracting B.V. The imbalance between the healthy and harmful bacteria in your vagina really causes a shift in pH,which is what causes the stench. Thankfully, it will disappear once you treat it.
3. You ate food that your body doesn’t like
You’ve undoubtedly heard that eating fried meals may make your vagina scent stronger and that eating pineapple or citrus fruits can make you smell sweeter down there.
“I often hear this, but it’s all anecdotal,” There is therefore noscientific support for this, but specialists have undoubtedly heard of it happening in the past.
Consider whether what you eat may be playing a role if you notice that your customary fragrance is wrong and yourecently ate a lot of very aromatic items (like garlic) or anything that isn’t typically in your diet and the change upsets you.
Call your doctor to get checked out if you’re unsure if the change in scent is related to food or anything else.
4. You just had sex without using a condom.
After having sex, you could notice that the scent down there is a little different, which makes sense. Your bodily fluids and those of the other person are mingling, and you may be perspiring as well. Additionally, semen’s higher pH might result in the formation of an odor.
The stench usually goes away on its own in a day or so, or after youtake a shower, but if it continues, contact your doctor.
5. You are on your period
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that while you’re bleeding, your vaginal odor is a little stronger, and that’s natural.
Your vaginal flora may become a little unbalanced during your period due to the higher pH of blood. According to her, thearoma usually doesn’t vary significantly and disappears after your period is through.
6. You’ve got a yeast problem
Although you typically connect yeast infections with a certain discharge, they can also give rise to a specific odor. If you’ve already tried OTC meds for yeast infections and they didn’t work, consult your doctor. OTC medications for yeast infections should help clear up the infection and smell.
7. You have trichomoniasis
A bad odor down there can indicate trichomoniasis, an STI.
Trichomoniasis is a very common condition that is brought on by a small parasite that spreads between partnerswhile having sex. Even though many people don’t feel any symptoms, it can make your genitals itch and cause painful urination in addition to a foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
8. You recently exercised.
After working out, if you smell something foul coming from your vagina, it’s usually trapped perspiration.
A musky odor can occasionally be produced by tightly knit materials that are designed to catch and wick away perspiration.
Also keep in mind that all you really need to clean your vagina is plain water or a light soap.
9. You’re wearing the wrong underwear
The kind of underwear you wear matters a lot. The entire mix of healthy and bad bacteria—and yes, the smell of your vagina is impacted by the way that some materials retain heat and moisture.
The conventional wisdom is to choosecotton when buying underwear, but there is no scientific proof that synthetic materials (like polyester or silk) are unhealthy.
So is vagina odor normal?
Yup! When you consider what’s typical, it may have a faint or hardly perceptible odor that isn’t unpleasant.
If you think your discharge smells terrible but not fishy or like a musky animal, you’re probably good. “There shouldn’t bea strong stench, and it shouldn’t smell like the zoo or fish.”
Similar to sweat, each person’s vaginal odor is unique.
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Different Types of Vaginal Odor
While there is some variation with normal vaginal odor, smells that are a tip-off that something is wrong cangenerally be divided into three basic smells: fishy odors, zoo-like smells, and yeasty scents.
If you’re dealing with a fishy scent…
It could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. B.V. messes with the pH of your vagina and can create a bad, fishy odor in the process.
But a fishy smell can also be a sign of trichomoniasis. That’s why it’s important to rope in your doctor for help figuring out what’s going on.
If it smells literally like a zoo…
It could be due to a forgotten tampon, and unfortunately, it really, really stinks.
“A forgotten tampon causes the absolute worst vaginal odor,” . The smell is usually caused by old blood, which has a bad, zoo-like scent when it oxidizes.
It can also change the pH of your vagina (which should be between 3.5 to 4.5), allowing it to become abreeding ground for different bacteria or an infection.
While having a tampon lodged in your vagina stinks, it’s luckily easy to remove during a visit to your gynecologist.
BTW: If the smell is musky but not overpowering, it could simply be due to hanging out in sweaty workout clothes too much.
If it smells like bread…
No shocker here: It’s likely due to a yeast issue. It’s a yeasty smell. It’s not leave-the-room bad, but it has a characteristic scent.
The pH of your vagina doesn’t actually change when you have a yeast issue—it’s just that yeasthas an odor. So if your discharge smells bad but not fishy, it could be a yeast infection.
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How Can You Prevent and Get Rid of Vaginal Odor?
Keep in mind that ACOG specifically says that sprays, deodorants, and douches are “not recommended” and may even make things worse, so steer clear of those.
Some other things you can do to prevent vaginal odor:
1. Try to stay on top of your tampon use, especially during the end of your period. You can even set a reminder in your phone to take out that final tampon, if you tend to forget.
2. Use condoms. Unprotected sex increases your risk of several conditions that can lead to vaginal odors.
3. Aim to eat healthy. There’s not a clear-cut, absolute link between your diet and how your vagina smells, but what you eat can be a factor in your vaginal odor. Plus, eating well is good for the rest of your body too.
4. Change out of sweaty workout clothes ASAP. There’s no need to get rid of your favorite workout leggings, but be-sure to shower right after exercising (a.k.a., don’t sit around in sweaty clothes).
When to See a Doctor
If you’re worried about a weird or persistent vaginal odor, or even if you’ve noticed it and it’s not sitting right withyou, it’s important to call your doctor.
That’s especially true if you’re also dealing with things like itching, burning,irritation, or increased discharge on top of it, .
Again, having some kind of vaginal odor is normal. But when it’s intense and different from your usual, it’s time to-rope in the professionals for help.