Different Kinds Of Vagina Odors
While you may have already realized that your vagina has some sort of a scent, there are actually different types of vaginal scents depending on its state or condition.
Some of the scents appear to be normal, while some need to be consulted to your doctor immediately.
Among common vaginal whiffs include the following:
You may notice a musky smell especially after you just have sweated a lot. This is due to moisture that is released by your sweat glands around your vaginal area. Therefore, make sure to shower after an intense workout and change into fresher clothes.
If the scent increases post-coitus or it is followed by an abnormal discharge, the scent may be caused by a bacterial infection. In such cases, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.
Some women experienced having this particular scent. According to experts, this is due to the use of lubricants or condoms. On the contrary, theres no reason to be alarmed perhaps you may have to stick to unscented variants instead.
This scent often occurs when you have your period. Normally, blood smells this way and mix with the vaginas natural state. No worries, though — its normal. Make sure to wash your vagina thoroughly before changing pads.
What Is Vaginal Odor
Vaginal odor is the smell that your vaginaand usually your dischargegives off. A certain amount of vaginal odor is normal, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . But if the odor is strong and noticeable, its possible that you have an infection or other problem, ACOG says.
Normal Healthy Vaginal Odors
Here are some normal, not-to-worry odors you may encounter:
- Tangy, fermented, or sour. These are perfectly healthy adjectives to describe the vaginal odor created by your normal bacterial flora. Good bacteria help keep your vagina healthy by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other substances to keep harmful bacteria at bay. They help maintain your vaginal pH levels by keeping it on the acidic side between 3.8 and 4.5 for non-menopausal women and between 4.5 and 6 for those in menopause to ward off the overgrowth of yeast and other harmful bacteria.
- Metallic, like a jar of pennies. A metallic vaginal odor could be due to blood from menstruation or light bleeding after sex traveling through your vaginal canal. Blood contains iron, which explains the smell of metal. It could also be from coming in contact with semen, which can affect your vaginas pH balance.
- Bittersweet or molasses-y. If your vaginal odor comes off smelling a little like tangy gingerbread, your normal bacteria may be in a bit of flux, affecting your pH balance and, therefore your aroma.
- Bleachy, like a clean kitchen sink. A chemically vaginal odor could be attributed to a bit of urine in your underwear or around your vulva. But please note, it could also be the sign of a bacterial infection. Read on…
You May Like: If You Have Irregular Periods Can You Get Pregnant
What Changes To Expect As You Age
As you get older, your estrogen levels decrease, causing an imbalance in your pH levels.
But, when hormones change during menopause, you may experience changes to how your vagina feels and smells. This includes:
Vaginal irritation. Itching and burning in your vagina can happen because of all the hormonal changes your body is going through. To relieve this discomfort, you can try vaginal lubricants and creams, estrogen cream, and natural oils like jojoba or coconut.
Dryness. This can happen when your vaginal secretions are decreased. It can also make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable. You can ease these symptoms with lubricants and gels.
Inflammation. This can cause infection or pain when urinating. If you have an infection, you may notice an overwhelming unpleasant vaginal odor. You may need to see a gynecologist to get antibiotics for your infection.
Discharge with bad odor. This odor may seem different and unpleasant to you. This happens when your vaginal alkalinity increases. A changing pH level in your vagina is normal during and after menopause.
If you have concerns about your changing vaginal smell or overall health, its best to consult with your gynecologist. They can help guide you through these changes and prescribe products that can ease your symptoms.
What Is Not Normal
A vaginal discharge is not normal when it:
- itches or irritates
It is also not normal to have:
- bleeding between periods
- uncomfortable or painful sexual intercourse
- lower abdominal pain.
Any of these can be a sign of infection. If you notice any of them see your health professional. This is very important if you think you could have a sexually transmissible infection .
Your nurse or doctor will discuss your concerns, check your genital area and take swab tests to find infection. Other tests may be suggested.
Don’t Miss: Due Date Based On Last Period
Myth #: You Cant Get Pregnant When Youre On Your Period
The Truth: Au contraire, friend. Despite the popularity of this myth, its simply not true. Some people believe that you cant get pregnant on your period because your uterus is shedding its inner lining, which is your bodys way of saying, No baby in here!
While the average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days, many women have cycles that last between 21 and 35 days. Ovulation also varieswomen with a longer cycle of 35 days might ovulate around day 21, while those with a shorter cycle of 21 days are likely to ovulate around Day 7. See where were going with this?
Whether you have a long or short cycle, the egg you release during ovulation can live for between 12 and 24 hours. Sperm can live for about 3 days. In a nutshell, the closer you are to the end of your period, the more likely you are to get pregnantespecially if you have a shorter cycle since there is less time between menstruation and ovulation. Even if you have a longer cycle, youre still at risk of getting pregnant. If youre not on birth control and not ready to start planning play dates, make sure your partner wears a condom.
When Should I Seek Treatment For Abnormal Vaginal Odor
Vaginal issues are one of the most common reasons women seek medical care. If you are experiencing prolonged abnormal vaginal odor, or odor accompanied by discharge, burning and itching, you should seek medical care. Untreated vaginitis can lead to vaginal infections that can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes. The risk of contracting STDs is also higher for women with vaginitis.
You should especially seek medical care if you are pregnant. Pregnant women with vaginitis or vaginal odor are at higher risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, infection of amniotic fluid and other risk factors.
Read Also: Dental Coverage With No Waiting Period
Myth #: Period Sex Is Gross
The Truth: You now know that you can get pregnant while youre on your period. This brings us to another myth that people love to obsess overperiod sex. While the truth of this myth is more subjective than others and is absolutely a personal preference, we want to dispel any fears that period sex is unhygienic or unhealthy.
The idea that menstrual blood is somehow more gross or unhygienic than other blood because it flows out of a vagina instead of say, an elbow, has become ingrained in the brains of many due to the centuries of menstruation being taboo. Add to this the messy nature of bloody sex and its easy to see where the belief that periods are gross comes from.
Sweaty Gym Oniony Or Salty Smell
Here are some ideas on how you can keep these smells at bay during that time of the month:
- Invest in period panties with antibacterial properties
- Change your period panties every few hours
- Wash your period panties thoroughly and regularly
- Rinse off your vulva daily with water and a hypoallergenic soap
- Avoid douches as they eliminate healthy vaginal bacteria
Key Takeaway: With improved hygiene during your period, and with the help of natural, whole-body deodorant, you can manage odors more efficiently.
Don’t Miss: I Know I Ovulated But My Period Is Late
How Dangerous Abnormal Vaginal Odor Is
Again, the cause of abnormal vaginal odor determines whether you may develop serious health complications and your prognosis.
For instance, if left untreated, genital infections in pregnant women may result in preterm childbirth . If the abnormal vaginal odor is caused by cancer, the consequences may be as serious as death. That is why it is strongly recommended that you see a doctor for examination and testing and get the correct diagnosis.
When To See A Health Care Provider For Fishy Vaginal Odor
If you have a fishy vaginal odor that wont go away even after trying the techniques above, its time to see a health care professional. This is also true if the fishy vaginal odor comes with any itching, burning, or bleeding.
Still have questions about fishy vaginal odors? Never fear, because Flo is here to answer them all.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does A First Period Last
Treatment For Foul Smelling Discharge
The treatment for foul smelling discharge depends on the cause, and so the gynecologist may prescribe antibiotics, antifungal medication or creams to be applied directly on the vagina.
It is important to note that the duration of the treatment depends on the severity of the health issue and the type of discharge. Additionally, the partner may also need treatment and gynecologists generally recommend that sexual contact should be avoided until the infection has disappeared.
Skunky Like Bo Or A Smoked Herbal Earthy Scent
No, its not just you. Many people find a similarity between body odor and marijuana. Sadly, there isnt a good scientific answer for this, although Vice did take a stab at it. But thanks to the sweat glands down there, at least we do know why vaginas and body odor can smell so similar.
When you are stressed or anxious, the apocrine glands produce a milky fluid. On its own this fluid is odorless. But when this fluid contacts the abundance of vaginal bacteria on your vulva, it can produce a pungent aroma.
Also Check: How To Have Sex On Period
Why Does My Period Smell
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
A menstrual period consists of the shedding of an unfertilized egg, blood, and uterine lining tissues. Its completely normal for this combination to have a slight odor after it exits the vagina. This is most likely related to the vaginal substance itself, but bacteria and acidity can also play a role.
Any odors you might notice during your period can also fluctuate. Healthy periods can have a slight smell of blood. They may even have a slight metallic smell from iron and bacteria.
Generally speaking, period odors arent noticeable to others. Good hygiene practices can also combat normal period odors and make you more comfortable during menstruation.
A strong odor from down there may be cause for worry, as it could be a sign of an infection. In such cases, the odors are accompanied by other symptoms, such as vaginal discharge or pelvic pain thats not related to normal menstruation.
Learn more about some of the common odors associated with periods, and which symptoms warrant a doctors visit.
Bad Odor Before Period
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
You May Like: How To Know When Your Period Is Coming Again
Myth No : You Can Use Tampons For Vaginal Discharge
The Truth: Throughout each menstrual cycle, you may find that your vagina excretes different types of dischargethick and white a few days after your period, white and creamy after this, and an egg white type discharge just before ovulation. While it may be tempting to grab a tampon from your little black box so you dont get discharge on your favorite underwear, this is really not a smart move.
Tampons, even of the lowest absorbency, are designed to collect quite a bit of blood. When youre not on your period, you arent producing nearly enough fluid to justify the use of a tampon. When you use a tampon in a dry vagina you put yourself at risk for developing Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but life-threatening infection. Avoid the possibility of this happening and stick with an organic pantyliner instead.
When Your Period Smells Like Death
Normal. If your period smells like its a little beyond the grave, that might be normal for your body. But that odor shouldnt be strong enough for folks around you to sniff out. And it should be easy to remedy with a fresh pad or tampon.
Not normal. If your flow smells like something crawled inside you and died, the culprit is probably a forgotten tampon. Neglected tampons are surprisingly common, especially at the end of your period.
Good news: Its likely an easy fix. Feel around for the strings or use a clean finger to fish around your vagina.
If the tampon is stuck, or you cant find the source of the stench, call your gyno and request a same-day appointment.
Recommended Reading: Using Birth Control To Regulate Period To Get Pregnant
What Causes Vaginal Odor
Abnormal vaginal odor can be caused by infection or inflammation. When the normal vaginal bacteria levels are imbalanced, this can lead to vaginitis.
Specific causes include:
- Bacterial vaginosis: An infection that occurs from an overgrowth of normal of vaginal bacteria. The most common cause of vaginal odor.
- Trichomoniasis: A sexually transmitted infection.
- Rectovaginal fistula: A rare condition in which an opening between the rectum and vagina allows feces to leak into the vagina.
- Vaginal cancer: Symptoms include heavy vaginal discharge that can have a strong odor.
- Cervical cancer: Symptoms can include a strong discharge. Cancer is a rare cause of abnormal vaginal odor.
However, temporary vaginal odor is common, and often resolves on its own. This can be due to hormonal changes, or even diet. For example, foods with a strong odor, such as garlic or fish, can cause odor changes in the vagina.
Myth No : A Tampon Can Get Lost Inside Of Your Vagina
The Truth: Um, no. Lets put this menstruation myth to bed right now. While you can get a tampon stuck inside of your vagina, you definitely cannot lose one. Your vagina is not nearly as deep as you might think. It opens more when youre aroused in order for a penis to enter, but even so, it still cant go anywhere. Your cervix is at the base of your uterus and prevents anything you put up there from going too far in.
If you put a tampon in and cant find it, you may need to insert your fingers into your vagina and search for the string. While this may feel embarrassing or uncomfortable, its not the end of the worldand you certainly arent the first woman it has happened to.
Recommended Reading: Do You Get Cramps Before Your First Period