We Primary Care - Best Primary Care Knowledge Site


Vaginal odor is the smell that emanates from the vaginal region. It is very normal for the vaginal odor to be mild. On the other side, a very strong vaginal odor, such as a fishy smell, may suggest an underlying condition.

Other vaginal signs and symptoms, such as itching, burning, irritation, and discharge, are often accompanied by an unpleasant fragrance emanating from the vaginal region, regardless of whether the infection or another condition is present.

The odor of the vaginal area is noticeable. While some females are self-conscious about the scent of their vaginal secretions, a healthy vagina usually has a faint odor. However, if you have an infection or other health concern, this smell may alter.

The natural smell of vaginal mucus may be impacted by a variety of variables, including nutrition and health.

The odor of a woman’s vaginal discharge changes a lot throughout her menstrual cycle. Most discharge, which may be accompanied by an odor, usually occurs around the middle of the cycle. The vaginal area may have a greater odor after sexual intercourse. A strong vaginal odor, particularly one that lasts for many days and smells fishy, may signal a medical concern that needs to be investigated. Grayish-white discharge, burning, and itching are all common symptoms linked with fishy vagina odor. These are often linked to vaginitis symptoms.

Any woman may experience bad vaginal odor at any point in her life. Women with poor hygiene, douche users, and pregnant women are all at risk of developing fishy vaginal smells. Women who are in a new sexual relationship or often change partners are more likely to have an odd vaginal odor.


An unusual vaginal smell might be caused by a vaginal mucosal infection or inflammation. Vaginitis may arise when the normal levels of bacteria in the vaginal environment get out of balance.

Here are some instances of particular causes:

Bacterial vaginosis: It is a vaginal illness caused by an overabundance of normal bacteria.

The most prevalent cause of the vaginal odor is a yeast infection. Depending on the strain, an overabundance of yeast in the vaginal canal may provide a sweet odor. Yeast infections are often characterized by severe burning, itching, or a parched feeling. These symptoms have a propensity to intensify with time. Furthermore, some women may have a cottage cheese-like discharge that also causes vaginal odor.

Trichomoniasis: It is a parasitic illness spread via sexual contact resulting in fishy smell. The symptoms include itching, redness, burning, or discomfort in the genital region; urinary pain; and a clear, white, yellowish, or greenish discharge from the vaginal area. Antibiotics are quite a against trichomoniasis.

Fistula: The rectum and the vaginal entrance have a fistula, which allows faces to leak into the vagina. The passage of faces into the vaginal canal is an uncommon occurrence that may lead to a smell.

Vaginal cancer: The Cancer symptoms include a lot of vaginal discharge with a distinct odor.A strong (odorous) discharge, which may indicate the presence of cervical cancer, is one of the symptoms.

Poor hygiene: Insufficient bathing or showering might irritate the vaginal region, leading to an odorous vaginal discharge. It is crucial to maintain good hygiene to get rid of vaginal odor.

Temporary vaginal odor, on the other hand, is frequent and usually goes away on its own. This might be related to a change in nutrition or hormonal changes. When eaten in large quantities, garlic and fish, for example, have been found to impact the odor of the vaginal area.

A tampon that has gotten trapped or has been misplaced may also produce odor. An extremely strong vaginal odor may arise if you neglect to remove a tampon or if one remains stuck inside. It might be squeezed towards the top of the vaginal canal. If you cannot remove the tampon on your own, you should get it removed by a doctor who will also check for infection.

Sweating is particularly common in the groin region, which may lead to foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

Hormonal changes linked with menopause may make the vagina feel dry, in addition to changing the odor.

Certain STIs i.e. sexually transmitted infections may also affect the odor of vaginal discharge.

When to see a doctor

You should seek medical help if you have an unusual vaginal odor that persists or is accompanied by discharge, burning, or discomfort. Untreated vaginitis may lead to vaginal infections, which can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes if not treated quickly.

If you are expecting a child, you should seek immediate medical attention. Pregnant women with bad odor in their vaginal discharge have an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, infection, and other complications.