What do these vaginal odors mean? That’s what the experts say

What do these vaginal odors mean?  That's what the experts say

Despite what some advertisements for vaginal products may claim, there is no reason for the vagina to smell floral. It’s perfectly fine for your vagina to smell, thanks to bacteria, sweat, your menstrual cycle, and even your diet.

Although there’s no reason to feel insecure about not smelling fresh daisies (and whatever you do, do it). no perfusion, which can cause vaginal infectionor use fragrance there, because it’s the fastest way to get allergic contact dermatitis), there are some scents that may signal a red flag about your overall health.

So what do the different vaginal odors mean and what scents should you be aware of? That’s what the experts say.


possible cause: according to Dr. Laura PurdyChief Medical Officer of lock of hairA fishy odor “could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV), which occurs when the amount of lactobacilli in the body grows to an unhealthy level.” The second reason, according to a New York-based ob-gyn Dr. Alyssa DweckIt is a sexually transmitted infection, commonly known as TrichomoniasisIt is caused by a parasite and can cause itching of the genitals, foul-smelling discharge, and painful urination.

What the experts want you to know: Both of these problems can be resolved with antibiotics, so it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to assess the situation.

rubbish or something rotten

possible cause: Purdy says there’s likely one culprit in this situation — a tampon that’s been left in the vagina for too long. Dweck notes, “This odor is incredibly pungent and gets worse as this or any other foreign body persists. It may also indicate an infection or rarely, a tumor or growth in the genitals.”

What the experts want you to know: If a tampon or other foreign object is in your vagina, remove it immediately if you are able to. Purdy says that if the smell persists or if you can’t find tampon string, it’s best to see a doctor. toxic shock syndrome (TSS) One potential risk is leaving a tampon or other foreign object — such as a menstrual cup or tablet — in the vagina for a long time, and symptoms include a high fever, vomiting or diarrhea, a rash on the palms of the hands and feet, confusion, headache, and muscle aches, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Vinegar / garlic

possible cause: Purdy notes that this odor can be a sign of a pH imbalance. She explains, “The body naturally produces bacteria called lactobacilli, which have a slightly acidic pH, to fight off the growth of unhealthy bacterial infections. This smell can also be influenced by what you’ve been eating lately, especially if you have been eating anything with vinegar or garlic.” “.

What the experts want you to know: “Usually you don’t have to worry about a vinegar smell or a garlic-like vaginal odor, unless the smell is very strong or you’re feeling uncomfortable; if that’s the case, I recommend talking to your doctor,” Purdy says.


possible cause: The reason urine smells, well, says Dweck, is because there is urine. “In some cases, leaking urine or poor toilet hygiene can cause the genitals to smell like ammonia,” she says. Purdy notes that a urine-like odor could mean you’re dehydrated, which causes the urine to smell more intense. An ammonia-like odor can also indicate A Urinary tract infection (Urinary tract infection).

What the experts want you to know: If urine leakage is an ongoing problem or you suspect you may have a UTI, Bure recommends seeing a doctor.

yeast / corn flakes

possible cause: A yeast-like odor is usually a sign of a yeast infection. This may come with “significant itching and a thick white discharge,” Dweck notes.

What the experts want you to know: “If you notice this vaginal odor, it’s best to see a doctor to clarify whether this could be a sign of a yeast infection,” Purdy says. If it’s a yeast infection, your doctor will likely prescribe one An antifungal medication.


possible cause: Vaginal pH. “Coffee is slightly acidic, just as the pH of the vagina is slightly acidic,” Purdy says.

What the experts want you to know: You don’t have to worry about it smelling like coffee. “That coffee aroma means the lactobacilli are doing their job and keeping you healthy,” Purdy explains.

Iron / metallic

possible cause: The smell of iron or metal is usually indicative of blood, says Dweck. Purdy adds that this is usually “menstrual blood.” An iron or metallic odor “after intercourse” is also possible, because this odor “could also be caused by vaginal contact with semen.”

What the experts want you to know: “The bottom line in the presence of an iron or metallic odor is that there is nothing to worry about,” Purdy says.

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