Types of Vaginal Odor

Understanding Different Types of Vaginal Odor

Unusual vaginal odor happens from time to time. Even when you’re taking good care of your body and your vagina, you may experience unfamiliar smells. What’s not normal, however, is persistent or strong odors.

A healthy vagina’s typical scent may best be described as “musky” or “fleshy.” A menstrual cycle might cause a slightly “metallic” scent for a few days. Intercourse may also change the smell temporarily.

Your vagina cleanses itself naturally. If you leave your vagina to its own devices, it can naturally maintain a healthy pH and keep unhealthy bacteria at bay. But if you notice a stark difference in your odor, then you may be experiencing a sign of a potential problem. Strong odors, itching and irritation, and unusual discharge are all signs you may have something other than just unusual vaginal odor.

Fishy vaginal odor

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age. When something upsets the vagina's complex chemistry, harmful bacteria can grow out of control, producing a fishy odor.

Some women with BV experience other symptoms, such as itching or burning, which may feel like a yeast infection. For many women though, the smell is the only symptom. Vaginal pH regulators, such as GYNALAC and prescription antibiotics can treat the problem.

Healthful habits can also reduce the risk of BV. Those include:

  • Avoiding douches, which upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina.
  • Not using scented or flavored products in or around the vagina. Perfumes and other products, such as scented tampons, can alter vaginal chemistry and cause BV.
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners and practicing safer sex. While BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), multiple sexual partners can upset the bacteria balance in the vagina, causing BV.

Sweet or beer-like vaginal odor

A yeast overgrowth in the vagina can produce a sweet smell reminiscent of honey or cookies. The vagina might also smell like beer, flour, or bread.

Sometimes the odor smells sour, but it can also be pleasant. Intense burning, itching, or feelings of dryness usually accompany yeast infections. They tend to get worse over time, and some women may notice a discharge that resembles cottage cheese.

People can treat these infections using over-the-counter medicines. However, a woman experiencing her first yeast infection should talk to her doctor to rule out other causes.

Other odors

Hormonal changes during menopause may alter the scent of the vagina, and leave the vagina feeling dry.
Some STIs, notably trichomoniasis, may also alter the smell of the vagina. Any shift in vaginal odor, particularly if the smell is strong or unpleasant, demands a trip to the doctor. It is not recommended to use perfume to mask the smell.

Eliminate feminine odor, don't just cover it up!

Normal vaginal discharge, is thin, clear, or milky white, and mild smelling. If your discharge turns grey or white accompanied by a strong smell, it may be a sign that you have bacterial vaginosis (BV) and a pH imbalance. The only real solution is to restore and maintain your body’s delicate balance. Sometimes your body can do this on its own, but when it needs a little help, there's GYNALAC.  Read more...