Understanding Different Types of Vaginal Odor
It might be an embarrassing question, but we all want to know: why do vaginas smell, and when it comes to vaginal odor, what is normal and what is not normal?
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.
"Understanding the types of smells that are normal and those that are concerning are important health considerations women should know."
Vaginal Odor: What Is Normal and What is Not?
Normal, Healthy Vaginal Odors
Here are some normal, not-to-worry odors you may encounter:Tangy, fermented, or sour:
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginitis with approximately 50% of all vaginal infections classified as bacterial vaginosis, while only 25% are classified as yeast infections.
Unhealthy Vaginal Odors
If you notice any of these vaginal odors, you may want to contact your gynecologist.Fishy:
When to See a Doctor
If you’re worried about an unusual or persistent vaginal odor, or even if you’ve noticed it and it’s not sitting right with you, it’s important to call your doctor, especially when those odors are accompanied by any of the following:
- Vaginal discharge that is an unusual color or consistency
- Bleeding not associated with your period.
- Vaginal swelling
- Genital rash or redness
Having some kind of vaginal odor is normal. However, if is intense and different from your usual scent, it’s time to consult a professional for help.
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.”
A few final words…
The vagina has a unique fragrance. Some females may feel self-conscious about the scent of their vagina, but it is normal for a healthy vagina to have a slight scent. Subtle shifts in your vaginal fragrance are also normal.
Having said this, the way your vagina smells has everything to do with its pH and there are lots of things that can affect your vaginal pH. If you’ve noticed a change in your vaginal odor that is abnormal and doesn’t go away, it’s worth investigating and discussing this with your doctor.
Bacterial Vaginosis: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginal infections and results from an imbalance in the natural flora of your vagina and a change in its pH.
Vaginal Discharge: The production of vaginal discharge can change in consistency and appearance depending on many factors. Click for a guide to Vaginal Discharge Colour.
Importance of pH: A healthy vaginal pH is usually between 3.8 and 4.5. Click to learn more about why pH of the vagina is so important.
Vaginal Health: Click to learn more about vaginal health.
Antibiotic Resistance: The growing concern over the risk of antibiotic resistance is the primary reasons most healthcare practitioners are now turning towards non-antibiotic approaches to prevent recurrent infections.
Pregnancy: Bacterial Vaginosis is found in about 25% of pregnant women. Click to learn more about potential risks to your pregnancy.
UTI or Vaginal Infection? UTI or Vaginal Infection? If you experience discomfort in your genital area or when you urinate, you may have an infection. Click here to learn more about difference between a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and Vaginal Infection.