10 Sep

Vaginal Odour, What’s Normal?

Vaginal odour is something that concerns many women at some point in their life. So for a bit of reassurance, here’s what’s normal and what to look out for if you start noticing a smell down there.

Musky: All vaginas have a scent and a musky smell is completely normal. You may notice a much stronger odour if you have recently exercised and again, this is very common. The smell actually comes from the surrounding sweat glands.

Fishy: There are a few different reasons as to why you could be noticing a fishy smell. One possibility is bacterial vaginosis which is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, which in turn upsets the natural pH balance. You may also notice a change in discharge alongside the odour. Another possibility could be trichomoniasis (an STI), symptoms including a green discharge alongside a foul odour. Regardless, if you notice a really unpleasant smell and are worried it’s always best to go and see your GP.

Bleachy: This smell is often noticed after using lubricants and condoms and a change in your vagina’s smell after sexual intercourse is not abnormal. Most women describe this odour as “chlorine-like” or “bleachy” and is again nothing to worry about!

Yeasty: Yeast infections are common and occur when there is an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina. If there is a bread-like smell and cottage cheese-like discharge you may have a yeast infection. Again, it’s always best just to visit your GP, especially if it is the first time you have ever noticed this change.

Tinny: You’re quite likely to notice a different smell (some describe it as ‘tinny’) when you are having your period. Blood can mix with the natural state of a healthy vagina and start to give off a different smell but this is once again completely normal.

Sweet: You are what you eat, as they say! Strangely citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapple and grapefruit can sweeten the smell and taste of vaginal fluids. However, foods such as onions, garlic, broccoli and asparagus can give off an ‘unpleasant’ odour and taste.


Reference: Cosmopolitan magazine – http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/g2720/vaginal-odor/

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