Vaginal odor is any odor that originates from the vagina. It is normal for the vagina to have a slight odor . However an odor like for instance  a “fishy smell” may be an indication of a problem.
vaginal odor


An abnormal vaginal odor may be accompanied by symptoms such as

  • itching
  • irritation
  • burning
  • discharge

Vaginal odor varies throughout the menstrual  cycle. It is more noticeable after sex. Sweating can also increase this odor. Some people douche and use vaginal spray to reduce the odor but these products actually increase  irritation and other vaginal symptoms.
Usually if you have vaginal odor without any other vaginal symptoms, it unlikely to be abnormal.


Causes of vaginal odor


Some of the common causes of vaginal discharge are :

Less common causes include

  • vaginal cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • rectovaginal fistula  which is an abnormal opening between the rectum and vagina that allows  feces to leak into the vagina


When to call the doctor


Contact your doctor if you are worried about your vaginal odor especially if it accompanied by symptoms such as burning , itching and discharge.


In the meantime , you can do the following to reduce the odor.

  • use a small amount of unscented soap and lots of water to wash the external genital area during a regular bath or shower
  • Do not douche.A healthy vagina contains bacteria and yeast. The normal acidity of the vaginal keeps  the bacteria and yeast in check. Douching upsets the natural balance of the vagina


Content Sources
Vaginal odor. Mayo Foundation. Accessed March 17,2016

Vaginal odor symptoms and signs. Accessed March 17, 2016

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