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What causes the 6 differences in vagina smell and the health implications you must know


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You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why does my vagina smell at least once in my life?” They went to their search engine and typed “how do I get rid of vaginal odor?” But let’s be clear about one thing right away.

Your vagina should smell fine. According to Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, “just like with the gut, the vagina has its own microbiome filled with different bacteria and yeast, many of which are incredibly helpful.” And, yes, those bacteria are responsible for your vag’s specific smell.

People who are unfamiliar with their vagina’s natural smell may notice that it has a sour or occasionally musty odor due to the acidic pH that is normally present. But it shouldn’t be too strong, she says. Even yet, occasionally you’ll catch a breath that smells a little different than usual. Dr. Minkin advises taking a deeper breath (yes, really), especially if the strange smell is accompanied by symptoms like itching or discharge. The explanation might be as simple as sweat or more serious, like an infection.

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6 differences in vagina smell and the health implications you must know

Want to learn more about that strange smell down there? Check to see if your odor is listed here to learn about the possible cause(s), and in any case, don’t be afraid to have a professional examine you.

Fishy smell

Most likely, it is bacterial vaginosis (BV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial vaginosis, the most prevailing vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 and 44, is the most likely cause of this odor. According to Dr. Minkin, the illness can spread when the pH of the vagina is out of hit due to a lot of “bad” bacteria.

Dr. Minkin emphasizes that BV is not an STI, making it relatively harmless on its own. Yet, doctors are unsure of why this occurs.

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However, according to Dr. Minkin, you might be able to rebalance your vaginal acidity with some over-the-counter “pH warfare.” Look for a pH gel from your neighborhood pharmacy that will balance the pH in your vagina and eliminate smells.

Visit your ob-gyn if this doesn’t remove the scent after a week or so. You may require an antibiotic to get rid of the infection, or you may have trichomoniasis, a common and simple STI that may be treated with medication.

Related; Know all the Potential Vaginal Discharge Colors and What They Might Indicate

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Yeasty smell

Most likely, it is a yeast infection. The thick, cottage cheese-like discharge that is a trademark of this itching irritation occasionally has a subtle whiff of beer or yeast, though most yeast infections aren’t very stinky. According to Dr. Minkin, this is most likely the reason you have pain after urinating or observe redness or burning around your vagina.

Since yeast feeds on sugar, and women with diabetes often have more glucose (also known as sugar) in their vaginal secretions, diabetic women may notice this more than non-diabetic women.

Consult your doctor about what’s happening down there; she could give you an antifungal prescription or suggest one you can buy over the counter.

Musky smell

Your underwear has possibly caught sweat and odor. Are you wearing synthetic underwear (think nylon or polyester) and have you recently worked out hard at the gym? According to Dr. Minkin, perspiration that has been retained due to exercise and tight underwear might have a musky odor. As soon as you take a shower, it should subside (use just water or mild soap). Change in the future to reduce the smell

Rotten smell

Most likely, it’s an outdated tampon. This is perhaps the smell that causes the greatest anxiety of all those that your vagina can emit. A tampon that has been in your vagina for several days or more may begin to smell rotten or offensive. According to her, the odor is caused by an abundance of germs in a small area.

To remove it on your own, squat down with one foot on the toilet or lie on your back. Use clean fingers to feel within your vagina for the string.

In vain? Visit your ob-gyn, who can do the procedure using a speculum.

One thing to keep in mind, though:

The bacteria can occasionally cause a more serious illness that may call for medical attention if left there for an extended period of time. If you have flu-like symptoms (fever, nausea, or achiness) and you are aware that your tampon has been in for longer than eight hours, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Metallic smell

Your period is most likely the cause. According to Dr. Minkin, blood (you know, from your period) can alter the pH of your vagina, giving it a coppery or tinny odor. You can bathe your vulva with non-irritating, unscented soap, but Dr. Minkin advises against using very powerful scented soaps since they might further destabilize the pH. But apart from that, you’ll simply have to wait for this one to come out.

Bleachy smell

Your vagina may begin to smell chemically like bleach or ammonia for a number of reasons, including Dr. Masterson’s claims that BV, which again often has a fishy smell, can occasionally have an ammonia-like odor. Additionally, particularly if you’re dehydrated, there’s a potential that the stench is actually coming from your urine.

Dr. Masterson further claims that any lubricants and spermicides you may have used, as well as sexual activity (particularly the low-acid pH level of sperm), might cause an ammonia smell. Basically, you may wait a little while to see if the scent goes away on its own. Visit your OB-GYN if it doesn’t go away in a few days.

Sweet smell

It’s most likely either a yeast infection or your diet. Since a sweet fragrance is preferable to a bad one, you might not immediately assume that something is wrong if you detect it there. And you’re essentially correct: According to Dr. Masterson, this is typically a nutrition issue. Citrus fruit “may sometimes have a nice odor,” she explains.

Garlic and asparagus are both known to alter the scent of urine and excretion. She does, however, note that yeast can occasionally produce a nice smell and that you should see your doctor if you experience any other signs of a yeast infection.

When to Visit a Physician

According to Jennifer Wider, MD, a women’s health specialist, you shouldn’t delay visiting your doctor if you have concerns about your vaginal odor. She advises waiting a few days to see whether the fragrance you’re worried about disappears, though, if you want to ride it out a bit. Call your doctor right away if the smell persists after that, especially if it’s accompanied by additional symptoms like discharge, burning, or itching.

Why is it so important to have a checkup?

According to Dr. Wider, certain untreated infections have the potential to spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can result in long-term complications, such as concerns with fertility.

Last but not least, bear in mind that, in Dr. Wider’s words, “you should never feel embarrassed to speak to your health care practitioner.” You’re not alone; in fact, one of the more frequent reasons for women to see a doctor is for vaginal problems. Dr. Wider also advises that you might want to look for a new doctor if you feel that you are unable to discuss these issues with your current one. For your general health and well-being, she advises having an open and honest connection with your doctor.

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