4 different vaginal smells and what they mean

Catching a strange whiff down below and you’re worried about why? It could be completely natural, or it could be your body trying to tell you that you have an infection. Let’s take a look:


Sour, Bread, Yeasty: This could be a big indicator of a yeast infection. Short & simple (and I guess the word ‘yeasty’ kind of gives it away? But let’s not make bread from this one..) If you notice this smell, you may also be noticing much heavier discharge which could be whiter in colour and thicker, or it could be much thinner and watery than normal. Other symptoms could be pain, burning, itching and redness of skin (and sounds odd, but just a general feeling of HEAT down there.) Visit your doctor for swabs to confirm, or if you are certain, you can buy over the counter medication to help treat it.


Vinegar/Tangy: This can actually be completely normal. The vagina is a naturally acidic environment, usually around 3.8-4.5 on the pH scale if you want to get geeky! HOWEVER. I searched the internet far and wide for reasons behind why I was experiencing this smell along with much heavier and really insanely watery discharge. I found nothing. It took me about half a decade to find the answer; cervical erosion/ectropion. Sounds worse than it is. You don’t need to get them removed, however mine was causing such gross discharge that I wanted them gone. It’s simply a cell movement of softer cells that line the inside of the cervix, moving to the outside (and they secrete a whole lot more mucus). Your doctor can easily take a look at your cervix to see if you have one! Make sure you keep changing your underwear frequently and wear breathable fabrics.


Fishy: Ohhhh lord yes. The classic insult of ‘fishy fanny’ is sadly true, and I won’t sugarcoat the smell because it can be pretty horrific. If the smell is EXTREME and almost like rotting shellfish, it could be an STI called Trichomoniasis which is caused by a tiny parasite. A lot of people don’t display any symptoms at all so in a strange way, getting this smell can be a good thing so that you know about it and seek treatment! A course of antibiotics can clear this right up.

Secondly, a fishy smell could be caused by Bacterial Vaginosis. This is an extremely common vaginal infection and caused by a pH imbalance (when the vagina turns more alkaline). This can be due to sex, extremely harsh/fragranced products or even certain contraception. Again, treatment involves some swabs at the doctor and a course of antibiotics (there are also over the counter medications for this available).


Coppery/Metallic: This one is completely normal if it is around the time of your period (just before or after) as it is simply old blood. We all know when we taste our own blood (not from our vaginas I hope) that it tastes like pennies. This is because our blood is high in Iron! The only concern with this smell would be if it is always there, of which it is best that you seek professional advice.


The key thing to remember is that your vagina always has a smell. You shouldn’t smell like roses there. You shouldn’t be using perfumes and making an area of your body that is acidic smell of anything else. Leave it be, she’s a self cleansing organ and she knows what she is doing.

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