Smelling vaginas

Everything completely normal - right? What the 7 most common vagina smells mean

Vaginas will never smell like roses - and they should! However, when you should get to the bottom of abnormalities and what is completely normal - an overview.

on July 23, 2020, 11.13 a.m.

Smell the body of people. For skin, sweat, even what we eat. That should be the case, also with regard to the vulva and vagina. So far, so normal. But bodies are also very smart: If a smell strikes you as strange and if you notice a change in the vaginal discharge, then have it checked by your gynecologist. If your vagina wants to tell you something, listen! Speaking of discharge: it is completely normal and varies in strength and consistency a. from person to person and b. depending on your respective cycle phase. It becomes particularly noticeable when several symptoms occur at the same time.

This is what it means when your vagina smells like fish, metal, or yeast

1. Fishy smell
Possible cause: bacterial vaginosis
There are many different bacteria in a vagina. This is completely normal and will keep the vagina healthy. If the bacterial balance is mixed up, bacterial vaginosis (BV) can develop. Symptoms include thick, also frothy, white or grayish discharge, itching, and a strong fishy odor (especially after sex or washing with soap). BV is generally treated with antibiotics.

2. Your vagina smells like onions or garlic
Possible reason: natural body odor
Fact: If you eat a lot of garlic or onion, you can smell it - through sweat, urine and yes, also through vaginal discharge. However, that should have resolved itself in the 24 to 48 hours after consumption. And: the urethral outlet, vagina and anus are separate, but are close to each other - this can lead to a mixture of smells. Wash with water and mild soap and investigate again where it comes from.

3. Bread and beer - yeast
Possible reason: fungal infection
When the yeast Candida, which is found in small quantities in the body, takes over, the most common vaginal discomfort occurs: the fungal infection. It is accompanied by itching, a yeast odor, and thick, crumbly discharge. Treatment is usually with vaginal tablets and a cream, because the infection can spread to the vulva.

4. Your vagina smells sour or stale
Possible reason: trichomonads infection
Not for the faint of heart: Trichomoniasis is an infection of the vagina or penis in which a microscopic single cell colonizes. In addition to foul-smelling and greenish-foamy discharge, itching, burning sensation when urinating and pain during vaginal intercourse can occur. The infection can also cause symptoms in men, but much less often, such as discharge from the penis and inflammation of the urethra. Because nobody wants something like that: practice safe sex and always use a condom!

5. The vagina smells metallic
Possible cause: bleeding
Blood contains iron and is responsible for its metallic smell and taste. So if you're on your period now, that could be the reason. If you are not menstruating, you may have had small bleeding during sex - a lubricant can prevent this. There is nothing to worry about if you smell of copper or metal as long as you don't experience itching, burning, or changes in the discharge.

6. Rotten meat
Possible reason: a forgotten tampon
If a tampon is left in the vagina for a day or more, it will develop an extremely foul odor and you should seek immediate medical attention. The tampon must be removed immediately; further treatment may be necessary.

7. Bleach or ammonia
Possible cause: bacterial vaginosis or urine
We already got to know BV at point 1: It usually creates a fishy smell, but some also interpret it as a chemical smell. Another, more common reason: urine. If you drink too little fluids, your urine can acquire a chemical odor. In addition, the odor may be due to the use of lubricants, spermicides for birth control, or even sperm.

Basically, if the odor persists for several days, have it clarified by your gynecologist - especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms and changes. You know your body best, your doctor can make a competent diagnosis.