The vagina has a natural odor that is normal to have. You do not ever need to douche or use cleansing products because your vagina is already self-cleaning. The bodily fluids that are discharged are used to remove bacteria, skin cells and other things from your vagina and keep it clean. If you douche, it destroys the pH in your vagina and can cause a yeast infection. It is also completely unnecessary.
Sometimes, you may notice that your vaginal odor changes. This may be due to hormones or where you are in your menstrual cycle. If you have symptoms like unusual discharge, burning, irritation or itching, there may be another cause of the foul odor like an infection. If you do experience a fishy smell, there are several different reasons why this may happen.
What Should a Vagina Smell Like?
In reality, there is no right answer to this. Everyone’s body is different, so your vaginal odor may be slightly different than someone else. If you are menstruating or recently finished your cycle, it may have an iron-like smell because of the blood. If you just finished working out at the gym or going for a run, then there may be a strong, musky scent.
Sometimes, your pH level is off and yeast is able to grow profusely within your vagina. If the yeast is overgrown, it may smell like a malt beer. After sex, it may have an almost bleach-like scent. If you recently took a bath and do not have a yeast problem, then your vagina may have no scent at all.
While many vaginas smell similarly, there is no single scent that everyone has. Many different factors can change the way that your vagina smells. This could be due to how often you shower, the type of bacteria in your body and what you eat. Your scent can be affected by how you dress (such as wearing tight clothing), how your bowels are functioning, how well you clean yourself, how much you sweat and what your glands secrete.
If you have recently had sex, your scent will most likely change lately. When you are aroused, there are glands around your vagina that release pheromones. This can change your scent, and this change is perfectly normal. You should never use a douche or vaginal deodorant because your vagina knows what it is doing. It already releases discharge to clean itself, and trying to use any cleansing product will only hurt the natural pH level and cause other gynecological problems.
What Makes a Vagina Smell Like Fish?
Sometimes, you may notice a fishy smell. This is often caused by bacterial vaginosis. This type of bacterial infection can affect women of any age or lifestyle. Normally, your vagina is home to a wide range of bacteria. Sometimes, pH changes or other factors can allow the “bad” bacteria to become overgrown. When this happens, you develop conditions like bacterial vaginosis. Normally, good bacteria like lactobacilli would outnumber the bad bacteria, but there are times when the bad bacteria become overgrown.
Bacterial vaginosis can happen to anyone. You could be a virgin, sexually active, old or young. While it can affect anyone, it is more common in women who are sexually active and who have multiple partners. If you have bacterial vaginosis, you will most likely notice symptoms other than a fishy vaginal smell. You may notice a milky-white discharge or irritation. If you have unprotected sex, you may notice that the scent seems stronger. It can also seem stronger when you are on your period.
Like any condition, it is important to seek medical treatment if you have bacterial vaginosis. Your doctor is the only one who can diagnosis this condition accurately. Once you have a diagnosis, you can easily get treatment for the condition.
Can I Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?
Antibiotics can treat bacterial vaginosis. To prevent it from happening, avoid irritating your vagina. Skip hot tubs and whirl pools. Do not use soap on your vagina and dry yourself completely. Do not deodorize your vagina or use a douche. Do not have unprotected sex.
What to Do
Go to your doctor. Your doctor will check your symptoms, take a sample of your vaginal discharge and perform a pelvic exam. Left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can increase the chances of a miscarriage or an early delivery. It can lead to a uterine infection if left untreated. Your doctor will most likely give you antibiotics to treat the infection, and make sure to take the entire prescription even if you start to feel better. If you do not take the entire prescription as directed, your problem may return again.
What Are the Other Causes of a Vagina That Smells Like Fish?
Other than bacterial vaginosis, there are several other potential causes of a vagina that smells like fish. Some of causes the most common include the following conditions.
Yeast Infection: This common condition happens when your pH level is out of balance. It can cause a fishy smell, itching, soreness and burning.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This disease is caused by a bacteria that is often transmitted during sex. It can cause symptoms like chlamydia or gonorrhea if left untreated. If there are symptoms, you may notice a fishy odor, painful urination, pelvic pain, fever, pain during sex, heavy discharge and fatigue.
What You Eat: Surprise! The food you eat can change your vaginal odor. A food that has a strong scent like onions, garlic, chilies, cabbage, fish and broccoli can cause strange odors to occur. If you think food is your problem, try eliminating different foods from your diet and see if it helps.
Trichomoniasis: This is a sexually transmitted diseases caused by a parasite. You may not experience any symptoms. If you do, those symptoms may include fishy discharge, green or yellow discharge, burning sensations during sex, frothy discharge or burning sensations during urination.
Sweat: Sweat can easily cause unpleasant scents in your vaginal area because you have sweat glands located hear. Tight clothing can also trap sweat in this area and produce a fishy smell.