Why Do Vaginas Smell Like Fish?

If you ever thought that your vagina has no scent or it really smells like fish, you are wrong. Nowadays, we are overwhelmed with commercials about being more skinnier, to smell like a flower, to hide your femininity, to mask a menstruation odor. Women use perfumed pads which are bad and even perfume their down areas when having intimate moments, or some even when going to the gynecologist. When does a vagina smell like fish and is it considered normal?

How Does Your Vagina Smell Like?

The answer to this question is different from woman to a woman. There are a lot of factors which affect the vaginal odor. It depends on how much you sweat, what do you eat, how often do you shower, it depends on the secretion of your glands. Don’t try to deodorize your vagina, since it can corrupt the pH of the vaginal fluid, making it prone to bacteria infections and other problems. Your vagina’s natural pH is about 4.5. Having your vagina has its own smell is normal. It depends also on the underwear you’re using and the bacteria which you already have, which are the opportunistic ones. There are some certain occasions where your vagina odor can change:

  • After you’ve had a run or some other activity which ended in excessive sweat, your vagina can get that musky odor from sweat.
  • When you’re having your period, your vagina can have a heavier odor to it, due to the blood excretion and the iron from the blood.
  • When you take a shower, it is more likely that your vagina will not have any scent to it, since you’ve washed and cleaned all the residues and the pheromones which were excreted. This certainly does not last for long.
  • If you’ve had an intercourse, your vagina can get a bleach-like odor, especially when it gets mixed with a sperm after which it gets a stronger smell.
  • It can be due to a forgotten tampon inside a vagina which also can smell some like the menstrual odor, but stronger.
  • Trichomoniasis or a yeast infection can smell like a malt beer.

When Does Vagina Smell Like Fish?

One of the possible causes of the fishy odor that comes from your vagina can be a bacteria infection or bacterial vaginosis. This is a condition which happens when the anaerobic or pathogenic bacteria overwhelm the opportunistic bacteria in your vaginal region, which lead to a balance disruption. This is possible for women in all age, but especially in women which are more sexually active and are having more partners. Other than a fish odor, bacterial vaginosis can be accompanied with a white discharge coming from your vagina, itchiness, redness, irritation, and pain when having sex. If you notice that you have any of these signs, you should consult your doctor for a proper treatment. It is important to diagnose the bacteria vaginosis in order to start a therapy.

What To Do?

The first thing you should do is make an appointment at your doctor’s office. Your gynecologist will examine your pelvis but may also take a sample of your vaginal discharge to identify the bacteria if it’s the cause. Gardnella vaginalis is the bacteria which often grows and causes thin discharge with a fishy smell. It is easily treated with antibiotics, so it is important to start using some of the drugs your doctor prescribes you.

  • Do not douche your vagina or insert any oils, perfumes, or soaps. This will not get rid of the infection if it’s the cause, and if it’s not, you should accept your vagina smell because that’s the way it’s supposed to smell like.
  • You should start with a proper hygiene which will get rid of all the sweat and bad odor. Clean your external parts (vulva and labia) with some mild soap which has a natural pH range.
  • If you’re having some food which may be odorous, you can cut those to see if it gets better.
  • You should not wait for the condition to subside because it needs treatment for this to happen. If you’re pregnant, you’re increasing the risk of miscarriage or an early delivery.
  • If you’re having bacteria infection after a surgery such as hysterectomy or C-section, the infection can spread to the pelvis causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • If you’re sexually active, you will be more prone to sexually transmitted diseases due to a pH disbalance and bacteria surrounding.

When taking the meds your doctor prescribed you, you have to complete the treatment and not to end when you notice an improvement. It is important to finish the session in order to kill all the pathogenic bacteria and even to take some probiotics to restore the normal bacteria balance. A doctor may prescribe you vaginal cream, gel or medicine which you can take oral or place it in your vagina.


  • The hygiene is the key and try to minimize the soaps and the pads having strong scents with improper pH levels. It can irritate the vagina and cause a pH disbalance.
  • Don’t deodorize your vagina. This can kill the opportunistic bacteria in your vagina, which can increase the risk of getting bacteria vaginosis.
  • Limit your partner number and don’t do unprotected intercourse.


    • It might not be anything to worry about. If so, it wouldn’t need treatment. If you have a yeast infection or a similar infection, you can go to your doctor to be diagnosed. There are also over-the-counter medications that are available if you do have a yeast infection.

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