Medically reviewed by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH — created by Gabrielle Kassel on march 27, 2020

Repeat after us: Every vagina has a smell. Yup, every solitary one.

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“Because vulva owner aren’t taught their vagina will (and should) have some odor, plenty of feel self-conscious once their vaginas do have actually an odor,” says Dr. Jackie Walters, OBGYN and author that THE QUEEN V: every little thing You must Know about Intimacy and also Down-There-Health-Care.

But there’s really no have to be shy about it. Vaginas smell the way they execute for a reason.

Why? Usually, bacteria.

No have to squirm, these bacteria space the great kind. “ aid the vagina preserve the environment it demands to remain healthy,” states Dr. Walters.

And due to the fact that the an exact makeup of bacteria in the vagina is constantly an altering based ~ above the food girlfriend eat, your hygiene habits, expression cycle, as soon as you last had actually sex, etc., it’s typical for smells — from strength to type — to adjust quite a bit.

Although many scents no something to worry about, occasionally it does warrant a pilgrimage to the doc. Review on to discover why you’re recording that whiff, and if there’s anything you need to do about it.

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Within a offered month (heck, even with a given day!) the means your vagina smells can adjust quite a bit. Here’s a malfunction of all the healthy and balanced variations.

Zippy or zesty

What can reason it: Bacteria, specifically Lactobacilli.

“The pH that a healthy vagina is nice acidic — normally a pH between 3.8 and 4.5 — many thanks to the existence of Lactobacilli, the good, or security bacteria,” explains Sherry A. Ross, MD, OB/GYN and also author that She-ology and She-ology, The She-quel: Let’s continue the Conversation.

The visibility of this Lactobacilli, which are the exact same strain the bacteria discovered in fermented foodstuffs like yogurt and sourdough bread, room what make the vagina odor a small zippy or zesty, she says.

But so lengthy as the odor isn’t so solid it provides your challenge wince, that no reason for concern.


What can cause it: Blood, favor your period.

“During your menstrual bike a coppery odor is nothing to concern about. It is what blood smells like because of its iron content,” states Dr. Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To normally Restore your Rhythms, Hormones and also Happiness.

This scent may be an ext noticeable if you free bleed or stay pads, than if friend wear tampons or a menstrual cup.

However, if you’re no menstruating (or just finished menstruating), she proposal hitting up her gyno. “It’s not common, however it could indicate abnormal interior vaginal bleeding,” she says.


What can cause it: Condoms, lube, bacterial vaginosis.

There are a few reasons her bits can smell choose a just-cleaned lavatory.

“Usually, it’s due to the fact that you just used a condom, dentist dam, or lube that had chemicals in it,” claims Dr. Walters. So if girlfriend just had actually sex don’t freak out. In a few hours the odor should subside.

But if it’s to be a minute due to the fact that you provided a protective barrier or lube, you might have bacter vaginosis, a an extremely common and easy-to-clear-up infection led to by an overgrowth the not-so-good bacteria.

If so, Dr. Gersh recommends check in through a health care provider who can prescribe friend antibiotics.

Pungent and spicy

What can reason it: details strong foods, such together garlic, onions, and red meat.

Blame her last meal. “Pungent foods and also spices it seems to be ~ to take a rapid lane in our bodies v our human body (including vaginal) secretions, causing specifically intense smells under arms, ~ above the scalp, and in the genital area,” states Dr. Ross.

Foods she states may provide off a very Noticeable odor include:

garlic and onions turmeric and curryblue cheese and other fermented foodscruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and also asparagusvinegarred meat, liver, kidneys, seafood, and also fish oil

Mulch, weed, or dirt

What can cause it: Sweat.

Box smell earthy like BO? give thanks to your sweat glands.

Yup, periodically the odor isn’t gift emitted by the vagina in ~ all, but from the sweat glands follow me your inside thighs, bikini line, and also bum.

Most the the sweat glands approximately our bits are dubbed “apocrine sweat glands,” which relax sweat with a high protein and also lipid content. Follow to Dr. Gersh, it’s slightly stinkier 보다 the sweat exit from ours eccrine glands.

“In most situations a vulva owner go not need to be concerned about their odor or visit a doctor,” says Dr. Gersh. “But there are few scents that may suggest something else is going on through their quality health.”

Soggy bread

What can cause it: Yeast infection.

When yes sir an overgrowth of yeast, your coochie can smell prefer sourdough bread, wet pizza crust, or the bread aisle, i m sorry Dr. Gersh claims is a telltale authorize of a yeast infection.

If you doubt you can have a yeast infection, call up your healthcare provider. They’ll have the ability to prescribe either a prescription antifungal cream, ointment, oral tablet, suppository, or introduce an OTC option. Many yeast infections room cured within 1 come 3 days.

Sugary sweet

What can reason it: High glucose.

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If your vag smells much more candy-shop sweet than fruit-salad sweet, Dr. Gersh states it can indicate high glucose levels. “This is usual in folks v diabetes.”

If this smell persists and you have other threat factors connected with diabetes, it’s worth a checkup.


What can reason it: Trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis.

“A fishy odor constantly needs evaluation,” claims Dr. Gersh. “ almost always indicates an abnormal bacterial overgrowth, what is termed bacterial vaginosis.”

A fishy odor could likewise indicate the presence of a parasite called trichomoniasis. ICDYK: trichomoniasis is a completely curable sexuallytransfer infection once treated.

Rotten meat or garbage can

Why: forgotten tampon.

It’s more than likely not your actual vagina, according to Dr. Walters. “A pungent smell choose something passed away inside is practically 99 percent of the moment an old decaying maintained tampon,” she says. “I watch this at least once or double a month due to the fact that it is very common amongst menstruators.”

If you deserve to reach it, go ahead and also gently traction it out yourself. Otherwise, speak to up her gyno and ask for a same-day appointment.