Vagina smell is one of those things we sometimes wonder but rarely speak up about. Why does my vagina smell? You might have asked yourself this question before, and for sure, odds are you have a certain kind of Eau de vagina going on at all times. But, it varies sometimes, and it’s also natural to get a little worried when that happens.
According to Jennifer Wider, M.D., a women’s health expert, vaginal smells can vary in women. “There’s not the same size fits all here,” she says. “There is also a wide range of normal.”
An assistant professor in clinical obstetrics & gynecology Jessica Shepherd, M.D., who is also the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology in The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, also agrees and says that vagina smell is all due to a combination of factors like genetics, some differences in how women produce discharges and even sweat, and also how your body metabolizes bacteria.
Although vaginal smell varies from woman to woman, there can also be a change throughout your menstrual cycle, Jennifer Wider says. You might also want to know when you’re supposed to know what you should be worried about and what’s actually normal. Here is a breakdown for better understanding:
Your Vagina is Probably Fine if…
It smells musty
Your vagina smell often changes after you have sex, Wider says. This usually happens when you have unprotected sex when your partner’s semen mix up with your natural scent creating an old basement-like odor. You should not stress out when this happens, it’s totally normal.
It smells sweet
This could be as a result of what you consume. “Sometimes certain changes in the food we eat can also contribute to the scent of vaginal discharge,” Shepherd says. Pineapple and citrus fruits are most notorious for this.
If it smells armpit-y
When you sweat during workouts, some of that sweat can work its way into your vagina, which can create a sweaty-type smell, Wider says.
You Should Talk To Your Doctor if…
Your vagina smells a lot
When you become worried that someone will notice the stench level, then it’s probably time to visit your doctor. “The vagina smell that one woman has should not be overpowering,” Shepherd says.
It smells fishy
This could be a sign of an infection like a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, or even a forgotten tampon, Jennifer Wider says. If the smell persists and is strong, you should call your doctor.
It smells like bread
When your vagina smells yeast-y, it can be a sign of a yeast infection. Also, ensure to check your discharge too. If your discharges are more than usual or if it has a cottage cheese-like look, then you should get it checked out ASAP.
Lots of experts have stressed that it’s very normal for your vagina to smell on some level. But, when the vagina odor begins to give you concern, then it’s probably best to see your doctor.