There are a few different reasons why you may have a smelly discharge coming from your vagina, some of them serious, others not so much!
We’ll outline a few of the most common ones here including the following:
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Yeast Infection
- Foreign object in the vagina
- Normal vagina smells
Then, we’ll offer you our top 10 tips for dealing with smelly discharge. Keep on reading for all the details.
CAUSES OF SMELLY VAGINAL DISCHARGE
We’ll outline a few of the most common reasons why you might have a stinky vagina!
FISHY SMELL: BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS
The most common reason why people have smelly vaginal discharge is because of bacterial vaginosis (BV). It’s usually a greyish-white discharge that has a strong fishy smell. This condition is easy to clear up with some medication, but it does require a trip to the doctor.
It’s kind of like a yeast infection, but instead of an overgrowth of yeast, it’s related to too much bacteria.
Are there home remedies for fishy odor? Some people like to believe so. We don’t. A trip to your doctor will likely produce far better results for you if you do indeed have bacterial vaginosis.
At the very least, please go and get a proper diagnosis before treating yourself. Many people get confused between BV and a yeast infection, and the home remedy for the wrong condition can actually make things far worse for yourself.
SWEET, YEASTY SMELL: YEAST INFECTION
If you notice a sweet, yeasty smell that’s kind of like beer, or bread rising, then you may have a yeast infection. Yeast is what causes bread to rise, and it’s also what causes this smell.
Most people find that the smell from a yeast infection is not really a big deal. It’s just kind of like normal. What is bad is the thick, cottage-cheese like discharge that comes with it.
GREEN, YELLOW OR GREY DISCHARGE? IT’S PROBABLY AN STI
Another reason for smelly discharge is some kind of STI. In this case, the vaginal discharge will most often be yellow, grey or green. In some cases, it’ll smell pretty terrible and it will be obvious that something is wrong.
Trichomoniasis is the most common STI that can cause some foul-smelling discharge issues. It’ll definitely require a trip to the doctor for treatment, and a delay in doing this can cause some further problems.
A FOREIGN OBJECT LEFT IN THE VAGINA?
Finally, have your forgotten something in your vagina like a tampon or menstrual cup? Or, perhaps a condom has come off during sex and is still in your vagina? It won’t happen immediately, but over a few days.
Something left in your vagina can result in a smelly discharge. It can often be quite dark-coloured, and even appear to be black. Remove the object immediately, and consider checking in with your doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Some doctors (and other people) have described a tampon that’s been left in for way too long as smelling like “something dead!”
HAVE YOUR RECENTLY GIVEN BIRTH OR HAD SURGERY?
Sometimes foul-smelling discharge can be caused by a fistula. This is when there’s an abnormal connection between one organ and another structure. In this case, it might be the vagina and rectum or bladder.
If you notice a bleachy smell after sex, it may be because of condoms or lubrication. It’s not really anything to worry about it, but if you think it smells terrible, consider switching up your sex products.
You may also notice an odour after sex if you haven’t used a condom and your partner ejaculated inside of you. This is because of the semen.
URINARY INCONTINENCE, SWEATING, OR DIETARY PROBLEMS
Sometimes light incontinence, excessive perspiration, or farting can lead to what you might think of as smelly discharge. But, these things are actually caused by other bodily function and aren’t really related to your vagina.
Sometimes poor hygiene can lead to vaginal odour and discharge issues. This can sometimes happen in the elderly, or people who are bed-bound for some other reason.
Keep in mind that the vagina is self-cleaning and you don’t need to clean inside of it with anything. But do spray some water around that area when you take a shower.
Sometimes cancer can cause foul-smelling vaginal discharge. This is because of necrosis (death of tissues).
STRONG SMELLING VAGINA: SOMETIMES NORMAL
However, there may also be times throughout your menstrual cycle when your vagina has a strong, or musty smell to it. This is normal, and not really a cause for concern.
This musky smell happens because of the presence of bacteria, and high concentrations of sweat glands in that area.
METALLIC SMELL: ALSO NORMAL
My period blood smells like iron, is this a big deal? No!
During your period, you may notice a kind of metallic smell coming from your vagina. This is due to the iron in menstrual fluid and is totally normal, as long as it occurs during your period.