Home Women's HealthWomen's sexual health Bad vaginal odor: causes and treatment

Bad vaginal odor: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on
Bad vaginal odor

The vagina has a very characteristic smell that, under normal circumstances, is not unpleasant. However, some alterations in the woman’s body or certain infections can cause essential changes in the environment of the intimate area and cause a foul vaginal odor. This condition does not represent a significant health problem, but it is necessary to know its cause to treat the disease and thus eliminate the fetid odor in the vagina.

Hygiene, sexual intercourse, use of condoms, hormonal changes, and some medications are factors related to changes in the vagina that can cause a foul smell. To learn more about this topic, we invite you to continue reading the following FastlyHealarticle about vaginal odor: causes and treatment.

Causes of vaginal odor

It is essential to remember that the vagina has a very characteristic odor that can vary depending on the menstrual cycle phase in which the woman is. For example, during the days close to ovulation, the aroma may be similar to yogurt’s lactic acid. Also, excessive sweating from exercise can cause the vagina to smell much more substantial than usual. However, when the aroma is stinky, it is usually associated with the following causes :

Intimate hygiene

Lack of personal hygiene favors the proliferation of bacteria and microorganisms that can alter the smell of the vagina. Likewise, excessive hygiene can also affect the vaginal flora, eliminating good bacteria that protect the intimate area from infections and increasing the number of harmful bacteria. The ideal is to maintain daily hygiene using a personal soap with a neutral pH since other types of lotions can cause irritations and infections.

Sexual intercourse

Although very rare, it is possible that the composition of male semen can alter the pH of the vagina, making it much easier to contract any intimate infection.

Excess humidity

Humidity provides the ideal environment for bacteria and microorganisms to reproduce more efficiently; therefore, spending a long time wearing wet clothing such as bathing suits can alter the bacterial flora and generate conditions that cause vaginal odor.


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by infection with a parasite. The condition usually does not present symptoms until 28 days after intercourse. It manifests itself by forcing a foul vaginal odor, greenish discharge, painful urination, pain during intercourse, and itching inside and outside the vagina. If any of these symptoms occur, it is essential to see a doctor promptly to prevent the infection from worsening or spreading.

Vaginosis bacteriana:

It is the most common cause of vaginal odor. It is an infection caused by a significant increase in unhealthy bacteria compared to the number of healthy bacteria. The condition is associated with excess humidity, excess or lack of hygiene, use of douches, use of intimate products with aroma, and flavored condoms. The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis let you quickly recognize this infection:

  • White or gray vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor similar to that of fish
  • Burning to urination
  • Itching inside and outside the vagina

Going to the doctor is essential to diagnose and treat this disease.

Yeast infection

Like bacteria, fungi can cause infections such as vaginal yeast infection caused by the microorganism Candida albicans. Candidiasis is the most common yeast infection and is associated with the exact causes of bacterial vaginosis or any action that affects vaginal pH. This condition causes thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, itching in and out of the vagina, redness of the vulvar skin, and burning with urination.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

It is an infection that can lodge in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. It can be caused by an untreated sexually transmitted disease that allows bacteria to travel into the female reproductive system. During childbirth, abortion, IUD insertion, or any other intervention, there may be a risk of bacteria entering these organs and causing pelvic inflammatory disease.

Treatment of vaginal odor

The treatment of vaginal odor will depend exclusively on the cause associated with discomfort. Some ways to treat this symptom are:

  • Intimate hygiene: daily grooming is essential to eliminate vaginal odor. However, its abuse can also be harmful. Therefore, it is advisable to rinse the vagina once a day using a special neutral pH soap for the intimate area that does not contain any fragrance. Likewise, personal deodorants, douches, scented lubricants, and any other fragranced product can alter the vaginal flora making the environment conducive to bacteria and fungi.
  • Yeast infections: candidiasis and other vaginal infections caused by fungi are not treated with antibiotics. They are fought using vaginal ovules or antifungal creams that allow to eliminate the yeast and stop the symptoms of the infection. Treatment should generally be carried out for seven consecutive days. In cases of very advanced illness, the doctor can prescribe a pill that is taken only once and order the use of topical medicines for 14 days.
  • Bacterial vaginosis: Like any infection caused by bacteria, bacterial vaginosis is treated using oral and topical antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that must be treated very thoroughly. For this reason, it is essential to follow the treatment to the letter to eliminate all unhealthy bacteria correctly.
  • Trichomoniasis: this sexually transmitted disease suggests that both men and women take antibiotics to eliminate the parasite and stop the symptoms of the infection. The use of condoms is beneficial to prevent the spread of this disease.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: to treat this condition, it is necessary to apply an intravenous antibiotic and continue treatment with oral antibiotics. If the disease is very advanced, hospitalization may be required. If the cause of the pelvic inflammatory disease is a sexually transmitted disease, it will be necessary for both men and women to receive treatment.

Treatment of vaginal odor

Tips to avoid vaginal odor

  • Using condoms is the best tool to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that can cause vaginal infections.
  • Consuming yogurt helps to maintain the vaginal flora in its ideal state.
  • The vagina should be rinsed only with soap and water special for the intimate female area.
  • It is essential to avoid using very tight clothing and underwear made of a material such as silk since they increase sweating in the intimate parts.
  • Bringing a skimpy swimsuit to the beach is very useful to avoid excessive moisture in the vagina.
  • The use of sprays, fragrances, and powders is not recommended for intimate hygiene.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Bad vaginal odor: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.

You may also like

Leave a Comment