Home Health Uncomplicate: Why Does Your Vagina Smell?

Uncomplicate: Why Does Your Vagina Smell?


Time and again we’ve been a little hesitant about asking questions about certain body parts. Why are my breasts a little wonky? Am I supposed to have a vaginal discharge? Why does my vagina smell?

But these are all extremely normal questions and we should encourage conversations like these to normalise them and make people realise that hey, you’re not the only one wondering why your body is doing this thing.

Smelly Vagina?

The fact of the matter is that while vaginas do have a type of smell, calling them smelly is a different ball game altogether.

Depending on what we eat, what we wear, our health and gland secretions, our bodies give out various types of odours. Just like your breath or sweat, vaginas also have a type of odour.

It is normal for vaginas to have an odour, even after you’ve just finished washing. A vagina has its own ecosystem with unique, odour-producing bacterial flora. So don’t be worried if you can smell something but are unable to pinpoint what it is.

What Are Vaginas Supposed To Smell Like?

The smell of your vagina will depend on your:

  • Hydration
  • Food intake
  • Overall health
  • Medication
  • Menstrual cycle

Your vagina can smell coppery, musky, meaty, tangy or fleshy. If you are on your period or have experienced light bleeding after sex, your vagina can also smell lightly metallic. If you can smell something bleachy, it can be attributed to a little bit of urine in your underwear or around your vulva.

If you have stronger than usual vaginal odour, it can also be due to your diet, sweating, douching, poor hygiene habits or hormonal changes.

Good bacteria in your vagina keeps it healthy by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other substances. It also helps maintain your vaginal pH balance, which is required to be a little acidic to avoid yeast infections and other bacteria.

All in all, these kinds of smells are entirely normal and you shouldn’t be worried about them.

When Is My Vaginal Odour Unhealthy?

If you notice a change in the smell of your vagina, or a drastically bad smell, you may want to contact your gynaecologist. If your vagina smells fishy or rotten like bad meat, it could be the signs of an infection. However, any health issue is always accompanied by other symptoms. Some signs to look out for –

  • Vaginal discharge of a strange colour or consistency
  • Bleeding that is not your period
  • Fever
  • Burning
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Vaginal swelling

How To Avoid Vaginal Odour?

If you think your vagina smells different than usual, and it is not accompanied by other symptoms of illness, you can probably fix the issue with a few lifestyle changes.

1. Bathe Regularly

Sometimes, all you need is a good, thorough bath!

The vaginal area, like other body parts, can accumulate sweat and dirt. By keeping clean and bathing regularly, you can wash off the external factors and leave yourself with the natural scent of your vagina.

If you don’t have time for a bath, take a cloth, dip it in warm water and clean your vulva and pubic mound.

2. Do Not Wash Inside Your Vagina

Vaginas have a self-cleaning mechanism, and as such, you do not need to wash inside the hole with water or soap. The vaginal canal can keep itself healthy, so remember to leave it alone when taking a bath.

Washing inside can lead to infections, especially when using scented soaps or a loofah. These infections are not only dangerous, but will most definitely affect your vaginal odour.

3. Check Your Products

Sometimes, switching hygiene products or cleaning products can affect the odour of your vagina too.

If you’ve recently changed body wash, detergent, toilet paper, underwear or even lube and condoms, it might be affecting your natural vaginal odour.

4. Drink Lots Of Water

We wish we were kidding, but water is the solution to so many problems!

Not only is it good for your skink, but it also helps your overall vaginal health by encouraging healthy sweating.  

5. Eat A Balanced Diet

What we eat directly affects the way our body responds in terms of odours. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and proteins gives off a softer scent compared to greasy food.

Some stronger smelling food like garlic, onion and asparagus can also lend to a stronger vaginal odour so you may want to reduce their frequency in your diet.

So, in short, unless your vagina is smelling rather off and is being accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you’re completely fine!

Don’t let the internet tell you that your vagina is supposed to smell like fruits or flowers, because at the end of the day, it’s just a body part and will smell like one too. 

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