All vaginas are different and unique. However, they are united by the fact that every woman experiences odors from the vagina. In most cases, this is not a concern because the smell depends on the course. The light smell is a completely natural part of being a woman. But for obvious reasons, many of us are concerned that the smell from the vagina may mean that this is an underlying medical condition.
These concerns are sometimes justified because certain odors from the vagina indicate that it is time to make an appointment with your gynecologist. But sometimes it is difficult to distinguish when the smell is completely normal and when it is time to visit your doctor. In this article, we gathered six causes of the strange vaginal smell you should be aware of.
During or after menstruation, the vagina may smell like metal. This odor appears because of iron from the blood and destruction of tissues in the uterus. When there is blood in the vaginal canal, this disorder releases the metallic smell. However, if you have noticed a metallic odor that is accompanied by a bloody discharge after sex, it can be a sign of a certain underlying condition. Large uterine fibroids, cervical polyps, and cancer can lead to bleeding after sexual intercourse. That’s why it is essential to visit your gynecologist to perform a pelvic examination and additional tests.
The vagina is in close proximity to the groin, where many sweat glands are located. This means that the vagina can smell like the odor of the armpits or even have a more complex smell when sweat mixes with vaginal discharge.
Sweat glands can secrete fluids that smell like body odor or have an unpleasant “dirty” smell. You should also know that there are two types of sweat glands, apocrine and eccrine glands. The first glands are located in the armpits. They produce a milky fluid, it usually doesn’t smell. However, the vagina contains a lot of vaginal bacteria, that can mix with this milky fluid and get an unpleasant odor.
Your vagina contains a lot of different bacteria. Lactobacilli are one of them. These bacteria can cause a strange vaginal odor (similar to a fermented cheese). However, you should know that lactobacilli are good bacteria. They reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the vagina. The unpleasant vaginal odor can appear because the mucous that forms is acidic.
Despite the fact that bacterial vaginosis is a quite common condition, it is complicated and poorly understood. Bacterial vaginosis is often accompanied by a “fishy” smell. Except for the odor, the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis usually include vaginal itching and abnormal discharge (most often they are gray with green hue). If you experience any of these symptoms, it's high time to make an appointment with your doctor.
Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that means dysfunction of the vaginal flora. This is not an infection that is caused by one foreign bacterium. A decrease in the number of lactobacilli ( that produce hydrogen peroxide) results in the overgrowing of other anaerobic species.
Some women tend to use home remedies and procedures. The most common mistake is to perform douching. This procedure is harmful because aggressive chemicals kill beneficial bacteria. This may lead to bacterial vaginosis. It is also important to know that women with bacterial vaginosis are more prone to get a sexually transmitted infection.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that requires timely and proper treatment. This condition also creates a fishy odor. The most common symptoms of trichomoniasis include yellow-green foamy or bloody vaginal discharge, genital burning, and pain during sex.
If you forgot to take off a tampon or left a condom in the vagina for a long period of time, it can cause a rotting smell. First of all, you should try to remove the foreign material yourself if you can get it. If it is impossible, you can always ask your gynecologist to help you. There is no reason to shy because your health is more important for your doctor than any embarrassing thing.