Vaginal odor – do you know what it can tell us?

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Topics related to our biology are often taboo. For this very reason, it happens that not only teenagers but also adult women do not know when their own body gives them a warning signal. It is not worth treating your vagina lightly or pretending that everything is fine because you feel ashamed about possible problems

Vaginal infections can happen for a variety of reasons and should never be ignored. Would you ignore an abscessed wound or sprained ankle, for example? It is worth remembering that a gynecologist is a doctor like any other, and every person needs to take care of their entire body. Vaginal odor does not necessarily mean that you do not take care of hygiene properly, so do not be afraid of evaluation by the doctor, on the contrary! The fact that you report to your doctor or physician is commendable. Take care of your vagina, above all, by educating yourself in advance, so that you know which signals you should not ignore. What can unpleasant vaginal odour tell us … and what does it actually mean?

What does a healthy vagina mean?

If your vagina is healthy, the discharge should be rather odourless, or slightly acidic (depending on the presence of lactic acid in the mucus) and sticky, and its color should be transparent or white. It is important to remember that mucus changes depending on what phase of your cycle you are in. You will notice subtle differences in the appearance, smell and even… taste of your mucus. It should taste slightly salty and sour, but when you enter the fertile phase it becomes completely tasteless and on infertile days it becomes more sour than on other cycle days. But don’t take this as a calendar – your taste and smell are individual, depending not only on your health, but also on your diet, hygiene and medication.

Vaginal fishy smell

You may have heard this term used in an offensive context. However, fishy odor is not the natural smell of women’s mucus; on the contrary. The cause of fishy odor is a disruption in the bacterial flora of your vagina that has led to bacterial vaginitis (so-called bacterial vaginosis). Colloquially, we can say that there are good bacteria naturally found in your reproductive organs called lactobacilli, and bad pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, an excess of which leads to a disruption of your microflora. If you smell fishy, it’s also worth looking at your discharge. In a diseased state, they will be yellow or gray, quite watery and abundant

How do you prevent bacterial vaginosis? It can have really many causes, including poor hygiene of intimate places, smoking, weakened immunity, unhealthy diet, frequent vaginal irrigations, but also the use of jacuzzis and swimming pools. If symptoms occur, it is necessary to visit a gynecologist and use antibiotic therapy. You must also remember that no form of sex is allowed throughout the treatment period

Sour vaginal odor

If you smell an odor reminiscent of sour milk accompanied by green or yellow frothy discharge, it is likely that you have contracted a protozoan parasite, vaginal cysticercosis. This causes a disease known as vaginal trichomoniasis, in the case of which you should also visit a gynecologist as soon as possible, because it can only be cured with antibiotics. Other symptoms include burning sensations in the perineum, labia and sometimes even the thighs. There is also pain during urination and pain during sex. The most common cause is oral sex with an infected person – it is a purely sexually transmitted disease, which is why it is so important to use protection also during oral intercourse (the most convenient solution, if you are not sure of your partner’s health, is to use latex wipes, a good alternative is also to cut the condom). For this reason, you should inform the people with whom you have sex – they must also be treated as soon as possible. You yourself should refrain from intercourse during this time.

Yeasty vaginal odour

Tinea capitis is most easily recognised by a yeasty smell that you might associate with fresh bread or beer. The fungi that cause it occur naturally in the vagina, but they are not harmful because of your body’s natural protective barrier. However, if this fails, unpleasant symptoms can appear, and yeasty smell is just one of them. You may also experience itching, redness and burning in your vagina. Your discharge becomes white and thick, which is especially easy to notice because you will be urinating more often during ringworm. What could have caused it? Contrary to appearances, there are many possibilities and there is often little we can do about them. For example, antibiotic therapy can contribute to the establishment of yeast in your body. Why? Antibiotics can kill not only the bad bacteria, but also the good bacteria that protect your vagina. It has also been proven that you are more likely to get ringworm during pregnancy or when you have diabetes. Additionally, a stressful lifestyle, tight underwear made of synthetic materials and improper hygiene of intimate places have an impact. However, it is worth stopping at this aspect. Improper does not mean too infrequent. Too frequent hygiene of intimate places, using improper cleansers, also kills bacterial flora. Remember to use friendly, mild cleansers with low pH.

Read also What does the color of menstrual blood say about our health?

Main photo: Cliff Booth/

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