Causes of vaginal odour

Causes of vaginal odour

Smelling good comes hand in hand with feeling fresh. That is why it is one of the top things that women need to feel good about on a daily basis. Body odour is often associated with poor health and hygiene. However, the definition of ‘good’ can be a confusing one, especially when it comes to vaginal smell. The vagina, a self-cleaning, intelligent part of the body, has a distinct smell of its own. It has a pleasant and subtle combination of sourness and mustiness. But when your vagina starts to smell off, that’s when you should be worried. An overpowering vaginal odour might mean health problems.

Causes of Vaginal Odour

Let’s take a quick look at the causes of vaginal odour –

Sexual Intercourse

During sexual intercourse, especially without protection, there’s a mix of bodily fluids, and the semen can change the pH level of your vagina. In addition, you can also suffer from light bleeding as a result of small cuts or tears due to vigorous movement or because of vaginal dryness, during intercourse. Both of these can lead to a coppery smell in your vagina.

Vaginal Bleeding

Sometimes, remnants of the menstrual blood often stay trapped in the vagina, and this gives off a coppery smell. However, this smell goes away once your period is over, as the blood gets washed off eventually. As mentioned above, vaginal bleeding can also be caused during intercourse. But, if you notice bleeding without a cause, get yourself checked immediately.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis means there’s an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina, and the pH level is beyond 4.8, causing an infection. It is a common form of vaginal infection that causes a fishy smell. Along with the odour, you get itchiness, burning sensation during urination, and thick discharge. BV often caused by scented vaginal products, and can be cured with antibiotics.

Urine Buildup

Very often, you may get a buildup of urine in the vulvar area. This can lead to a smell of bleach or ammonia. This is because urine contains urea, which is a byproduct of ammonia. Usually, it goes away when you wash yourself with water. It is to be remembered that if your urine smells strongly of ammonia, it could be a sign of dehydration or some other form of health problem.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases, caused by the microorganisms that move from one person to another during sexual intercourse, can often cause a foul smell. STIs also come with other symptoms, such as itchiness, painful urination, foul-smelling discharge, etc. In trichomoniasis, the symptoms are often not experienced, while in case chlamydia or gonorrhea, the symptoms are strong.


There are other simpler causes of vaginal odour, as well. It could simply be because of the underwear that’s trapping all the sweat and discharge. Sometimes, wearing the same tampon or sanitary napkin for too long can also give off a foul smell. But if it’s not one of the external reasons, and your vagina starts to give off a strong smell, you need to go to a doctor, especially if it is accompanied by itchiness, rashes, pain, swelling, change of colour in the discharge, etc.

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