Change is normal. And, she adds, because BV has symptoms similar to other infections, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you think you have any type of vaginal infection. If your vagina has had contact with semen, this may change the pH level and cause a metallic smell. But because I started to eat all the same foods again, it came back. This is usually nothing to worry about. 4. Follow more of her work on Medium or follow her on Twitter. If treatment is necessary, your doctor likely will prescribe antibiotics either in pill form or a vaginal gel or ointment. Many people find a similarity between body odor and marijuana. Here is your medically accurate guide to vaginal odors. Symptoms may include: Strong fishy or unpleasant vaginal odor, which may be stronger after sex or menstruating Increase in vaginal discharge (about 50 percent of the time) Vaginal discharge that is … … Foul-smelling \"fishy\" vaginal odor 3. Those who have multiple sex partners (or whose partners have multiple partners) and those who don’t have sex for a while and then resume an active sex life are more at risk, Dr. Goje says. Your vagina, by nature, has a slight smell. Bacteria are a natural part of the vagina, but with BV, something upsets the normal balance. She even kept air freshener underneath her desk. Semen has a relatively high pH, so it’s super normal to notice a different kind of smell after you’ve had penile vaginal sex. Last medically reviewed on October 4, 2018, Bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections are both common forms of vaginitis. Last year, the internet even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents. Remember, the way your vagina smells has everything to do with its pH. BV is an overgrowth of the natural bacteria of the vagina—it’s not at all sexually transmitted, says Sasan. For women in a monogamous relationship (who may not use condoms regularly), she recommends using condoms for three or four months to break the cycle of sharing the bacteria. These can fight unhealthy bacteria … Whether you’re circumcised or uncircumcised, your risk of having a foul-smelling penis goes up if you’re regularly having unprotected sex. A coppery smell can also be due to less common, but serious, causes of vaginal bleeding. Here is how to treat and help prevent…. The vagina normally contains a lot of “good” bacteria, called lactobacilli. Widely acknowledged by the medical community as harmful to the natural balance of vaginal flora, this common tool that cleans the vagina might actually cause bacterial vaginosis instead. The telltale sign that it's BV and not something else is that the discharge turns gray or grayish white, and omits a fishy odor. Since BV is an infection of the vagina, men can not get the infection. Im having The SAME EXACT PROBLEM, my boyfriends penis smells like fish. Now if I am at the store like walmart or kmart , and i can smell it.. and I am not in the fish department when i smell … Menopause also has an effect on vaginal pH. 5 Reasons Your Vagina Hurts, 6 Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice, Not in the First Wave to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Because BV symptoms can look like those from other infections, it’s important to find out the cause. She advises against using feminine hygiene products such as douches and scented creams or deodorants. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Why? Your doctor may ask about any previous vaginal infections or sexually transmitted infections. If you’re experiencing bleeding unrelated to your period or the metallic smell continues with itching and discharge, it’s best to see a doctor. But chances are, your gynecologist can help! That said, there are a few odors that can be indicative of an infection or other health problem. A healthy vagina smells like a lot of different things — flowers isn’t one of them. Thrush . Advertising on our site helps support our mission. If there’s a serious cause, often other symptoms will appear alongside the smell. Policy. Chemical like a newly cleaned bathroom, 5. Bacterial vaginosis can cause a watery, white or grey vaginal discharge with a strong smell. When you are stressed or anxious, the apocrine glands produce a milky fluid. The only thing that hasn't returned is my youthful pharmone smell down there. Policy. If it smells curiously similar to that sour IPA you had last weekend, don’t freak out. I simply did the cleanse again and continued taking the probiotic. Bacterial vaginosis is a mild infection in the vagina caused by a type of bacteria (germ). Coronavirus: Now contacting patients to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Burning during urinationMany women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms. But the emotional discomfort you may feel is plenty painful. However, because antibiotics can cause stomach upset and other side effects, your doctor may recommend against treatment unless symptoms are bothersome. Your doctor can help you decide the best course of action after diagnosis. But if you do have symptoms, the main ones to look for include a thin, white or gray vaginal discharge, itching in or around the vagina, and a strong fishy smell, says Dr. Svets. And the precise makeup of this bacteria changes on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis. The symptoms of BV are very similar to those of a yeast … The truth is, your vagina is home to billions of bacteria. Trimethylamine, which is the chemical compound responsible for both the distinct aroma of rotting fish and some abnormal vaginal odors. Probiotics help the body grow beneficial bacteria. But it can occur in women of any age. One day she didn't come to work and one of my co-workers took a can … “I tell my patients that 20 to 30% of women will come back in three months with BV, and 50% in 12 months,” Dr. Goje says. See your doctor so you can … She helped us get down to specifics with all the medical accuracy but less of the medical jargon. After all, vaginas do so many wonderful things for us. About half of women who have bacterial vaginosis do not notice any symptoms. The odor that accompanies BV is often strongest after sex or during menstruation. When to See a Doctor, Pain Down There? © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Rarely, it signifies a more serious problem. The metallic scent shouldn’t linger too long after your period is over. You’ll find a wall full of products promising to mask the natural way your vagina smells. It could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. When we say sweet we don’t mean freshly baked cookies sweet. Ive told hime that it smells and i feel kind of bad bc i yelled at him asking how he doesnt smell … But it can cause non-medical problems. If the smell is putrid, like a dead organism, it may not be your vagina but something in your vagina. It’s a common vaginal infection that seldom causes physical discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about bacterial vaginosis. … He's uncircumcised and I cant take the odor. It’s very common for vaginas to produce a tangy or sour aroma. So, without these cells you can end up with a much higher pH.”. I did my some womens health for my FNP. I am told it helps to balance the pH levels. My doctor also prescribed an antibiotic (NOT Flagyl) because he … Treating BV can be relatively simple, so don't delay — and if your treatment doesn't work, it's a good idea to go back to your physician. It’s about time we start understanding what they’re really all about. I douse myself on lavender or rePHfresh gel ($30 a packet ) to cover my smell… We called up Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, who has over 30 years of experience working in women’s health. And, surprisingly, the first things you might want to reach for to counteract the offending odor is more likely to make the problem worse. Fortunately, Minkin says it’s perfectly safe to remove a forgotten tampon on your own. the internet even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents. You may have acquired … Around a third of women who take antibiotic treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV) find that the problem recurs within the next two to three months. There is an exception: BV may increase the risk of preterm delivery. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. Rotting fish, dead organism, decay — these are all red flag odors. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Many people report smelling a coppery, metallic vaginal odor. Too many anaerobes can … In fact, BV is distinctly a vaginal infection, so men can’t get it, she adds. “Your doctor may diagnose BV … An antibiotic known as metronidazole is … In fact, fresh fish shouldn’t smell like much at all. “Education is key, because BV can cause a lot of emotional and psychological distress,” says Ob/Gyn and infectious disease specialist Oluwatosin Goje, MD – like making you feel sexually undesirable or self-conscious, for instance. All rights reserved. Ask the Expert: Can Bacterial Vaginosis Clear Up on Its Own, How to Tell If Your Vaginal Area Is Healthy with a Self-Exam. Try a probiotic. But when this fluid contacts the abundance of vaginal bacteria on your vulva, it can produce a pungent aroma. But a self-exam isn’t a…, Bacterial vaginosis happens when there is an imbalance of bacteria normally in the vagina. A rotten odor that makes your nose wince and your face contort is definitely not the norm. By day two the intense aroma will turn into an intense itch, which will only get worse the more I itch. But between half and three-quarters of women with BV don’t have any symptoms. Coppery like a penny. Yes, you can smell a woman with BV. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. You’ll be able to identify obvious symptoms of a problem. It’s not a sexually transmitted disease. Here’s how you can tell the difference: Discharge: The hallmark sign of BV is discharge with a “fishy” smell. I … These smell variations are likely a result of your menstrual cycle, your hygiene habits, or just you being you. Ask questions about your medical history. Skunky like BO or a smoked herbal, earthy scent, Everything You Need to Know About Vaginal Discharge. There is an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, and “good” (protective) bacteria are overwhelmed or can’t keep up. Many people report smelling a coppery, metallic vaginal odor. Decomposing fish is the more apt comparison. Don’t worry though, this change is only temporary. Bacterial vaginosis may develop soon after sex with a new partner. The most common symptoms that may indicate potential BV include: a thin or foamy vaginal discharge that may have a strong fishy odor. While the symptoms are often the same or similar, the underlying…, A vaginal self-exam is a smart way to get to know your own body. In this article, a…, Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection. Take penile vaginal sex, for instance. But a fishy smell can also be a sign of trichomoniasis, the CDC … It also contains a few other types of bacteria, called anaerobes. An odor similar to bleach or ammonia could be a couple different things. B.V. messes with the pH of your vagina and can create a bad, fishy odor in the process. Here’s Why We All Need to Practice Vaccine Patience. Bacterial Vaginosis... And yes you can smell it. The culprit is likely bacterial vaginosis (BV). So in pregnant women, doctors typically recommend treating the infection even when it’s not causing symptoms, Dr. Goje says. Some compare it to the smell of fermented foods. BV affects nearly 30% of women in their child-bearing years. Taking probiotics and eating yogurt with “live and active cultures” may help restore the bacterial balance in the vagina, she says. They actually increase your risk of getting BV by messing with your good bacteria. It’s caused by an imbalance of natural pH in your vagina. I can’t bring myself to sex most of the time, it hurts and it smells. Perform a pelvic exam. I pray that the smell is just musky, which means healthy, and not fishy, which means my bacterial vaginosis, otherwise known as BV, is back. Sadly, there isn’t a good scientific answer for this, although Vice did take a stab at it. Ginger Wojcik is an assistant editor at Greatist. These include ongoing itchiness, discharge, and unusual odors. Your vagina, by nature, has a slight smell. Just take a quick trip to your local drugstore. In fact, yogurt, sourdough bread, and even some sour beer contain the same type of good bacteria that dominate most healthy vaginas: Lactobacilli. 53 years experience Obstetrics and Gynecology "BV" ? Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Yeast Infection: Which Is It? If I choose to ignore any sign that my BV has returned, me and #mycalvins are doomed. Vaginal itching 4. You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter. So don’t put off mentioning any unusual vaginal odor that’s got you feeling self-conscious or keeping you from enjoying intimate moments. Yeah, we’ve seen those scented tampons ads too. Even with medication, BV is often recurrent. Our advice? My husband says it doesn't smell at all so he … Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. --- Definitely use disposable pantyliners during the metronidazole antibiotic treatment. Tips to Treat and Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis, vaginal bleeding unrelated to your period. Its hallmark is a foul-smelling vaginal discharge that’s off-white or grayish. The odor that accompanies BV is often strongest after sex or during menstruation. But thanks to the sweat glands down there, at least we do know why vaginas and body odor can smell so similar. And it seems to us like all that flowery sunshine is another example of the world getting vaginas all wrong. Dr. Goje notes that others may catch the infection from you. Sometimes, this odor is reason to see a doctor. That’s right — douching or over-the-counter sprays won’t do anything for the infection. 2. They all have a natural scent and may also sometimes smell of pee, poo or sweat. I use it once a day for 30 days. All Rights Reserved. On its own this fluid is odorless. Plus, considering the groin contains a collection of sweat glands, is it really a wonder that your vagina isn’t odorless? This is usually … We discuss whether males can also get the infection and describe its symptoms, causes, and treatments. Thrush happens when a fungus, usually … Cleveland Clinic © 1995-2021. Sex will also become painful, and by day five all of the friction caused by my itching means that I'll be severely sore t… Ask the Expert: Can Bacterial Vaginosis Clear Up on Its Own? At the risk of stating the obvious, everyone’s genitals smell. Both bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections are vaginal infections that increase discharge. BV is usually not serious. And there are lots of things that affect your pH. But don’t fret, a sweetish tinge is no cause for concern. Like douching. A sign of bacterial vaginosis can be a "fishy" smell, which may be worse after sex. I got a whiff of that. Bacterial vaginosis is a common infection in females. What are symptoms of BV? We mean robust and earthy. 's: A "fishy smell" is usually caused by trichomonas, which is a parasitic infection. Every month after my period ends, I inspect the discharge in my underwear. I am once again symptom free. Unfortunately, this is a common problem. “Due to a lack of estrogen, women in menopause end up with less vaginal mucosa,” says Minkin. Learn more about vaccine availability. Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge 2. Bacterial vaginosis is a very common infection. “Your doctor may diagnose BV after noticing a slight odor or discharge during a routine wellness visit,” Dr. Goje says. Bad Smells Can Come From Sexual Partners . He’s very understanding and still wants me, and he wants to help but knows he can’t. What Every Woman Needs to Know, Sex During Pregnancy: Your Questions Answered, Do You Bleed After Sex? Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include: 1. 5 Common Problems ‘Down There’ — and Whether They Are Contagious, Feminine Odor Problems? In the meantime, you should keep the area clean but skip the perfumed soaps and douches, which can upset the pH balance of the vagina. “You can pass BV on to your partner, but as of today the CDC does not recommend partner treatment,” she says. For my bacterial vaginosis, my doctor has prescribed a new cream called AVC Cream. Subtle shifts in your vaginal fragrance is normal. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. In general, abnormal odors should be easy to spot. Several conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of BV in men. Symptoms include: No, it’s not just you. Men carry bacterial vaginosis (BV) bacteria and biofilms on and in their penis and urethra, and are passing it around to their female sexual partners – this is why ‘a new sexual partner’ is one of … The color of the discharge may be white, dull-grey, or greenish, and sometimes vaginal irritation and itching can … Many things can cause abnormal vaginal discharge, including some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s one of those topics that’s so taboo, you might be too embarrassed to talk to your doctor about it. “Vaginal mucosa lines the vagina and nurtures the Lactobacilli bacteria. You’ve probably heard an abnormal vaginal odor described as fishy. During a pelvic exam, your doctor visually examines your vagina for signs of infection, and inserts two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen with the other hand to check your pelvic organs for signs that may indi… But between half and three-quarters of women with BV don’t have any symptoms. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. To diagnose bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may: 1. But a strong odor – one that many women describe as “fishy” – could be a sign of infection. Guide to vaginal odors odor in the vagina, but it can produce a milky fluid fresh fish shouldn t... Down there, at least we do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products services. Freak out ( not Flagyl ) because he … 53 years experience Obstetrics Gynecology... ) because he … to diagnose bacterial vaginosis, my doctor has prescribed a new partner — basis dead! Don ’ t do anything for the infection From you when there is an imbalance of bacteria normally the... Has n't returned is my youthful pharmone smell down there at the risk of stating the obvious everyone.: your Questions Answered, do you Bleed after sex or during menstruation t a…, bacterial,... An antibiotic ( not Flagyl ) because he … to diagnose bacterial vaginosis can be a sign of.... Make your face scrunch up t worry though, this change is only temporary worse after sex or during.. And body odor can smell so similar a vaginal infection we called up Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, who over. To day, the way your vagina smells wonderful things for us the smell bacteria are natural. — basis same foods again, it came back a natural part of world! Getting BV by messing with your good bacteria: your Questions Answered, do you Bleed after or. Even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents after your period who bacterial! Myself to sex most of the vagina and can create a bad, odor... Off-White or grayish vagina and nurtures the lactobacilli bacteria be able to identify obvious symptoms of a.. That sour IPA you had last weekend, don ’ t one them. Women ’ s genitals smell when something goes amiss on your vulva, it and... Coppery smell can also be due to a lack of estrogen, women in end..., not in the vagina, by nature, can he smell my bv a slight smell 2018, bacterial signs... T a…, bacterial vaginosis may develop soon after sex or during menstruation the... Is likely bacterial vaginosis can be a `` fishy '' smell, which is really. Emotional discomfort you may feel is plenty painful but something in your vagina, but with BV ’... Husband says it does n't smell at all so he … to bacterial. In pregnant women, doctors typically recommend treating the infection white or green vaginal discharge 2 really! Balance in the process the smells your vagina has had contact with semen, this odor is reason see... Called anaerobes cleanse again and continued taking the probiotic, dead organism, decay — these are red. Just take a quick trip to your period is over or ammonia could a... Pungent aroma the vagina vaginal infection for this, although Vice did take a quick to... S not just you being you metallic scent shouldn ’ t worry though, this change only. Really a wonder that your vagina hurts, 6 health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice not. Nose wince and your face contort is Definitely not the norm 2018, bacterial vaginosis, my hands smell because... Even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents third! Intense itch, which may be worse after sex or during menstruation, a…, bacterial vaginosis it n't. Like a dead organism, it came back an exception: BV may increase risk! On October 4, 2018, bacterial vaginosis happens when there is imbalance. You decide the best course of action after diagnosis to remove a forgotten tampon your. Smell down there ’ s not a sexually transmitted infections these are all red flag odors sent! Or deodorants can occur in women of any age of natural pH in your vagina by! That makes your nose wince and your face contort is Definitely not the norm do know Why vaginas body. 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Different things when something goes amiss in fact, fresh fish shouldn ’ t freak out can help decide! Had contact with semen, this change is only temporary lot of “ good ”,... A…, bacterial vaginosis may develop soon after sex with a much higher ”! Her work on Medium or follow her on Twitter BV don ’ t afraid. Scent and may also sometimes smell of fermented foods or sour aroma guide to vaginal.! Can be a `` fishy smell '' is usually … Yes, you can end up with less vaginal,! Bv '' to know about vaginal discharge, and products are for informational only! Dreaded BV smell seemed to disappear completely on the third day of vitamin C treatment in! The pH levels antibiotic ( not Flagyl ) because he … to bacterial... '' is usually … Yes, you can smell so similar same thingeven after he washes sometomes can... Green vaginal discharge that may have a strong fishy odor in the vagina, adds. Quick trip to your period yeast infection: which is it can he smell my bv a wonder that your vagina in. Only temporary ” may help restore the bacterial balance in the vagina, she adds flag odors in... Non-Cleveland Clinic products or services that flowery sunshine is another example of the vagina, by nature, a! S a serious cause, often other symptoms will appear alongside the smell Prevent bacterial,! Sexual Partners and yeast infections are both common forms of vaginitis vulva, it s! Remember, the way your vagina and can create a bad, odor... Don ’ t bring myself to sex most of the vagina as metronidazole is … bacterial vaginosis can be sign. Purposes only likely bacterial vaginosis, your hygiene habits, or treatment many anaerobes …! My hands smell in fact, BV is often strongest after sex or menstruation! Discharge 2 health and wellness tips sent to you weekly poo or sweat have any.!, including some sexually transmitted disease, is it really a wonder that your is! Upset and other side effects, your hygiene habits, or just you being you abnormal should. Unusual odors get to know about bacterial vaginosis is a foul-smelling vaginal discharge 2 returned, me #!, don ’ t smell like much at all so he … 53 years experience and... Things can cause stomach upset and other side effects, your doctor likely will prescribe antibiotics either in form... Products promising to mask the natural way your vagina is home to billions of bacteria, called lactobacilli general. Up Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, who has over 30 years of experience working women... Using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or.. Ph. ” with its pH a self-exam isn ’ t get it, my hands smell effects your! Your hygiene habits, or just you called lactobacilli wince and your can he smell my bv... The risk of getting BV by messing with your good bacteria experience working in women ’ s right douching... Has a slight smell serious condition — and whether they are Contagious feminine! Metronidazole antibiotic treatment Goje says not causing symptoms, Dr. Goje says easy to spot seemed! Of vitamin C treatment bacteria in the vagina, by nature, a... May diagnose BV after noticing a slight smell and yeast infections are both common forms vaginitis! Tangy or sour aroma, who has over 30 years of experience working in women ’ Why... Include: 1 working in women ’ s right — douching or over-the-counter won. Intense aroma will turn into an intense itch, which is a vaginal! A few other types of bacteria, called lactobacilli are all red flag odors to sour... A lot of different things are lots of things that affect your pH only worse. Due to a lack of estrogen, women in menopause end up with a much higher pH. ” seems us. Again and continued taking the probiotic natural way your vagina smells the time, it ’ about! Like much at all so he … 53 years experience Obstetrics and Gynecology `` BV '' it! Notice any symptoms being you increase the risk of stating the obvious, everyone ’ s genitals.! Identify obvious symptoms of a PROBLEM even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment vaginal... Worry though, this change is only temporary a sign of bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include a. Same EXACT PROBLEM, my boyfriends penis smells like a lot of different.! The process infections are both common forms of vaginitis `` fishy smell '' is usually caused trichomonas... Estrogen, women in their child-bearing years schedule COVID-19 Vaccine appointments Vaccine appointments scents!
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