Vaginal Odor

Woman with vaginal odor

Every woman’s vagina has its own unique scent.  Even healthy vaginas have a scent.  A woman’s vaginal odor even varies throughout her menstrual cycle.  Vaginas don’t, and are not meant to, smell like a bouquet of flowers.

That is just not realistic.  All vaginas have a natural fragrance.

Factors that can influence the vaginal scent include personal hygiene, nutrition/food, current health status, pregnancy, using douches, sexual intercourse without a condom, exercise and even the type of underwear you wear.

Temporary, unusual vaginal smell does happen and is usually not something to worry about.  However, persistent strong smelling (in particular “fishy”) vaginal odor is not normal and needs to be dealt with.  It should not just be ignored.

Causes of significant vaginal odor that need to be addressed include:

  • Trichomoniasis
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Fistula from rectum to vagina
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Cervical cancer

The first two causes can usually be dealt with by utilizing appropriate antibiotic therapy.

Fistulas are abnormal connections or holes joining two separate areas of the body.  A rectovaginal fistula is a hole that joins the rectum and the vagina.  This fistula allows fecal matter to enter the vagina.

Vaginal cancer and cervical cancer are serious health issues that require the direction and guidance of a professional medical team and should be addressed as quickly as possible.

Some proactive steps you can take to improve the scent of your vagina include:

  • eating healthy foods
  • avoid pro-inflammatory foods
  • wash the vulvovaginal area with water and mild soap on a regular basis
  • wear cotton panties as they are a natural, breathable fabric that help to keep the area cool and dry
  • do not douche with store bought douches that contain antiseptics and fragrances (these disrupt the natural pH balance and flora of the vagina)

There is a product called WaterWorks that is a douching system that utilizes ordinary tap water and has been shown to reduce vaginal smell.

A study of the WaterWorks product from 2006 titled “Douching With Water Works Device for Perceived Vaginal Odor With or Without Complaints of Discharge in Women With No Infectious Cause of Vaginitis: A Pilot Study” by Ashwin J. Chatwani et al. and published in the journal Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology found the following:

“The results of the present study, performed in 10 subjects with perceived vaginal odor with no infectious cause of vaginitis, confirm the efficacy and safety of the douching once daily for 4 weeks. At the first follow-up visit after 2 weeks of vaginal douching the perceived vaginal odor was 40% reduced. The second follow-up visit after 4 weeks of treatment further confirmed the effectiveness of douching by reducing the odor by 59% of baseline value. Half of the subjects showed complete recovery of their complaint of vaginal odor. ”

To read further about this study visit

You may also wish to learn more about bacterial vaginosis or to learn more about yeast infections.