If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. The vagina has a unique fragrance. Some females may feel self-conscious about the scent of their vagina, but it is normal for a healthy vagina to have a slight scent. However, this odor can change when infections or other health concerns are present.
Vaginal odor is any odor that originates from the vagina. It's normal for your vagina to have a slight odor. But, a strong vaginal odor — for instance, a "fishy" smell — might be abnormal and could indicate a problem. Abnormal vaginal odor that happens because of infection or another problem is usually associated with other vaginal signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge. Vaginal odor may vary throughout your menstrual cycle and may be especially noticeable right after having sex. Normal sweating also can cause a vaginal odor. Though it may be tempting to douche or use a vaginal deodorant to decrease vaginal odor, these products may actually increase irritation and other vaginal symptoms.
And it seems to us like all that flowery sunshine is another example of the world getting vaginas all wrong. Just take a quick trip to your local drugstore. Like douching. 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 truth is, your vagina is home to billions of bacteria.
Unusual vaginal odor happens from time to time. Intercourse may also change the smell temporarily. Your vagina cleanses itself naturally. If you leave your vagina to its own devices, it can naturally maintain a healthy pH and keep unhealthy bacteria at bay. But if you notice a stark difference in your odor, then you may be experiencing a sign of a potential problem.