Why Does Your Vagina Smell Bad? 12 Causes of Vaginal Odour

Why Does Your Vagina Smell Bad? 12 Causes of Vaginal Odour

Date 18 Jan 2024  

Table of Contents

Vaginal Health of Females

In women’s bodies, vaginal smell is completely a natural and normal aspect. Vaginal health is an important part of a woman's overall health, however, it may cause concerns about underlying health issues or hygiene when the smell is unusually strong or unpleasant. A vaginal environment is best to maintain a delicate, slightly acidic balance through changes such as menstruation, ovulation and sex. In some cases, the vagina may get a little hard to maintain its hygiene due to some smelly discharge. “There are various factors such as hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, menstruation, intercourse, stress, sweating, infections and clothes may play important roles for disturbing the smell and hygiene of the vagina”, shares a gynaecologist in Hyderabad at Eternelle Aesthetics. The female doctor has also shared the reasons why one’s vagina smells so bad and the factors causing it.

Factors That Trigger Smell From Vagina

There are various common reasons for vaginal smell for which women need guidance on maintaining good feminine hygiene.

1. Normal Vaginal Smell

It is important to know that the vaginal smell for every woman is distinct and it can differ depending on the factors such as hormones, hormones, and overall health. The vagina has a bacterial presence that maintains its pH and prevents vaginal infections. This natural habitat in the vagina forms a slightly acidic smell which is not unpleasant.

2. Poor Hygiene

Inadequate hygiene is one of the most common causes of an unpleasant smell of the vagina. The vagina is good enough for maintaining its hygiene and cleanliness, however, to support such natural processes good hygiene should be maintained. Avoiding regular hygiene practices such as washing, and cleaning during menstruation, can lead to developing bacterial growth and menstrual fluid causing an undesirable and unpleasant smell.

Washing the external genital area with mild, unscented soap and water is advised to promote good hygiene practices. Using harsh cleansers or douches should be avoided, as it can cause disturbance in the natural balance of the vagina and can be irritated.

3. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

A common infection in the vagina characterised by an overgrowth of bacteria is Bacterial vaginosis. In this condition, a fishy-smelling discharge and itching or discomfort can be experienced. Various factors such as poor hygiene, a change in sexual partners, douching, or a weakened immune system can lead to developing Bacterial Vaginosis in the vagina. It is essential to consult with a gynaecologist in Hyderabad if someone is suspected of BV for its diagnosis and correct treatment. 

4. Yeast Infections

The overgrowth of the Candida fungus causes Yeast infections which also contribute to an unpleasant vaginal smell. In addition to an unusual smell, one can also experience other symptoms such as itching, burning, and white discharge.

There are over-the-counter antifungal medications used for treating yeast infections. However, consulting a gynae near me is recommended for its diagnosis and to get proper guidance.

5. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal imbalance during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect the pH balance of the vagina and change its smell. While these changes are for a short duration, maintaining good hygiene can be helpful to manage any smells.

6. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Vaginal smells can be altered due to certain sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis and chlamydia cause a foul-smelling discharge. These infections may also present in addition to other symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain during urination, or abnormal bleeding. It is important to have safe sex and follow regular STI tests, especially for someone who has multiple sexual partners, for its prevention and early detection of infections. Someone suspected of a sexually transmitted infection should seek medical attention. STIs need specific treatments as delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications and health issues.

7. Menstrual Hygiene Products

Inappropriate use or prolonged wearing of menstrual hygiene products, such as tampons or pads, can contribute to an unpleasant odour. Changing these products regularly and maintaining good menstrual hygiene practices can help prevent bacterial growth and associated smells.

8. Dietary Habits

It is believed that a diet plan plays an important role in the way the body smells, including vaginal smell. The smell of bodily fluids, including vaginal discharge can be influenced by several diet products such as spicy foods, garlic, onions, and certain strong-smelling foods. Overall body smell can be positively affected by staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet which is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

9. Sweating

Someone experiencing excessive sweating in the genital area during summer or intense physical activity can lead to an increase in vaginal smell.

10. Synthetic Underwear

Wearing synthetic or poor-quality underwear can create an environment suitable for bacterial growth and odour as it can trap moisture. Thus, using breathable cotton underwear is recommended to prevent infection and bad smell.

11. Urine or Faecal Contamination

Improper wiping or cleaning after using the washroom can lead to contamination, contributing to an unpleasant vaginal smell.

12. Stress or anxiety

Psychological state of mind such as stress or anxiety can impact the hormonal balance of the body, potentially impacting the smell of bodily fluids, including vaginal discharge.

It is crucial to emphasise that variations in smell from person to person are normal, and not all smells are indicative of an infection. However, if noticing persistent changes or an abnormal or unpleasant smell, one should consult with a healthcare professional to get proper guidance and proper diagnosis for appropriate treatment. One should openly communicate with their Best Doctors For Vaginal Infection Treatment in Hyderabad at Eternelle Aesthetics to address and resolve issues related to vaginal health.


Understanding the factors influencing vaginal odour is crucial for women to distinguish between normal variations and potential health concerns. Practising good hygiene, staying aware of hormonal changes, and seeking professional advice when needed are essential steps in maintaining vaginal health. It is always advisable to consult with a Female doctor  Gynecologist in Hyderabad if someone is experiencing persistent or unpleasant smells to get guidance and care.

Proper guidance, accurate diagnoses and treatments should be followed to ensure vaginal health. It is recommended to take proper steps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to the overall health, and vaginal health of an individual.