Vaginal Odor

When your private area smells, it can cause of a lot of embarrassment and discomfort. Your sex life suffers, your confidence suffers and it can be hard to know where to get help.  After all, you may not feel comfortable asking your family doctor ‘what causes my vagina to smell like fish’? Luckily, there are a only a couple of reasons for vaginal odor and discharge, it is simply a matter of determining the cause of your problem and getting the right advice to fix it.

Causes of Feminine Odor 

The two main causes of vaginal discharge with odor are yeast infection (commonly referred to as vaginal thrush) or bacterial infection (known as bacterial vaginosis or BV). These two conditions have quite distinctive symptoms, particularly when it comes to the color, texture and smell of the vaginal discharge. The table below compares the two conditions.

Bacterial Vaginosis VS Vaginal Thrush

Bacterial Vaginosis
Vaginal Thrush
Discharge Odor:'Fishy' smelling discharge'Yeasty' smelling discharge
Discharge Color and Texture:Watery white/grey/greenThick white discharge with 'cottage cheese' appearance
Additional Symptoms:Generally only mild itching or pain, if any at all. Often worse after intercourse.Intense itching, burning and/or swelling. Stinging and burning during urination and intercourse.
More Information:Click here to answer a questionnaire to assess your risk of bacterial vaginosis.Watch this video for more information about yeast infection symptoms.

Why Does My Vagina Smell

Once you have determined which of these two conditions is causing your vaginal odor, you can take measures to treat the problem. Some treatment methods are more effective than others and surprisingly, medications your doctor will offer you are often not the best option.

To find out more about the best way to treat bacterial vaginosis click here.  Alternatively, if you believe a yeast infection is the cause of your discharge odor, you will find treatment information on the Yeast Infection Treatment page.

For more information about bacterial vaginosis, one of the main causes of feminine odor, click here.