Why does my vagina itch and smell? When things go wrong, it can leave you feeling embarrassed and self-conscious about your sexual health. There are plenty of reasons why you're dealing with that fishy smell coming from your vagina.

Here are five uncommon causes of vaginal odor and irritation.


  1. Stressful Lifestyles

Bacterial Vaginosis is the bacterial condition, causing the fishy smell emanating from your vagina. It's common for this odor to intensify after sex, and other symptoms attributed to the condition include a white discharge and itching.

While BV is not life-threatening, it can cause complications with your sexual health, and it also leaves you predisposed to catching an STI.

Your doctor will treat your condition by prescribing an antibiotic to kill the bacterial infection. They will also write you a script for topical creams to stop the itching while you recover.


  1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Every year, around 1-million women in the United States receive a diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease. PID is another reason why you might notice a fishy smell coming from your vagina. PID is the medical term for an infection that starts in the lower vaginal canal and spreads though All the tissues in the pelvic region.

PID can be a life-threatening situation for women. The infection will start to reach the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries if left undiagnosed and untreated. Women that experience the onset of PID will often end up infertile after resolving the situation.


  1. Diet Affects Your Vagina

You are what you eat – we're sure you've heard this saying a thousand times before. A healthy vagina has a natural pH balance resulting in a clean smell. What you eat can change your sexual health dramatically.

Some foods and drinks containing refined carbohydrates and sugar will affect the way your vagina smells. Some of the food and beverages causing unpleasant vaginal odors include the following.

  • Strong aromatic spices
  • Smoked and cured meats or foods
  • Garlic and onions
  • Asparagus and broccoli
  • Coffee and alcohol

Citrus fruits can improve the smell of your vagina. Eating probiotic foods will help to improve the presence of good bacteria in your gut, enhancing your digestive and sexual health.


  1. Improper Personal Hygiene

For some women, a foul smell emanating from the vagina is merely a sign of poor personal hygiene. Ensure that you meet the following criteria with your daily hygiene routine for your vagina.

  • Wipe from the front to the back when using the toilet
  • Always urinate after sex to flush your vagina
  • Change your underwear every day
  • Use unscented laundry products to wash your underwear
  • Use a neutral, gentle body scrub

Some women try to clean inside their vagina to remove the smell. However, all this does is cause a bacterial imbalance in the vagina, worsening the condition.


  1. Your Menstrual Cycle

If you experience a change in your vaginal odor right before starting your period, then that's a sign of changes to your bacteria and acidity levels in your vagina. These changes occur at different times during the menstrual cycle.

During your period, the blood and uterine lining mix with the microflora in the vagina's walls. This change alters the smell. Leaving a tampon in for too long may also cause the development of a fishy smell.

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