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What is a Normal Vaginal Odor?

Published: September 13, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
what vaginas are supposed to smell like i never smell fishy or have anything wrong down there but i've also known my smell to be kind of odd sort of musty
Signed: What is a Normal Vaginal Odor?

Dear What is a Normal Vaginal Odor?,

The Mayo Clinic presents the following information on vaginal odor which should answer your questions:

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.

An abnormal vaginal odor is usually associated with other vaginal signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.

Common causes of abnormal vaginal odor include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Poor hygiene
  • Retained or forgotten tampon
  • Trichomoniasis

 

If you're concerned about an abnormal or persistent vaginal odor, see your doctor — especially if you have other signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.

In the meantime, to minimize vaginal odor:

  • Wash your external genital area. During regular baths or showers, use a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water.
  • Avoid douching. All healthy vaginas contain bacteria and yeast. The normal acidity of your vagina keeps bacteria and yeast in check. But douching can actually upset this delicate balance.
Signed: TeenHealthFX

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