While your vagina isn’t supposed to smell like roses, it should neither smell like rotten fish or garbage.
What you wear and your personal hygiene play a big part when it comes to the smell that emanates from your cookie jar. For instance, if you skip daily showers or wear very tight clothes, your vagina might start smelling. The best thing is that these are things you can avoid and keep your vagina healthy and happy.
But you could also be smelling down there due to certain medical conditions. Check out some of the conditions that cause vaginal odor:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Trichomoniasis is the most common curable sexually transmitted infection worldwide. More than 250 million new cases are reported each year and the infection accounts to almost half of the curable STIs that are reported.
Apart from fish-like vaginal odor, trichomoniasis has other symptoms such as; yellowish-green vaginal discharge, discomfort during urination, pain during sex, vaginal spotting or bleeding, itching, burning and soreness of the vagina.
The other strange thing about trichomoniasis is that you could have it and not know you do. This is because some people do not exhibit any symptoms. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of people with trichomoniasis do not show any signs. Men in most cases show no symptoms which is why a man can easily infect you unknowingly.
In some cases, trichomoniasis can get severe leading to complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight, infertility, and cervical cancer.
2. Bacterial vaginosis
The vagina usually has naturally occurring bacteria. However, an overgrowth of the bacteria upsets the pH of the vagina causing bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is also one of the major causes of abnormal discharge among women of the child-bearing age.
A 2013 study that involved 193 women in their childbearing years found that the prevalence of BV was 43.1% and women between age 31- 40 years had the highest prevalence. Although bacterial vaginosis is not sexually transmitted, having unprotected sex or sex with a new partner increases the risk. Lack of enough lactobacilli bacteria and douching can also cause BV.
Common symptoms of this vaginal infection include; foul-smelling vaginal odor, vaginal itching, burning during urination, and, thin white, gray or greenish discharge.
3. Cervical cancer
Although most women with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) never develop cervical cancer, the virus is known to play a big part when it comes to developing cervical cancer. Since HPV is sexually transmitted, practicing safe sex is one of the things that a woman can do to prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the uterus (cervix) and most people show no signs in the early stages. When the signs start to show, a woman may produce a watery, bloody vaginal discharge with an awful smell. Other symptoms of cervical cancer include pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, vaginal bleeding after sex, bleeding in between periods or after menopause and kidney failure when the cancer is advanced.
4. Vaginal cancer
Vaginal cancer is very rare. In most cases, cancer will start from other parts before spreading to the vagina. But it is also possible for cancer to start in the vagina. A woman with vaginal cancer can experience symptoms such as abnormal vaginal discharge that smells, pain during sex, noticeable mass in the vagina, pelvic pain and painful urination.
5. Rectovaginal fistula
For years, women struggled with fistula but finally, there is a relief as they can get treatment. Common signs of fistula include; foul-smelling vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse, recurrent vaginal infections, passing stool or gas through the vagina, and, inability to control bowel movements.
Fistula can occur due to complications when giving birth that causes the perineum to tear. Cancer, surgery, and infections may also cause rectovaginal fistula.