7 Embarrassing Questions About Vagina Smells, Answered

A lot of weird body stuff goes hand in hand with having a vagina. You have to learn to accept the reality of feeling a slight dampness (or maybe, uh, not so slight) in your underwear at least once a day. You deal with blood coming out of it once a month. Sometimes it’s really, really itchy and you don’t know why and you can’t even scratch it. Every once in a while a pimple or an ingrown hair pops up and makes your life miserable. And, of course, there are the smells. Vaginal odor is not just part of infections down there – it’s a part of every day life, no matter what anyone says.

Vaginal odor is also something that isn’t discussed very often. You probably don’t usually get involved with conversations around down there smells, and that’s because it’s one of those body things that we mostly tend to feel embarrassed about, even if we know it’s normal, but especially if we think it’s only happening to us. A lot of girls probably won’t voice their concerns out loud, which can be harmful in the long run. So if you’re wondering about an issue concerning vag smells, you’ve come to the right place. We’re tackling some of the most embarrassing questions about vagina smells that you may not even have realized you needed the answer to. Check ’em out and stay educated on your lady parts!

Is It Bad If Your Vagina Smells Fishy When You Have Your Period?

When you get your period, you might notice that things smell, uh, a little differently down there. Maybe a little fishy? When I was in high school, girls used to exclaim that the "bathroom smelled like fish" because there were too many tampons in the garbage. Fun story!

Anyway, that scent is almost definitely normal. Although doctors say that period blood itself doesn't have an odor, they will say that when period blood mixes with your natural body oils and odor and your sweat, it mixes up into a scent that might be a little stronger than usual. Plus, if tampons or pads, even wrapped up, sit in a garbage for a while, they will likely start to smell, as anything else would.

If you notice a particularly strong scent every time you have your period, it's fine. If that scent is accompanied by extra discharge (even after your period), an itchy feeling, and a burning when peeing, it could be a sign of an infection.

Source: iStock

How Do You Know If A Daily Scent Is Normal or Not?

By now, you might have noticed that your vagina always has some sort of odor. This is totally normal, no matter what anyone else says (if girls say they don't have an odor down there, they are lying. Period!). Your vagina is a body part that secretes stuff, so of course it has a scent. But how do you know when the odor is a sign of an infection?

It's hard to describe what a normal vaginal scent smells like. It just smells like... a vagina. It's just a general scent that isn't too strong. It's hard to explain! It's easier to explain what it should not smell like: rotten fish, bad food in general, or a musty, bread-like scent. Basically, if it smells super strong and different than usual, there might be something that's off down there.

You might also notice that your vag smells differently throughout the month. That's normal too. Your vaginal odor can change throughout your cycle, so you might notice a stronger smell right before you get your period.

Source: iStock

Do Guys Notice The Smell During Oral Sex?

When it comes to oral sex, a lot of girls are so focused on their self-conscious feelings about the way their vagina looks and smells that they can't actually enjoy anything. A lot of girls spend too much time wondering what a guy is thinking when he sticks his nose down there. I mean, I'm not a dude, but I've worked here for a while and have heard a lot of different opinions from people who go down on vaginas. Most guys (and girls) say they smell something, but nothing weird or gross - just a vagina smell. They might notice if it's smelling a little stronger - their nose is down there, after all! - but they probably won't care. Dudes don't expect an odorless paradise down there, so please don't stress.

Source: iStock

Is There Anything That Can Make Your Vagina Smell Better?

You may have heard the popular idea that pineapples can make your vagina taste and smell better. This might be partially true. Your vagina secretes stuff, so anything you eat or put into your body will come out through those secretions. Something sweet, like pineapple and other fruits, could indeed make your vag smell and taste sweeter. Mild green veggies can make things smell decently, or at least they won't contribute to a bad smell. Yogurt can help boost good bacteria and fight bad bacteria, which can help prevent any bad smells. And drinking a lot of water is a good way to flush out your system and get rid of anything that might make your vag smell better.

Aside from food, the best way to keep your vaginal odor under control is to clean yourself on a daily basis. Yes, your vagina is a self-cleaning machine, but it also needs some help! If you're skipping days of showering, things are going to start smelling funky down there. Don't feel the need to use soaps or douches or scented products down there - those will lead to infections - but just clean it with warm water on a regular basis.

Source: iStock

Do Certain Things Make Your Vagina Smell Worse?

Since certain foods might have a positive impact on your vag smell, then it only makes sense that certain foods have a negative one. Just like before, it's the stuff you're eating secreting out of you. Remember how I said mild green veggies can be good for the scent? Well, that does not include asparagus and broccoli. Both can make your pee and your discharge smell a little funky. Any strong foods or drinks, like coffee, garlic, and spices can make your vag smell stronger. Eating a lot of dairy and meat can also contribute to things being off.

Food isn't the only thing that can contribute to a strong smell. Wearing tight pants, like tight skinny jeans or leggings, can make your vag area sweaty and constrict the breathability, making it smell kind of musty. Sitting in sweaty workout clothes will have the same effect.

Source: iStock

What Can You Do About A Sweaty Vagina Smell?

Okay, so you know when it's really hot out and you've been sitting for a while and you stand up and realize things, uh, smell down there? That's normal - your down there area will sweat just like any other body part that has no breathing room, and that sweat can start to smell, especially if it mixes with discharge. You'll also, obviously, notice it after working out.

There isn't much to do to fight off this smell - it's a part of having a body - but you can try to make things better by washing your vag regularly in the shower (no soaps!), choosing bottoms that aren't quite so tight, wearing underwear made of cotton so it breathes better, and airing out your vagina at night when sleeping by not wearing any underwear. Just don't try putting deodorant down there!

Source: iStock

Is It Weird For Your Vagina To Smell Strongly After Sex?

Not weird! If you're having penetrative sex with a dude, there's a lot going on down there. Someone else's genitals are inside of you! Maybe their fingers and their tongue too! You're sweating, even if you don't realize it. You're wet and lubricated, and that's mixing with normal discharge. Your partner is sweating. All of these lovely things get mixed together and create a stronger than normal smell down there. It's cool - it's part of sex. No worries!

Source: iStock

Which question about vaginal odor did we not answer? Fill us in in the comments!

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.


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  • SoyBoySigh

    I swear – I didn’t START with this topic, and had found my way here after looking up old TV show stuff – ANYWAY, as an aficionado … a dyed-in-the-wood carpet muncher, I should think this particular subject would be a prime opportunity to pass on yet another ANTI-SMOKING message – being that this is of paramount importance to preserving the wondrous natural honeypot aroma – It BEHOOVES one to elucidate upon the dangers of 2nd-hand smoke & all of the OTHER orifices from whence it might emanate…..