What are the Causes of Smelly Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is very often a normal and regular occurrence. But, there are some types of discharge that may be a sign of an infection. Abnormal discharge can be green or yellow or foul-smelling. Generally, Yeast or bacterial infection causes the abnormal foul-smelling discharge.

The vaginal smell can vary all through your menstrual cycle and may be particularly noticeable right after the sex. Usual sweating can also be a reason for vaginal odor. Although it may be appealing to douche or use vaginal perfume to decrease vaginal smell, these products might actually increase irritation and other vaginal problems.

Also Read: Vaginal Discharge & Its Types

What are the causes of smelly vaginal discharge?

causes of smelly Vaginal Discharge

  • Hormonal changes may cause smelly vaginal discharge

Change in hormone and discharges also lead to a foul-smelling vagina. Vaginal discharges during menstruation and between ovulation and your next period can have a more unpleasant smell. Another possible hormonal cause is menopause, during which decreased estrogen levels cause vaginal tissue to thin and be less acidic. Generally, women undergoing menopause observe a smelly, watery discharge

  • Diet

What you eat can affect vaginal smell, just like as it has an effect on other parts of the body, like your armpits, scalp, and mouth.

  • Overused tampon

Using a tampon for a longer period than prescribed can also lead to the accumulation of periodical blood and bacteria, leading to foul smell from the vagina. If you think you’ve forgotten to remove a tampon, consult your gynecologist. He or she might safely remove it and treat any possible infection.

  • Excessive sweating can cause smelly vaginal discharge

You must have possibly noticed, a sweaty groin is a smelly one. It’s because your external genitals have a special kind of gland known as apocrine sweat glands (also found in various parts of the body). These glands secrete an oily fluid that’s metabolized by bacteria present on your skin, giving a noticeable odor. Tight clothing or being obese can worsen the problem by trapping sweat and bacteria on the skin.

  • Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or fungal infections can cause smelly vaginal discharge. 

Bacterial vaginosis: an excess growth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria and is the most common vaginal infection that causes a vaginal odor.

Trichomoniasis: is a sexually transmitted disease. The disease also can cause vaginal smell.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea: These infections usually don’t cause vaginal odors. Common causes of abnormal vaginal odor include:

Fungal infections may also cause vaginal odor and smelly vaginal discharge.

  • HPV or cervical cancer

HPV or the human papillomavirus infection is spread through sexual contact. HPV can spread by oral, vaginal or anal sex. HPV infection in females can lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can cause a bloody, brown, or watery vaginal discharge with a smelly, unpleasant odor. Cervical cancer can be screened for with annual Pap smears and HPV testing.

When to consult a gynecologist?

If you have an unusual discharge along with other discomforting symptoms, see your gynecologist as soon as possible. Such symptoms include:

  • pain in the abdomen
  • unexplained weight loss
  • high fever
  • increased urination
  • fatigue

If you have any concerns or worrying symptoms along with smelly vaginal discharge, make an appointment with a gynecologist

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor

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