It’s perfectly natural for your vagina to have a certain smell, according to Jennifer Wider, MD.
But while how you smell down there can depend on your daily activities and your diet, vaginal odor can also be an indicator of a serious infection.
Dr. Wider lays out the smells you should keep tabs on, so you can tell the difference between totally normal and not okay.
A healthy vagina will usually have some sort of smell, but the scent may vary day-to-day depending on how active you are. Like, after a super intense spin class, your vagina may have a stronger, musky smell from the surrounding sweat glands—which is 100 percent normal.
If your vagina gives off a strong, foul odor, it may be the sign of an infection. For example, bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and upsets the delicate PH balance of the vagina, causing an increase in discharge and a strong fishy odor that increases after you’ve had sex. A foul odor with green discharge typically indicates trichomoniasis, an STD. So, if you just don’t smell right, trust your instinct and see your doctor.
Your vagina might smell differently depending on the lubricants you’ve used during sex and whether or not you’ve used a condom. Typically, most women describe the smell as “chlorine-like or bleachy” and it’s nothing to be worried about.
While there’s normally a small amount of yeast in your lady bits, yeast infections occur when there’s an overgrowth. You’ll know there’s something up if you notice a faint, bread-like smell along with cottage cheese-like discharge.
ROTTEN MEAT/SOMETHING DYING
Dr. Nucatolah says: “If a tampon has been forgotten for days or even longer, the smell is extremely foul and should prompt you to see a health-care provider to make sure all of the tampon is found and removed, and to determine whether you need further treatment.”
Don’t be shy about booking an appointment with your gynecologist about any of these issues.
These are all really run-of-the-mill gynecological problems, and your doctor won’t be disgusted with you.