Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why do I have vaginal odor?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have vaginal odor?


I have no itching,no painful urination,no symptoms of anything but a fishy odor.


Many women experience vaginal odor from time to time and it is important to discuss this with a doctor who can evaluate you. A change in your vaginal discharge may be the first sign of a vaginal problem. From the description of your symptoms, it is possible that you have vaginitis, or inflammation of the vaginal area caused by infection in or around the vagina. The most common vaginal infection that comes to mind is bacterial vaginosis. The predominant sign of bacterial vaginosis is a fishy vaginal discharge that may look yellow, grayish or white. This discharge odor is often more obvious after sexual intercourse. Some women also have other symptoms such as burning sensation during urination and itching around the outside of the vagina. It is important to rule out other serious infections, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, in diagnosing bacterial vaginosis. However, there are other reasons for bad vaginal odor. Certain types of sexually transmitted diseases, such as trichomoniasis, or a vaginal yeast infection may also cause an unusually strong or foul-smelling vaginal odor. Although less commonly, watery vaginal discharge that emits a foul odor can also be caused by the presence of cancerous cells within the cervix and thus a symptom of cervical cancer. You should speak with a doctor for further evaluation of possible causes and care. After a pelvic exam, your doctor will do a swap test by taking a fluid sample from your the vagina to look at the organisms under a microscope or send to a lab.

Need more info?

See an obgyn today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.