ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have vaginal odor?

Question

Why do I have vaginal odor?

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

Answer

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.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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