Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What smells are associated with STDs?"


Is there a characteristic smell that you get if you have an std? I'm pretty sure I was possibly exposed to gonorrhea, and while I don't have any other symptoms yet, I have been having a really unusual odor coming from my vagina. What should I be watching for?


There are some smells associated with STDs in females some of which are distinct and some of which are not. In the case of gonorrhea, vaginal discharge originating from the cervix is one symptom, and it can smell. Infections with Neisseria Gonorrhoeae is a common sexually transmitted infection that can result in vaginal discharge, painful urination and pain with sex.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

In females, the biggest risk of having the infection is developing pelvic inflammatory disease of PID. This disease is when the gonorrhea spreads to you uterus and fallopian tubes which can result in infertility. The infection is treated with the antibiotic Ceftriaxone. Another antibiotic Azithromycin or Doxycycline is usually added in case there is also an infection with Chlamydia. Other Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis or Trichomoniasis can be associated with sex and have characteristic vaginal discharge that is "fishy" or plain fowl smelling. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or OB / GYN right away. If this is not possible, then I suggest that you present to the emergency room for further evaluation. If you do have a cervical gonorrhea infection, you will want to get antibiotics right away. The last thing you want is to develop pelvic inflammatory disease. Good luck.

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.