ZocdocAnswersWhy does my vagina have a constant odor?

Question

Why does my vagina have a constant odor?

This is super embarrassing so I thought I would ask somewhere where I could be anonymous! I have a bad odor coming from my vagina. I shower frequently and I am a very clean person, but it won't go away. Do I have a fungus or something? What should I do?

Answer

Generally, a woman's vagina normally has a mild odor. However, infection or inflammation of the vagina can cause a bad smell that can be persistent or very strong. There are various reasons why vaginal odor can be present despite keeping the area clean. It is commonly due to an infection of inflammation of the vagina, known as vaginitis. Most commonly, a fishy odor as it is described, can be the result of an overgrowth of bacteria that are normally present in the vagina. Normally, there is a delicate balance in the level of bacteria that are present in the vagina. Any imbalance from a change in acidity, can result in an infection, most commonly known as bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis does not usually cause worsening problems unless pregnant, but is easily treatable with an antibiotic. However, there are various other infections that can cause bad vaginal odor and treatment depends on the type of infection present. It is very important for you to set up an appointment with your primary care doctor or your ob-gynecologist to diagnose this accurately and treat this appropriately. Making an accurate diagnosis of the cause includes a good and complete medical history, sexual history and a proper pelvic exam to sample some vaginal cells. A microscopic examination of these cells will provide an accurate diagnosis and help tailor treatment accordingly.

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

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