Does a Healthy Vagina Have a Smell?

It is usual for a vagina to emit a scent, including a healthy vagina. It may not smell as pleasant as cologne or perfume, but a healthy vagina does have a uniquely acceptable scent that most people can tolerate.

However, the smell can change when a woman experiences vaginal discharge during her monthly period. But it is even worse if she has vaginal health problems, such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.

You must understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy vaginal smells to recognize a problem before it worsens.

How Does a Healthy Vagina Smell?

 Most people cannot distinguish between unhealthy and healthy vaginal smells unless they have spent much time around other women’s vaginas to make the comparison. Every woman emits a unique scent from her healthy vagina, so it is difficult to describe. But, in most cases, a healthy vaginal smell is often described as an earthy, robust, or mildly sour odor.

Remember that a woman’s activities and environmental factors could play a role in changing her vaginal odor, such as physical exercise, sunlight, douching, sexual vaginal intercourse, changing sexual partners, and anything else which could impact her vagina. But the worst-case scenario for a vaginal odor change is a vaginal infection.

The top four reasons for vaginal smell changes are as follows:

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection in the vagina. It can disrupt the balance of good and bad vaginal bacteria, causing the vagina to smell fishier and more unpleasant. The bacterial infection can also cause white or gray vaginal discharge and vaginal itching, pain, and burning.


Trichomoniasis is a typical sexually transmitted infection known to cause vaginal odors in women. Even though around 30% of women experience vaginal symptoms from trichomoniasis, you should still be aware of those symptoms to recognize the infection immediately. These symptoms include a fishy vaginal odor, uncomfortable sex, uncomfortable peeing, and colorful vaginal discharge.

Poor Diet

Your diet plays a significant role in the robustness of your vaginal odor. Foods that can worsen your vaginal smell include onions, garlic, blue cheese, red meat, vinegar, and asparagus. Make sure you drink enough water and avoid smoking and alcohol if you wish to overcome this issue.

Poor Hygiene Habits 

Your body will naturally cleanse the inside of your vagina. However, you need to keep the outside of your vagina clean because the hair follicles and sweat glands on the exterior can attract harmful bacteria and create a foul odor.

Best Way to Treat a Foul Vaginal Odor Problem

All vaginal infections require medication and treatment to overcome them. There are over the counter options that work effectively.  Consider trying vaginal boric acid suppositories as a treatment option. Diet-related issues require changing the foods you eat daily and ensuring you drink lots of water. And, of course, wash the outside of your vagina only. Avoid douching.

Consult your doctor if you have further questions about a bad vaginal odor and how to eliminate it.