Recently, we asked women whether they ever experienced a smell that was "off" down there. Most women who said yes reported that they often had a smelly vagina immediately after sex, after exercise, on hot days, or after periods. 

Although the vagina was not meant to smell like passion fruits or cherry blossoms, there are times when the odors are "off". Here, we explain the top 4 causes of a "smelly vagina", and what you can do to prevent it.

Causes for vaginal odor:

Feminine odor varies amongst all women and changes throughout the menstrual cycle. A typical vaginal smell can be musty or fleshy. While having a vaginal odor is normal, anytime there is an "offensive" vaginal odor, it usually signals that something "down there" is off. Here are 4 reasons why this may occur.


To properly clean itself, the vagina needs to maintain a stable pH of 3.8 to 4.5. When the regular acidity changes, the vagina is out of ‘balance.’ There is an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast when this occurs, which makes the vagina prone to infections. Vaginal infections can affect the smell and texture of vaginal discharge. Certain products such as scented soaps, scented deodorant, douches, bubble baths, and pantyliners change the acidity of the vagina.

Just like the pores in your skin, the outside of the vagina has any apocrine sweat glands. These glands have proteins broken down by bacteria and secret an oily fluid that produces a distinct odor. Vaginal sweats can cause a musky scent. If there is a mixture of urine, blood, and sweat, the vaginal odor is more potent. To prevent sweaty vaginal odors, try the Kushae Natural Feminine Deodorant Spray, or our Natural Feminine Deodorant Stick, made with all natural ingredients and perfect for eliminating vaginal sweaty odors for good! 

Bacterial Vaginosis
Foul vaginal odor usually is a result of bacterial infection. One of the most common causes of foul vagina odor is bacterial vaginosis. A yellowish discharge accompanies a strong fish odor. To confirm a diagnosis of BV for the first time, you should see your physician. Once it's confirmed that BV is the culprit, your OB/GYN will usually prescribe an antibiotic to kill the offending bacteria and eliminate the BV. For a non-antibiotic, natural solution to treating BV for good, try the Kushae Boric Acid Suppositories!

Sexually Transmitted Disease
Another reason for a fishy vaginal scent is sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis. Other symptoms include genital itching and painful urination.

There are many causes of a "smelly vagina". Some can be managed EASIER than others. The most common causes are lack of acidity, increase perspiration, poor hygiene, tampons, pads, bacterial and sexually transmitted infections. Other reasons can be life-threatening, such as vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, rectovaginal fistula. We always recommend visiting your OB/GYN for additional concerns or questions.
September 22, 2021

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.