Don't be afraid to take a look down under.
Having a weird smell down there isn't only potentially embarrassing and uncomfortable, it can also be a major health red flag. Obviously, our lady parts always have a distinct scent, but if that scent seems to change or feel "off," it's time to see what's going on.
Oftentimes, a bad vaginal odor is the sign of an infection, says Emily Morse, sexologist. If it's distinctly and noticeably different, have your doctor check it out. They will let you know what's going on down there and whether you need antibiotics, or other remedies.
2. Sexually transmitted diseases
Foul odors matched with changes in color of your discharge could be a sign of an STD, says Morse. Anything abnormal and persisting should be checked out by a doctor ASAP.
3. Sex accessories
Have you tried a new lube? New condoms? Even a new sex toy? Any of these can impact odor, especially if you added something new to the equation.
4. Yeast infection
"The most common culprit for bad vaginal odor is bacterial vaginosis, which is essentially just an overgrowth of the naturally occurring bacteria that live in your vagina," says Morse. Yeast infections can also give off a "yeasty" smell, along with your natural odors. These can be cured with antibiotics or over the counter solutions.
5. Poor diet
Diet can also affect the way you smell down there, says Morse. Gastrointestinal distress from what you're eating causes an increase in your yeast production. If you notice a problem, try cutting out white starches, gluten, sugar and dairy. In addition, some foods like onions, garlic and asparagus are responsible for a slightly different smell.
6. Fluctuating hormones
Smelly vaginal fluids can be the result of changes in hormone levels, commonly encountered with menses, says Dr. Jenny Jaque, OB/GYN and co-founder of Health Goes Female. Discharge that smells can also indicate a bigger problem, like an infection, including sexually transmitted infections. Any abnormal and foul smelling vaginal discharge needs to be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
DISCLAIMER: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.