Vaginal odor is typically from inflammation of the vaginal area. Inflammation of the vaginal area can occur because of poor hygiene but is often a result of infection in or around the vagina. A common infection that can cause vaginal odor is overgrowth of the normal vaginal bacteria to cause bacterial vaginosis. The sexually transmitted disease trichinosis can cause vaginal odor. Uncommon causes of vaginal odor include cancers and an abnormal passageway between the rectum and vagina (rectovaginal fistula).
Related Symptoms & Signs
Other causes of vaginal odor
- Infection (Bacterial)
- Ulcers From Infection (Chancroid, Lymphogranuloma Venereum/LGV)
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Causes of Vaginal Odor
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition with signs and symptoms of vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and vaginal pain. It results from an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina.
Can Bacterial Vaginosis Clear Up on Its Own?
Learn what medical treatments can ease your bacterial vaginosis symptoms and help you manage this condition.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia, a bacterial infection, include vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, burning with urination, blood in the urine, and feelings of urinary urgency and frequency. Untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Chlamydia is diagnosed with a culture or by identification of the genetic material of the bacteria. Treatment of chlamydia consists of a course of antibiotics.
Gonorrhea In Women
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted during sexual contact. In women, symptoms include a yellow vaginal discharge, burning or frequent urination, and redness, swelling, burning, and itching of the vaginal area. Gonorrhea can be treated with injectable (penicillin) or oral medications.
How Can I Treat Vaginitis at Home?
What Is Vaginitis? Learn whether you need antibiotics and what other treatments can help to relieve your symptoms.
How Do You Get Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is a common issue that affects many women. Learn the signs of bacterial vaginosis, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
How Long Does it Take for a Vaginal Suppository to Absorb?
Vaginal suppositories take between 15 and 30 minutes to dissolve and get absorbed into the body. The absorption of a vaginal suppository depends on several factors, including the type of suppository, active ingredient, pH and moisture level of the vaginal environment, and the size and shape of the suppository. The time for the absorption process of a vaginal suppository to complete can vary widely and is difficult to determine.
How Many Days Before a Period Do You Get Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman's menstrual cycle. Learn about vaginal discharge before a period, how many days you get discharge before your period, signs and causes of vaginal discharge, and when to see a doctor if there's a problem. Vaginal discharge is the fluid secreted from the uterus, cervix (neck of the uterus) and vagina. A thick yellow vaginal discharge may point to vaginitis (infection of the vagina).
Is a Yeast Infection Contagious?
Yeast is a fungus that has many types. A type of yeast that can cause infection in humans is called Candida. Candida can infect the mouth, vagina, penis, or other areas of the body. Symptoms of yeast infections depend on the area infected, however, may include itching, bumps on the skin, a reddish rash, or patches of skin that ooze a clear or yellow liquid. Most yeast infections are not contagious even though they are caused by a fungus.
Is It Normal to Have Discharge After Sex?
What is vaginal discharge? Learn the signs of vaginal discharge and what to do if you experience it.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women include gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HPV infection (genital warts). Learn about types, symptoms, and treatment.
Syphilis in Women
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral-shaped type of bacteria known as a spirochete. There are three stages of syphilis with distinct symptoms. During the first stage of syphilis, a painless ulcer is known as a chancre form. Irreversible organ damage can occur during the late stage of syphilis. Special blood tests are used to diagnose syphilis. Syphilis infection is treated with penicillin. Condom use can often prevent syphilis.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal pain with urination, vaginal discharge, odor, and itching. Treatment is generally OTC medications. A man can contract a yeast infection from his female sexual partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in men include penile itching. Treatment is with oral or topical medication.
Vaginitis (Inflammation of the Vagina)
Vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis can be caused by infections, menopause, or poor hygiene. Symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal itching, discharge, odor, pain, or discomfort. Treatment for vaginitis depends on the cause. Antibiotics may be necessary for some forms of vaginitis.
What Is Genital Herpes in Women?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include painful blisters and often fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes for the first outbreak. Genital herpes is diagnosed with lab tests to test for the presence of the virus. Treatment for genital herpes includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the outbreak or reduce the risk of future outbreaks. There is no cure for genital herpes. Condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
Yeast Infection vs. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV) both cause vaginal discharge. Yeast infection discharge is thick, white, and had a cottage cheese consistency. BV discharge is whitish-gray and is thinner. Vaginal odor, irritation, and pain may also be present. Treatment of yeast infections includes over-the-counter and prescription antifungals. BV treatment involves antibiotics.
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