Vagina Chronicles: Smell you later

A healthy vagina smells like a lot of different things — flowers aren’t one of them! There many products out there being sold promising flowery, sunshine smell down there. This clearly shows that the world just doesn’t understand vaginas at all.

Truth be told, your vagina is home to billions of bacteria. And the precise makeup of these bacterial inhabitants changes on a daily basis. Menstrual cycle, hormonal changes, emotional stress, and diet also affect odor. For example, foods with a strong odor, such as garlic or fish, can cause odor changes in the vagina1.

So what’s a normal odor versus an abnormal odor? It's normal for your vagina to have a slight odor- I mean look at wear it's located- hidden in the groin area which contains a collection of sweat glands.


Metallic: A metallic scent coming from your vagina is most common right before, during, and after you've had your period. This is the smell of your period blood, and totally normal2.

Musky: A musky scent typically means that you've been sweating a lot.

Not normal:

Fishy: This smell is often associated with bacterial vaginosis- a very common vaginal infection or trichomoniasis-the most common curable sexually transmitted infection3.

Rotten: This rotten odor that makes your nose wince and your face contort which means something is going on inside your vagina.

Gemina’s Recommendations:

  1. If the odor is accompanied by itching, burning, pain, discharge, and bleeding (when you’re not on your period) go see your medical provider.

  2. Subtle shifts in your vaginal odor are normal.

  3. Don’t douche! It upsets the normal flow of bacteria.

  4. Wash your external genital area using a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water.


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