Admittedly, we’re all a little self-conscious when it comes to the smell of our nether region. But the fact is; having vaginal odour is completely normal. Your vagina is home to billions of bacteria that are constantly fluctuating. Add to the situation, a collection of sweat glands in the vicinity, an ever-changing diet, your hormonal cycle, and we think you’ll agree there’s a lot of potential for different vaginal odours to occur.

Chances are the scents you’re smelling are completely normal. But, if you’ve caught a whiff of something that isn’t quite your normal, it could be related to one of these causes.

You have a bacterial infection

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina that disrupts vaginal microbiome and vaginal pH. BV usually occurs in people who are sexually active and those who engage in douching practices.

Smells like: Decomposing fish.

How to fix it: If your funky smelling vagine is the result of BV, antibiotics will be your new best friend. Check in with your doctor for a script before visiting your local pharmacy for the goods.

You’ve forgotten to remove a tampon

Trust us when we say this happens more often than you’d think. Perhaps you popped a “just in case” tampon in at the end of your cycle and forgot to remove it. Or, perhaps you inserted a second tampon without removing the one that was already in. We’re all guilty of being forgetful at times and unknowingly leaving in a tampon is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Smells like: Putrid or rotten meat.

How to fix it: No rocket science here – the tampon needs to be removed. Visit your doctor or pluck the tampon out with your own bare hands.

You’re sweaty down there

Oh, girl, props for working out, you motivated thang! But, if your workout has left you stumped trying to ‘work out’ the cause of the smell erupting from your netherland, the answer may be more obvious than you think. Chances are you have some sweat trapped down there.

Smells like: Musk, musk, baby.

How to fix it: Have we introduced you to our guide on how to clean your vagina, yet? Thank us later.

You had sex without a condom

We know you and your partner ain’t nothing but mammals. But when you do it like they do on the Discovery channel, you may notice a slight change of fragrance in your underpants. It’s a completely normal side effect of sharing bodily fluids (namely, sweat and semen) during sex.

Smells like: Tangy or fermented. IPA beer, anyone?

How to fix it: Typically, the foreign smell should clear itself up within a few days.

You have your period

You may have already tapped into the fact that pussy odour is stronger when you have your period. Blood has a high pH that can throw your vaginal microbiome out of whack, resulting in a change of scent. Just another perk of being a woman, are we right?

Smells Like: Copper, metallic, or like coins.

How to fix it: Wait it out, the smell will pass when your period ends.

You have urine in your underwear

Turns out, your vulva may not be the lead culprit. Residual urine in underwear is common, especially for women who experience incontinence, or extreme levels of uncontrollable laughter (we’ve all been there). Keep in mind that pee smelling strongly of ammonia can be a sign of dehydration – pour yourself a glass of H20, pronto!

Smells like: Chemicals, bleach or ammonia.

How to fix it: Since the smell is caused by external factors, a shower and change of clothing should do the trick. If the odour persists, see your doctor.

You have trichomoniasis

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again; sex is fun, but gawd there are some risky consequences. Case in point; trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a tiny parasite that travels from person-to-person during sex. Apart from foul-smelling vaginal discharge, this nasty STI also causes itchy genitals and painful peeing. If you were looking for contraceptive advice; knowing that trichomoniasis exists in the world may well be it!

Smells like: Pungent fishy odour.

How to fix it: Book an appointment with your doctor for a dose of antibiotics.

This blog is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.