STDs Expert Forum
Secretions and Odors
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Secretions and Odors

My girlfriend and me have been dating for 2 months now. (right after I
got my testing). This started couple of weeks back. I usually see her
in the weekends (long distance relationship). What we see is that when
we are having sex nowadays, there is this strong odor coming from her
vaginal secretions. The odor is almost like the one we get when faeces
mixes with water or something like it. We thot that this was because
of her hightened sexual energy she is secreting some fluids from her
rectum. I am fine with this, but she gets totally turned off and feels
very bad and embarrased about it. We are not having any kind of anal
sex at all. She has never has that kind of odor coming from her
previous sexual relations. And this leads to me thinking, is it
because of me? This strong pungent odor remains for couple of days and
goes away when we are not having sex. There are no rashes or other
discharges from either of us, only this pungent odor which comes from
all the secretions on her vagina or did it flow down from her rectum?.
We both have got our STD testing before we met and we were 'clean' when we got together. And FYI we are not
using a condom. Will using a condom prevent it? Did we contract any
disease? Is it me? Do I do something about it?
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Your partner probably has bacterial vaginosis; trichomoniasis is also possible but less likely.  The odor of BV or trich is typically described as fishy, not like feces (but smells are very subjective).  Another typical aspect of your story is that the odor of BV or trich often is most noticed after sex.  (Semen is alkaline, i.e. high pH, which makes the chemicals responsible for the odor more volatile--so they some out of solution in vaginal secretions and escape into the air.  Other things that can cause vaginal odor with or without discharge are a foreign body in the vagina, especially a forgotten tampon; or, in rare circumstances, other infections or a fistula (abnormal passageway) between the vagina and rectum.

Your partner should see her gynecologist or other health care provider, such as your local STD or family planning clinic.  Treatment is available and effective.  If it is BV, you won't require examination or therapy; but if trichomoniasis, you also will need treatment.  Trich is sexually transmitted, but BV is not (usually).  However, either infection is more common in people at risk for STD--so your partner's health care provider should also test her for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Good luck--   HHH, MD
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This Forum's Experts
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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