Aa
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

embarrassing vaginal odor

I am 49 years old, I am not sexually active and have been for about 2 years experiencing  times during the day I smell a strong fishy odor coming from the vaginal area. I bath everyday, I have even started taking personal wipes with me to the restroom so that I can wash up during the day but nothing seems to stop the odor. I wear panty liners so that I can change them and the smell won't get in my clothes. My pap smears are normal. Even though my doctor says that they don't know what causes bacterial vaginitis, and there is no cure that will keep it from reoccuring, I find it  extremely embarrassing. I am more aware of the smell more when I get excited about something. If I go out of town, or go out to lunch, or even go to a meeting, anything that is different from my regular routine, I smell it. The episodes seems to be getting closer together, where else in the very beginning it may have been once every couple of months, not they seem to be ocurring more often. Please help me, what can I do?
Cancel
245 Answers
Page 1 of 13
Avatar universal
I agree with both Christie and Pandora. It never hurts to get a second opinion.  Be sure that the doctor tests you for all possible infections b/c even though you have not been active for 2 yrs does not mean you cannot carry bacteria for that period of time.  If the results do not return anything, try adding yougart to your diet.  I know it sounds weird but I personally feel that my vagina has more of a pleasant smell when I eat it..Just a thought..Good luck.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Every woman has a particular odor to her private parts--not all odors mean something is wrong.  

If you go to the doctor and have an exam and nothing is found, it could just be that this is your natural smell.  Anxiety may just be heightening your awareness of it.  You should not be douching unless it is recommended by your doctor.  All a normal woman needs to do is to wash with mild soap when showering, and keep the area clean and dry--wear cotton panties, and try not to wear pantyhose.  Excessive use of certain medicated wipes may also disturb your normal flora and worsen the problem.  
Sometimes wearing a panty liner can trap wetness against your skin and contribute to odor.  
Don't use those flowery feminine washes--you will feel "fresher" for a few minutes, but then you may be extra aware when your natural odor comes back (as it will)--thus getting yourself fearful that something is "wrong".

I'd say if you have recently been to the doctor, tests have been done that don't show an infection with anything, try the above suggestions and try not to worry so much.  Good luck!

Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
the pads will trap odors and make it worse. i know that happens to me after my period and i use one. the smell is worse. once the pad is removed it is a little better. we all do have some odor but i thought that foul odors from the vagina was a form of bacterial vaginosis? (an imbalance of bacteria that is normally found down there). it doesnt matter how much you bathe, clean, wipe, use feminine products...it is what it is.as christie said, try not to think and be aware of it so much. you may be more aware of it when you are at lunch, meetings because you are in a closer area rather than being outside or stores...and you may worry that if you can smell it others can too. im sure you are the only one that notices. however, there must be something out there that can help? this is pretty common from what i understand and you are not the only one. what about inquiring at a health store and asking one of the herbal specialists? i know someone who took some herbal pills that helped with body odors from within. it was a cranberry, citrus combo. hope you can find a solution but again, try not to focus on it so much.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I got the impression she had been to the doctor and had been treated and had recuring problems...

The point is for her to go and have an exam, and if everything is normal, do the things outlined.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi, from what I know, although I'm not a doc, a strong fishy odor coming from the vagina is bacterial vaginosis, which usually is treated with antibiotics.  I was diagnosed with this when I was pregnant with my 3rd child.  You can clean and bathe all you want and the smell is going to keep coming back.  Maybe you should find a new doc because I was told it's a bacterial infection, not sexually transmitted, and as a bacterial infection needs to be treated with an antibiotic.
Take care,
Pandora
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I AM NINETEEN YEARS OLD, AND I HAVE HAD A LOT OF SEXUAL PARTNERS, (7) TO BE EXACT. WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL I WAS MOLESTED BY MY GRANDMOTHER'S HUSBAND, AND I NEVER GOT HELP OR TOLD ANYONE. NOW THAT IM AN ADULT, I FEEL THAT BECAUSE OF BEING MOLESTED IT CREATED A TYPE OF MANIFESTATION; I HAVE THE URGE TO BE SEXUALLY ACTIVE WITH ALL OF THE MEN I DATE, I LIKE BEING DOMINANT AND CONTROLING. I WAS ON THE DEPO PROVERA SHOT FOR TWO YEARS STRAIGHT AND OCASSIONALLY USED CONDOMS. I'VE GOTTEN CHECKED BETWEEN EACH PARTNER AND HAVE HAD NO STD'S OR PREGNANCIES. I'VE HAD AN ODOR PROBLEM THAT I HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE OUT FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS! I'VE ASKED MY DOCTOR ABOUT IT AND IVE GOTTEN NO RESULTS. IS IT BECAUSE OF MY MULTIPLE PARTNERS? I GET A REALLY THICK DISCHARGE SOMETIMES, ACCOMPANIED BY THE ODER, AND I SHOWER 2X A DAY! PLEASE GIVE ME SOME SUGGESTIONS! MEDICATIONS? HOW I SHOULD BATHE, CLOTHING- ANY ADVISE WOULD HELP!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Thanks KDG, I tried eating some yogurt each morning and the odor seems to have disappeared. So far so good, and its been two weeks and no odor. THANK YOU- THANK YOU -THANK YOU
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
you're welcome.  glad I could help!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I too have been experiencing a weird vaginal smell in the last week. My boyfriend and I are really sexually active and we went a week of not having sex and that is when I noticed a "funky" smell.. is it because I have not been releasing any fluids like I normally do, or is it because we are too sexually active?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
well i am in the same boat as the 19-year-old,and i was molested too by more than one person when i was younger. i have had a lot of sexual partners,but i've had 9. now i have an embarrassing oder as well. i bathe regularly and it doesn't help. my doctor gave me a treatment for bacteria vaginosis but it didn't work. the sad thing is i CAN'T SMELL IT!!! no one will tell me directly that i smell like fish but they'll find some type of way to talk about fish! people can be SO cruel. as this problem goes on my self esteem is dropping but on the outside i continue to act like everything is o.k. i also have the thick white discharge,and just about every time i go to the doctor i get a diflucan pill!!i've been tested for every std in the book and i'm clean! i just don't know what else to do and i don't want to keep going to  the doctor because i don't have health insurance right now. somebody told me i should douche with yogurt!!??? could somebody please lend some credible advice?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I've had sex with 3 people and with the first 2 there was never any smell at all, but with my boyfriend now, there seems to be a bad fishy odor that wont go away.  Its is so strong when we are having sex, and then after, I go and wash with like, Summer's Eve, and the smell is gone, but when we have sex, the smell is back!  Strong as ever!  I tried the Summer's Eve douche and then washed, and the smell won't go away!  I was diagnosed with a yeast infection a few months ago, and it was treated.  I had another one and treated that too.  So, what's the problem?  I feel so bad when we have sex, because i know it smells horrible!!  Can anyone help out?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
hey dreamer24.  it souunds like to me you have a bacterial infection which is easily treated with the right medication from your doctor.  the catch to it is that your boyfriend needs to be treated for it as well b/c he can carry the bacteria in his scrotum and never have a symptom but will continue to pass it to you.  another thing i've been told by my doctor is that using those feminine clensing products can also cause worst infections b/c they tend to throw off your natural harmonal balance.  hope this helps
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I went to the doc this morning for the same reason!  My husband brought up that I have an odor.  I can't smell it, it's not an STD or a yeast infection.

My doctor confirmed that I don't have a yeast infection, but it may be bacterial.  She said that women need to make sure they're wiping properly (from front to back), use Dove soap for sensitive skin, and wash my undies in Dreft.  

The only time I don't have the odor is after one of my vinegar baths, but the smell returns soon after.

Good luck.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I, too, have a VERY strong vaginal odor, but have been checked year after year and have no infections or anything the doctor can find.  I don't smell until I become sexually aroused and then it's AWFUL!  He describes it as a strong smell of wood!  I don't know what causes this and am positive there is nothing wrong vaginally with me, such as infection, bacteria, etc.  I even take acidopholis pills to balance my natural bacteria.   We never smell it until I get excited and even though I have no ovaries, I still get extremely wet, as I always have....too wet! Does anyone else have this problem where they don't have an odor UNTIL they become excited?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Sorry about the above comment.

I'm 18 and i've noticed my vagina has a stench to it. It's not fishy like some problems are it smells kind of fecal, but not strongly of it. For instance i can't smell it on my finger after touching myself until my hand is about 5inches from my nose. And i have a boyfriend and asked him about it and e says he has noticed it since the first time we had intercourse about a month ago but i've notied it since a bit before that. Im not sure what to do i know its not Recto Vaginal Fistula because i've never had a baby or been pregnant nothing of the sort and like i said its not too too strong of a smell but im i don't know what to do about it. Can someone help?
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I use to have the same kind of problem that all of you have. I have found a way to stop the smell. After I was downthere in the shower, I take white vingar and put in a cup and then put some water with it and then rinse down there. You know it works. Plus I put just reagular deorant on there as well.Some may itch them, but I get a gentle one and use with the vingar rinse and I am order free all day
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I had that same problem for so long and just didnt even notice and i went for a pap and it was Vaginitis, she said it wasnt bad and gave me pills to take and it was gone just like that
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 22 years old and I have an awful smelling vagina.  It all started about a year ago, I slept with a woman, and ever since then I have had this problem. Never in my life have I smelled bad in any way, no matter what I used or who I slept with.  It smells like something dead, it's terrible and I am at my wits end with this.  I have done everything, I have done the iodine ******, gone with out sex, vinager baths, different soaps, different foods and I don't know what else to do. I have a kind of phobia when it comes to doctors, I just don't want to go.  I just need to know whether or not this sounds like something serious.  I have searched the web and every std I could find and none of them sound anything like what I have.  I have no other symptoms, I have no pain, no burning, no itching....nothing, except the smell and it's not fishy at all.  Sometimes my discharge will start white and turn to a yellowish color, and the smell usually gets worse when I use the dove mild soap.  Sometimes after I have sex, the smell gets worse, sometimes it don't  Please somebody I really need help with this!!!!  
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Go get tested for HPV precancerous changes onthe cervix
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Im 19 And Im Not Sexually Active Yet & Im Also Over Weight.. I Have A Problem With Wetness & Odor.. I Have No menstrual periods because i have polycystic ovarian disease(Cyst On My Ovaries).. I Take Showers Everyday.. After My Shower Theres No Odor, But as the day goes by so does the wetness and the odor.. I Could take A Shower & Wake Up & Have Some Wetness, Then It Just progresses throught the day. The Wetness Leave Dark Stains On My Underwear & I Been Having This Problems Since I Was Younger.. People Tell Me Its Normal For Some Discharge On Your Underwear & Im Wondering If Thats True & What Is Causing The Wetness And Odor?? Could It Be A Weak Bladder??
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Your Answer
Avatar universal
Answer
Do you know how to answer? Tap here to leave your answer...
Answer
Answer
Post Answer
A
A
Looking for a Doctor?
Shop for health care like an expert. Find the best doctors based on reviews from patients like you.
Women's Health Community Resources