Smelly Vaginal Discharge

To a certain extent smelly vaginal discharge can be normal, but if the odor of your vaginal discharge has changed suddenly then it is important to determine what might be causing this change so you can get the medical help you need. If home remedies don’t improve the symptoms, seek medical help.

Causes of Smelly Vaginal Discharge

A healthy vagina will secrete an odorless discharge under normal conditions. In most cases this is a moist discharge from the cervix that helps to remove bacteria and is slightly acidic to keep away potential infectious materials. If this discharge takes on a fishy or foul odor, this can be a sign that something is wrong.




Gonorrhea is a very infectious sexually transmitted infection which will cause a green-yellow smelly discharge, increase in discharge lower abdominal discomfort or pain during intercourse. You have a 60-90 percent chance of developing this infection if you have unprotected sex with someone else that has it. If you do not treat this condition it can spread to the ovaries which can impact your fertility.

Yeast Infection

Almost 75% women experience a yeast infection at some point. This is known as candidal vaginitis which is caused by an overgrowth of the natural yeast that is found in the vagina. A yeast infection can cause a smelly, thick white discharge that looks like cottage cheese and causes itching.


Trichomoniasis is caused by an infection of the trichomonas vaginalis, which is becoming progressively less common. Trichomoniasis will cause a yellow-green, foul smelling discharge and also cause the area to become sore, itchy and difficulty passing urine. Many men are unaware that they have this condition as they do not show symptoms, which increases the risk of spreading this condition to their sexual partners.

Bacterial Vaginosis

When the vagina is invaded by anaerobic bacteria it can kill off the natural lactobacilli which can result in burning or itching as well as an increase in your natural vaginal discharge. Your discharge may take on a fishy odor, particularly after being exposed to anything that could increase your body’s pH such as semen or menstrual fluid.

Cancer or Inflammation

In rare cases an odor in the vagina may be caused by cervical cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Other Causes

New supplement, spicy foods or new laundry soap can alter the smell of your natural discharge. A poor reaction to latex condoms, tampons, pads or your partner’s semen can also result in poor vaginal odor.

Remedies for Smelly Vaginal Discharge

In many cases you can easily eliminate vaginal odors with a bit of home care. If your symptoms do not go away after 1-2 days or your symptoms start to get worse you should contact your doctor for assistance.

Take Daily Care

  • image002Wearing cotton panties will allow your vagina to breathe to avoid vaginal sweating that may lead to a buildup of bacteria that can cause an unpleasant odor. Remember to change underwear daily. Loose fitting clothes will also help your vagina to breathe so you will not experience a buildup of sweat.
  • Keeping the vagina clean is essential to avoiding infections that can lead to an unpleasant odor. Gently wash each day with mild soap or a hand held shower head to clean the inner folds and labia. Avoid douching as this can actually increase your risk of vaginal infection.

Try Homemade Remedies

  • image003Take Apple Cider Vinegar Bath. Apple cider vinegar can restore the proper level of acidity to the vagina to improve the vaginal flora and reduce your risk of infection.
  • Eat Plenty of Yogurt. Eating organic, unflavored yogurt that is not high in sugar will provide your body in lactobacillus that can restore your natural pH level in the vagina. This will also prevent yeast infections and other types of infections in this area.
  • Insert Garlic. Garlic is a powerful antibiotic. Inserting a peeled garlic clove into the vagina for a few hours will help to relieve an infection that is causing a poor vaginal odor.

Take Medications

  • image004If you are experiencing bacterial vaginosis you may be prescribed tinidazole, clindamycin or metronidazole which can be inserted vaginally or taken orally.
  • Those with gonorrhea will often be prescribed antibiotics such as Doryx, Rocephin, Zithromax or Suprax.
  • Trichomoniasis is often treated with metronidazole, though unresponsive cases will often be treated with tinidazole or antiprotozoals to help manage the itch.


You should also have your partner treated with this medication to ensure that you do not continue to pass the infection back and forth.

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