What Exactly is That “Fishy” Smell?

There is a smell that is often associated with the vagina that is unnatural: that godawful fishy smell. For years I have heard both men and women mention the smell in conversations and in jokes and never understood what they meant until I had the unfortunate opportunity to smell exactly just what they meant. Most people that talk about the "fishy" smell often associate it with a woman's menstrual cycle and the smell of the blood that is produced from it, but that smell isn't normal for a healthy woman and the truth behind it needs to be exposed. So what exactly is that "FISHY" SMELL? I'm Glad you asked!

First, it has to be understood that the vagina has a smell all is own and is associated with woman's natural odor. The vagina will have a mild smell that shouldn't be detected outside of clothes, but if a strong smell is present that can be sensed when the wind passes by a woman' pelvis carrying the stench with it, then there is a problem.

There are three reasons why a woman's vagina can carry the rancid fishy smell:

Dear Aunt Flo

During the menstrual cycle, women lose a certain amount of blood and uterine lining that does carry a particular smell, but it isn't one that should be far off from a woman's natural body odor and it shouldn't be detectable through her clothes. If this blood is left to sit for too long, it can collect bacteria and begin to carry a smell that can repel a person several feet away. The best way to keep this from happening is for a woman to shower frequently during her cycle, keep the vulva clean between showers by using feminine wipes and change pads or tampons often.


When the pH level of the vagina are thrown off, infections can occur that come with itching, burning and an unpleasant odor. BV (bacterial vaginosis) is a common female infection that is caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina and is accompanied with a discharge and a fowl "fishy like" odor (can not be passed on to partners). The STD Trichomonas is also accompanied with a fowl smell (trich is infectious). Both of these STIs are curable and can be treated within 10 days of diagnosis if the medication is taken as directed.

Imbalance from using scented products

Those scented bubble bath, "vaginal deodorants" and scented pads and tampons smell great, but these products contain certain chemicals that can irritate the vagina and cause vaginal discharge, swelling and odor. Avoiding these product can prevent an unpleasant smell all together. Who ever thought something that smells so good can cause a bad odor!

You are what you eat

Everything that is put into the body filters out at some point during its processing.The foods we eat have an affect on the skin, the breath, the teeth and even the genitals. Certain foods have an affect on the taste and the smell of the vagina. Certain types of fish and green vegetables can cause the vagina to have more of a bitter smell, so drinking lots of water and experiment with these foods to determine which ones are better for you as far as balancing your pH.

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  • Dei

    Thanks for this article! We as women need more “real talk” like this. 🙂

    May 5, 2015 Reply
  • kim

    What about wearing a panty liner daily even at night I’ve never had a problem with them and i feel fresh

    August 22, 2015 Reply
  • Nino

    Stinky is good .seriously.Long as it doesn’t smell like pee, your good to go.The smell be offensive when your NOT aorsued, but when a guys horny they want the oder I promise.

    September 12, 2015 Reply

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