The RSA Blog Blog Causes of a Fishy Vaginal Smell

Causes of a Fishy Vaginal Smell

Your vagina is filled with healthy bacteria that are a part of your microbiome and produce an odor that can vary during menstruation, pregnancy or after sex.

Normally, these odors are not considered a sign of a problem, but if you notice one that’s unusual or fishy-smelling, then it may be time to seek help from a doctor or gynecologist.

Bacterial vaginosis

This is the most common cause of a fishy vaginal smell, and it occurs when there are too many “bad” bacteria that disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria within the vagina.

It’s most common in women who are at a fertile age, and it can be triggered by sex or other factors. The symptoms of BV include a fishy vaginal odor, itching and discharge that’s white, grey, yellow or green in color, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Another cause of a fishy vaginal odor is trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can occur at any age and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, which can result in serious complications like preterm birth when pregnant.

The best way to avoid STIs and infections is to maintain good personal hygiene, including frequent urination and regular cleaning of the vagina with warm water. It’s also important to make sure you’re using condoms during sex. If you suspect you have a bacterial or trichomoniasis infection, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately to get the condition treated.

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