Everybody loves their signature trace, but you must have wondered, “why does my discharge smell sour?” This is because the vaginal flora contains various bacteria and yeast that keep our reproductive system healthy. As a result, an acidic pH is naturally found in the vagina, which may cause it to smell sour and musty. In this article, let’s discuss some possible reasons why your vaginal discharge smells sour.
Why Does My Discharge Smell Sour?
Vaginal discharge, also known as leucorrhea, is a fluid discharge from a woman’s vagina.
Every healthy vagina smells different as every woman has her unique perfume, and it’s an entirely natural element of her personality.
In general, this is not causing concern and does not indicate any problem with the body.
The cervical mucus is host to several natural microorganisms; these bacteria move down to the vagina, contributing to discharge smelling sour.
Why Does My Vagina Smell?
If your discharge smells for a long time, in combination with symptoms like pain, irritation, itching, and burning sensation, you might be facing a serious issue. Your vagina can smell because of the following reasons:
- Poor hygiene
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Forgotten tampon
- Urinary tract infections
- Hormonal changes
- Possible sexually transmitted disease
Types of Normal Vaginal Scents –
The following are all examples of normal vaginal scents in women:
The vagina possesses sweat glands. More perspiration may accumulate in the vagina during stress or physical exertion. It can produce a body odor-like smell when mixed with regular vaginal flora. The smell is unpleasant but not abnormal or hazardous. Consult your doctor if the odor becomes stronger and is accompanied by new symptoms or pain.
Human blood has a metallic scent due to the high iron concentration in blood. The vagina is densely packed with blood vessels, which can bleed easily due to penetration, irritation, or menstruation (periods). Therefore, a metallic odor in discharge is pretty common and normal. Consult a gynecologist if you notice a metallic odor coupled with symptoms like itching or increased discharge. It might be because of irregular uterine bleeding.
The bacteria in your vagina produce odors reminiscent of sweet, earthy soil or molasses. This type of smell is not caused for concern as it is typical of bacterial ecology.
Your vagina has beneficial bacteria that create lactic acid and other compounds that keep the vagina healthy. Due to this, the vaginal canal has an acidic pH which protects against harmful germs and other illnesses. It produces a sour and tangy odor, similar to mild vinegar or pickles. It is typical and reflects healthy vaginal flora.
Types of Abnormal Vaginal Odours –
Here are some abnormal vaginal odors to look out for:
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection characterized by an unpleasant vaginal odor. It can increase the likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia and is also harmful to your health. Moreover, it can harm pregnant women, increasing their chances of preterm labor.
In bacterial vaginosis, the pH of the vagina becomes basic due to the growth of harmful bacteria, leading to a fishy odor. It is important to consult your gynecologist and take the necessary medications.
Sometimes, your vagina might release a subtle odor of beer or yeast, a characteristic yeast infection smell. Although most yeast infections are not smelly, if this yeasty smell is accompanied by redness, burning sensation, pain, and itching, it is a matter of concern. You can buy over-the-counter medicines and visit your gynecologist for a check-up.
Tampons in your vagina for several days or more might smell rotten. This is due to the overpopulation of microorganisms in a restricted environment. If your tampon has been in for more than eight hours and you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
Vaginal discharge with ammonia odor could signify bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection. Other symptoms may include burning during urine, discharge that appears grey, green, or yellow, and itching. It is extremely important to visit your gynecologist. However, vaginal discharge may smell like ammonia when in contact with urine, as urine contains ammonia, so make sure it’s not a false alarm.
How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odour?
Vaginal odors are very common. But the unpleasant smell is not appealing. You can minimize unpleasant vaginal odors by following these steps:
- Showering and changing clothing immediately after any physical activity
- Wash the vaginal area with warm water and soft soap regularly.
- To prevent the attack of harmful microbes, use condoms during sexual activity.
- Choose your vaginal lubricant wisely. It should be free from irritating chemicals and odors.
- Wear sanitary napkins to manage your periods, as and when required.
- Consult your gynecologist and take medications as prescribed. Treating any infections will take care of the odor.
Even if sour-smelling vaginal discharge is typical, if the smell persists for a long time and is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, irritation, or you notice a different discharge, you should consult a gynecologist. This is because certain untreated infections can migrate into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing long-term complications such as fertility disorders.