Vaginal odor can change from day to day during the menstrual cycle. An odor might be especially noticeable right after having sex. Sweating also can cause a vaginal odor.
Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of bacteria typically present in the vagina. It's a common vaginal condition that can cause vaginal odor. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, also can lead to vaginal odor. A yeast infection usually doesn't cause vaginal odor.
Possible causes of unusual vaginal odor include:
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Poor hygiene
- A forgotten tampon
Less commonly, unusual vaginal odor may result from:
- Cervical cancer
- Rectovaginal fistula (an opening between the rectum and vagina that allows gas or stool to leak into the vagina)
- Vaginal cancer
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Feb. 25, 2022
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- Bacterial vaginosis — CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
- Douching. Office on Women's Health. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/douching.html. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
- Sobel JD, et al. Bacterial vaginosis: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
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- Toglia MR. Rectovaginal and anovaginal fistula. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
- Gershenson DM, et al. Genital tract infections. In: Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 14, 2022.