Vaginal odor is any odor that comes from the vagina. The vagina usually has only a mild odor or sometimes no odor at all. A "fishy" smell or other strong vaginal odor might mean there's a problem.
Conditions that cause a strong vaginal odor might also cause other vaginal symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.
If you have vaginal odor but have no other vaginal symptoms, it's unlikely that the odor is cause for concern. You may be tempted to douche or use a vaginal deodorant to decrease vaginal odor. But these products may actually make odor worse and cause irritation and other vaginal symptoms.
Feb. 25, 2022
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
- 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.
- Ferri FF. Cervical cancer. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2022. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
- Ferri FF. Vaginal cancer. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2022. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.
- 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.