My vagina has a funny fishy smell. What is it?

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female gender symbolIt’s possible that you have bacterial vaginosis. However, you should make an appointment with your health care provider and get checked. Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal infection. Women at any age can have it – even teens and adult women who have never been sexually active, but it’s more common among young and older women who have had sex with one or more partners.

Although many women who have BV don’t have symptoms, the ones that do often complain of a fishy smelling vaginal odor and a milky-white, or gray vaginal discharge that’s either light or heavy. The odor can become worse at the time or your period or after unprotected sexual intercourse. When semen (male sperm) mixes with vaginal secretions, the odor becomes stronger. Less common symptoms include: vaginal itchiness, redness, and pain with intercourse.

There is treatment for BV, but you’ll need to see your health care provider first to be checked. If you have BV you’ll get a prescription for a vaginal cream, gel, or a medicine that you take by mouth. If left untreated, BV can cause a more serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you do have BV or another vaginal infection, you can lower the chance of getting it again by not having sex, using protection each time if you have sex, and limiting the number of sexual partners you have.