Foul-smelling Vaginal Odor Symptom, Causes & Questions

Understand your foul-smelling vaginal odor symptoms, including 5 causes & common questions.

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  1. 5 Possible Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

5 Possible Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced foul-smelling vaginal odor. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an inflammation of the vagina due to overgrowth of the bacteria which are normally present.

It is not considered an STD (sexually transmitted disease) but nearly all cases are found in women after unprotected sexual contact, especially with multiple partners. Frequent douching is also a factor.

Male partners do not carry this condition, but it can spread between female partners.

Common symptoms include an itchy, foul-smelling discharge that may look grayish or greenish, as well as burning during urination. However, some women have no symptoms.

The greatest risks of bacterial vaginosis are secondary. The symptoms can be similar to actual STDs and so should not be ignored. This condition makes a woman more vulnerable to actual STDs, as well as to pelvic inflammatory disease and to infections following any gynecologic surgery.

Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis are at risk for premature or low-birth-weight babies.

Diagnosis is made through symptoms, and/or pelvic exam and vaginal swab.

Treatment consists of oral medication, and sometimes a cream or gel that is inserted into the vagina.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal odor, bloody vaginal discharge, white/gray vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Vaginal trichomonas infection

Trichomonas vaginalis infection (or "Trichomoniasis" or "trich") is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite of the same name. It affects over 3 million people per year, but only about 30% have any symptoms.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: vaginal discharge, vulvovaginal odor, vaginal itch or burning, vaginal bleeding, white/gray vaginal discharge

Symptoms that always occur with vaginal trichomonas infection: vaginal discharge

Symptoms that never occur with vaginal trichomonas infection: vaginal ulcer

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your foul-smelling vaginal odor

Yeast infection

Yeast infections are due to alterations in the balance of microscopic organisms in the vulvar and vaginal regions. The term "yeast infection" is most commonly used to describe symptoms caused by the fungus Candida albicans.

Symptoms include itching of the vaginal and vulva, burning, redness...

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Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia trachomatis is a type of bacteria best known for causing the sexually transmitted infection known simply as chlamydia. It is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with more than a million cases reported each year in the U.S. alone.

However, the sy...

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Atrophic vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis is a common condition that may affect up to 47% of postmenopausal women. It occurs due to low levels of estrogen which can be caused by menopause, medical treatments, and hormonal conditions, among other things.

Symptoms of atrophic vaginitis include vaginal dry...

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Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • When was your last menstrual period?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your foul-smelling vaginal odor

Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced foul-smelling vaginal odor have also experienced:

  • 32% Vaginal Discharge
  • 13% Yellow Pus Vaginal Discharge
  • 9% Vaginal Itch Or Burning

People who have experienced foul-smelling vaginal odor were most often matched with:

  • 50% Vaginal Trichomonas Infection
  • 37% Bacterial Vaginosis
  • 12% Yeast Infection

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your foul-smelling vaginal odor

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