The vagina produces a lot of secretions with different odors, some of them are normal and acceptable, and others are foul-smelling. The smell of vaginal secretions depends on a large number of factors, including menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause, or an infection in the vagina.

Vaginal secretions with a strong odor bother women a lot, and cause them great embarrassment, especially among married women. In this article, we review the different ways to treat foul-smelling vaginal secretions.

The smell of vaginal secretions

It is very necessary for the health and moistening of the vagina, and its protection from diseases, as it helps to periodically expel dead cells and germs from the vagina.

The smell of vaginal secretions reflects the health status of the female reproductive system. Acceptable natural odors such as acidic or molasses indicate the integrity of the vagina, while unpleasant-smelling vaginal secretions such as the smell of fish are a sign of a woman’s illness that requires treatment. (3)

Causes of foul-smelling vaginal discharge

The smell of the vagina may differ slightly on the days of the menstrual cycle. We find that it tends to smell of metals such as copper, and also after childbirth, or after intercourse, but these smells soon disappear without any intervention from the woman, especially with showering and cleaning the vagina with running water.

However, there are strong and pungent foul-smelling vaginal secretions that tend to have a fishy or moldy smell. Among the causes of foul-smelling vaginal secretions are the following:

  • Bacterial infection, as in the following diseases:
    • Bacterial vaginosis.
    • and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Not changing sanitary pads and tampons regularly during menstruation, which is one of the main causes of foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Neglecting to clean the vagina. (2)

Treating foul-smelling vaginal discharge

The treatment of foul-smelling vaginal discharge depends on the correct diagnosis of the condition causing that pungent odor, so the doctor often prescribes antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection, and they are either oral tablets, or topical creams for the vagina.

The types of medicines to treat unpleasant-smelling vaginal secretions in girls and wives alike are summarized in the following:

  1. metronidazole;
  2. clindamycin;
  3. tinidazole;

Foul-smelling vaginal secretions may also result from women’s hormonal changes, such as during menstruation, menopause, and other natural fluctuations in the level of hormones in the body. They are available as topical creams or oral tablets.

Women are also recommended to stop sexual intercourse until the foul-smelling vaginal secretions are completely eliminated, to avoid transmission of infection to the other party, and this step is one of the most important steps in treating foul-smelling vaginal secretions for married women. (1)(4)

Wrong ways to treat vaginal discharge and bad odor

Women exchange false information among themselves about how to deal with foul-smelling vaginal secretions, as these methods lead to an imbalance in the natural bacterial balance of the vagina, which causes an increase in the problem. Among these methods are the following:

  1. Vaginal douche: Vaginal douche should not be used to wash the vagina from the inside at all, except in the necessary cases prescribed by the doctor only. Douching works to eliminate harmful and also beneficial bacteria that live inside the vagina and that fight infection.
  2. Putting food in the vagina: Some women put garlic powder, cheese, or yogurt inside the vagina, with the aim of treating foul-smelling vaginal secretions, food will do nothing but disturb the vagina, and may cause sensitivity and itching for the entire area.
  3. Using perfume: Women use scented personal paper products, creams, and soaps to wash the vagina and the area around it. Perfumes irritate the skin of the vagina and alter the bacterial balance as well.

Women are advised to completely stay away from the aforementioned methods, and go to the doctor to treat the unpleasant-smelling vaginal secretions that are appropriate for their condition. (1)(3)