Smelly discharge is embarrassing. A smelly vagina can lead to a lack of sexual arousal, fear of intimacy and shame. Women need to understand what is causing the smell that’s emanating from their vagina.
There are different types of discharge, and these types dictate which treatment methods need to be followed.
Table of Contents
- Types of Discharge: 4 Colors and Their Meaning
- Causes for Smelly Discharge
- Treatment Options for a Smelly Vagina
- 5 Products to Help Eliminate Vaginal Odors
- 7 Natural Ways to Curb Smelly Discharge
- Everyday Ways to Help Eliminate Vaginal Odors
Types of Discharge: 4 Colors and Their Meaning
You may have white smelly discharge, or you might have brown smelly discharge. The color indicates different causes for the “smell.” The four main colors of discharge that may or may not smell are:
If you have yellow discharge, this doesn’t mean you’ll have bright yellow discharge. The color of the discharge is often a faint tint or an off-color. So, if your discharge may have a tint of yellow, or it may be darker.
You’ll be looking for the color even if it’s faint.
Causes for Smelly Discharge
The color of your discharge can be used as an indicator to the cause of your smell. Before you can properly seek treatment for your condition, you need to know what causes the smell in the first place.
Unusual discharge is often caused by one of six infections:
- Thrush: An overgrowth of yeast in the vagina that causes an infection.
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV): A bacterial infection.
- Genital Herpes: A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a virus.
- Chlamydia: An STI caused by bacteria.
- Gonorrhea: An STI caused by bacteria.
- Trichomoniasis: An STI caused by a parasite.
But there are other reasons for abnormal discharge, too. A foreign object stuck in the vagina can lead to increased discharge, such as a tampon. Douching, meant to clean the inside of the vagina, can cause discharge, too.
The coloring of the discharge provides a few indicators of what may be occurring.
1. White Discharge
White discharge is normal, but when it thickens or starts to smell, there’s an issue. The definition of “white” is used loosely. The discharge may be:
- White or grey
- Thin and/or watery
Bacterial vaginosis, or BV for short, is often the cause of smelly white discharge. A bacterial imbalance in the vagina is the cause of BV. This is a common occurrence in women, and itching and irritation aren’t associated with BV.
Intercourse may trigger BV. It’s important to note that this isn’t an STI.
Antibiotics are the normal treatment option for BV. If you’ve had BV in the past, there is a good chance it will present after treatment.
Thrush isn’t smelly, but it is accompanied by itchiness and soreness with white chunky discharge. Antifungal medication can help alleviate the itchiness and soreness.
2. Yellow Discharge
Yellow smelly discharge can be:
If you notice froth, yellow or green discharge, there is a good chance that you have trichomoniasis. This is a condition that is associated with vaginal soreness and itching. Painful intercourse or urination can be accompanied with this condition.
Antibiotics are needed to get rid of the yellow discharge.
BV can also consist of a yellow discharge with an odor. Gonorrhea can result in cloudy or yellow discharge, but a foul smell isn’t associated with the condition.
Cervicitis is inflammation at the end of the cervix. This inflammation or swelling is known to cause yellow discharge, and pus is often present, too.
3. Brown Discharge
Brown discharge is common before, after and during a period. Women that take contraceptive pills often have a smelly brown discharge. This discharge is most common before a period when it’s associated with a contraceptive.
The brown discharge is due to old menstrual blood leaving the body.
You may be suffering from conditions mentioned previously, such as:
Brown discharge can be caused by HPV or cervical cancer. This requires medical attention to help medicate the condition.
In a lot of circumstances, the brown discharge is normal. If the discharge occurs right before or after your period, this is natural and is a result of your menstrual cycle.
A lot of women that suffer from this smelly discharge have forgotten a tampon in their vagina. This is a serious issue, but if it’s caught early enough, there’s no need to worry. You’ll want to do the following if you use tampons:
- Feel inside of the vagina for a tampon
- Remove the tampon if present
If you have pain or bleeding, you’ll want to consult with a doctor immediately to ensure there isn’t another underlying issue at play.
Toxic shock from leaving a tampon in your vagina for too long can occur. This is a serious condition which requires immediate medical attention.
Other reasons for smelly brown discharge include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Genital warts
- Cysts, fibroids or polyps
- Cervical cancer
- Intrauterine devices
Foul smells aren’t associated with the conditions above, but they will cause brown discharge. The smell can be something as simple as a lack of proper hygiene.
4. Pink Discharge
Pink smelly discharge may be pregnancy. Women who are newly pregnant will undergo a major change in their hormonal balance, and the menstrual cycle will change, too. Women that are trying to get pregnant may notice pink discharge that smells due to the man’s semen entering the vagina and drying.
Semen will alter the smell of the vagina and cause light discharge.
If you have pink vaginal discharge, this can be caused by a slight removal of dried blood following menstruation. The presence of pink vaginal fluid can also be:
- After birth Bleeding
If you’ve recently given birth and notice a pink discharge that smells, it may be after birth bleeding. This is often pushed out during labor, but there’s a chance that the tissue is expelled for a few days after birth.
Heavy discharge that’s more consistent with bleeding needs to be diagnosed by a doctor.
Infections can cause pink discharge. The infection may persist in your:
- Fallopian tubes
An undiagnosed STD may be the cause of the pink fluid and accompanying smell. Contraceptives may cause an interruption in your natural cycle, and this interruption leads to spotting that can be smelly, too.
Treatment Options for a Smelly Vagina
Treatment for a smelly vagina is tricky. Sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections and infections are best treated through medication as directed by your doctor. Hygienic issues can be treated at home, and this is what we’ll be covering in our treatment section.
We highly advise that you consult with a doctor to ensure that you don’t have an infection or disease.
5 Products to Help Eliminate Vaginal Odors
Smelly discharge can be serious, or it can be a hygiene issue. You’ll need proper medical treatment for all the causes discussed previously. But you can use a few products to eliminate vaginal odors and help with odors from specific conditions.
A few products that are easily accessible and work wonders are:
1. Poise Fresh Care Femme Wash
Poise Fresh Care Femme Wash offers daily freshness for your feminine parts. This wash is naturally hypoallergenic, and it works to remove odors. Paraben-free and glycerin-free, this product is PH balanced and tested by gynecologists.
What’s nice about this wash is that it works.
Users will find that the wash lasts all day – you’ll be odor-free – and it is very moisturizing, so your skin will be soft.
Simply use this wash every morning for best results.
2. Organic Peppermint Soap Bar
Power Clean Soap is an all-natural, organic soap that works wonders on odors of all kinds. Athletes use this soap to smell good all day long, and its rejuvenating properties are provided through key essential oils.
This soap’s ingredients include:
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Peppermint leaf
Peppermint is a natural healer, and its scent masks discharge odors and keeps users smelling good all day long.
3. Balance Activ Vaginal Gel
Balance Activ gets to the root of your smelly discharge problem. This is the first product we’re discussing that offers help for pH problems. What’s special about this product is that it offers:
What does this product detect and treat? Vaginal pH problems. Users will use the pH vaginal swabs to determine if there is a pH imbalance in the first place.
If you find that you have an imbalance, you’ll use the gel to treat and prevent bacterial vaginosis. This clinically proven gel neutralizes vaginal odor, and it helps with the discomfort and abnormal discharge you’re suffering from.
This gel helps restore the body’s natural pH and flora.
People use this product along with antibiotics to clear up their BV, and it also prevents future occurrences of BV.
4. Beauté FemMist
Beauté FemMist offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This is an odor neutralizer, and it’s designed to naturally balance a person’s pH levels. This product doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or bleach.
Bacteria is killed with each mist, allowing for the foul odor to be eliminated.
BV and yeast infections are targeted with this product. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this product is used to treat skin infections and itchiness, too.
5. Candida Cleanse
The Candida Cleanse is the final product on our list, and this product targets two of the main causes of smelly discharge:
- Yeast infection
When users take these capsules, they’ll remove candida and yeast in their system. This works by starving the yeast and repopulating the GI tract with healthy bacteria that helps clean the gut. Toxins in the body will be flushed out along with parasites and debris that promotes yeast growth.
All-natural, these pills contain potent ingredients:
- Oregano leaf extract
- Caprylic acid
- Aloe Vera gel
- Wormwood extract
- Reishi mushroom
- Black walnut hull powder
- Anise seed
These are just a few of the many potent ingredients found in Candida Cleanse.
7 Natural Ways to Curb Smelly Discharge
Wondering how to get rid of smelly discharge naturally? You can eliminate odors using homemade remedies with great efficacy. The first step is to determine the root cause of the smell.
We recommend seeking a doctor to help determine what is causing your smell.
Often times, the cause of the smell is a yeast infection. You don’t need to sit in silence while your self-esteem and sex life diminish. A few of the many natural remedies you can use to help combat the smells and find relief include:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a product found on most store shelves. This product is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic, and it helps fight vaginal odors. You can use this product in two main ways:
- Drink it
- Bathe in it
When taking a bath in apple cider vinegar, you’ll help destroy the toxins in the body and the bacteria that’s causing the vaginal odor, too. What most people don’t know is that ACV destroys the bad bacteria while restoring the vaginal flora, leading to an environment that promotes health and staves off yeast growth.
A little yogurt goes a long way in helping boost your body’s immune system, and is a potent way to treat vaginal odor. There is one special substance inside of yogurt that helps combat odor:
- Lactobacillus bacteria
Lactobacillus bacteria helps fight candida, which is one of the main reasons for vaginal odor. Yogurt also helps restore the body’s natural pH levels. Users should eat two cups of yogurt per day for best results.
You want to consume plain yogurt, as bacteria feeds on sugar.
Some women will soak their tampons on yogurt and leave it in their body for a few hours to alleviate symptoms and help restore bacteria levels in the vagina.
If you chose this path, ensure that you rinse the area thoroughly after removing the tampon.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an antifungal that is used in a variety of home remedies. The great thing about this essential oil is that it has powerful antiseptic properties. Vaginal odors can’t compete with the antiseptic power of tea tree oil.
When using this oil, you’ll want to:
- Fill a cup with water
- Add 3 – 4 drops of tea tree oil to the cup
Mix the solution up, and rinse the area with the mixture multiple times per day. You don’t want to drink this oil.
If you use tampons, soak the tampon in olive oil and then place tea tree oil on the tampon before insertion. You’ll want to leave the tampon in for an hour or more before removing. You can do this multiple times per week for best results.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a powerful pH balancer. Vaginal odor is caused by an imbalance in pH levels. What baking soda does is help to balance the body’s pH level so that the odor dissipates. If you like to take baths, you can simply:
- Fill the tub with water
- Add a half cup of baking soda to the water
Now, sit back with a nice book and soak in the tub for 15 – 20 minutes. When finished, you need to get out of the tub and make sure that you dry yourself off completely. This is a process you can follow every day until you find relief.
5. Water, Water and More Water
Hydration is often overlooked when a person has vaginal odor or an infection. Drinking ample amounts of water helps the body flush out infections and helps to eliminate bacteria, too. Mucous membranes in the vagina need proper water levels to remain hydrated.
This water will help lubricate the vagina so that the smell diminishes.
If you have vaginal odors or an infection, aim to drink a gallon of water per day for best results. The more water you drink, the better (within reason of course).
6. Neem Oil Extract
Neem oil, or neem bark, has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. This extract helps the body balance the intestinal flora, and it helps fight off infections, too. Studies found that this oil can help fight:
While you still want to go to a doctor to have proper medications prescribed for these STDs, you’ll find that neem oil helps fight off symptoms.
Keep in mind that this extract was taken in tablet form and not in liquid form.
7. Vinegar and Salt Bath
A salt and vinegar bath can help to restore the vagina’s pH levels and eliminate odors. This natural remedy is easy to add to your daily routine.
- Add a cup of white vinegar into a hot bath
- Add a half a cup of salt into the bath
Relax, sit back, and allow the bath to restore the body’s pH and eliminate odors. Keep in mind that this is a good short-term solution that will keep odors away for only a short period of time.
If you combine the many methods above, you’ll find that the results are amplified, which allows you to eliminate the smell and discomfort you’re dealing with.
Everyday Ways to Help Eliminate Vaginal Odors
There are simple ways to keep vaginal odors at bay. Many of these methods also help eliminate smells.
- Wear Loose Clothing: Loose clothing and cotton underwear will help eliminate vaginal odors. Tight clothing restricts airflow, causing sweat and moisture build-up. Cotton has wicking properties and promotes airflow.
- Change Underwear Twice a Day: If you want to stop bacteria from continuing to grow, you’ll need to change your underwear twice per day. Cotton underwear is recommended. If you change your underwear more often, you’ll help combat bacteria growth and smells.
- Stop Douching: Douching has a bad reputation, and this is because when you use a douche, you’re removing the good bacteria in the vagina. The good bacteria help ward off infection and prevent toxic buildup in the body.
- Lose Weight: If you’re overweight, you’ll find that losing weight can help eliminate smells. Many women who are overweight sweat more than normal, and the extra moisture will lead to bacteria growth. Healthy eating and lifestyle choices curb sweat and promote an overall healthy body.
- Maintain Proper Hygiene: Proper hygiene is necessary to keep odors away. Shower every morning and change your clothes. Don’t forget to shower after going to the gym and take a bath, as recommended above, to ensure that you’re killing off the odor-causing bacteria.
Scented soaps are a big no-no. Shower with unscented soap, and don’t be afraid to rinse the vagina. If you fail to rinse properly or fail to really rinse the vagina and labia, you’ll be promoting smells.