What Do Yeast Infections Smell Like – How to Tell if You Have It

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Yeast infections are common genital infections in women that are pretty easy to recognize. While some women may experience a slight change in their vaginal smell, the abnormal smell is not the most common yeast infection symptom. If you have doubts about your genital health, continue reading this article for more information on recognizing the infection. By the end of this article, you will be able to answer the question; what do yeast infections smell like?

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What do yeast infections smell like?

Candidiasis is caused by an excess of yeast (Candida) in your body. For some women, this might mean some changes in the smell and texture of their vaginal discharge.

For example, some women rarely report a slightly sweet scent like honey or cookies. Others experience a more yeast-like smell than beer, bread, or flour. However, in most cases, the smell change is subtle and often non-existent.

A change in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge is a more common symptom of candidiasis.

In most cases, it will turn thick, chunky, and whiter. The discharge is many times described as cottage-cheese looking.

As mentioned, this discharge does not usually have a strong scent. If you are experiencing a foul or fishy smell from your vaginal discharge, you likely have another type of contagion.

7 common symptoms of yeast infection

What are the symptoms of nasty candidiasis?

Candidiasis can present different symptoms, but some more common symptoms are linked to candidiasis. These include but are not limited to:

  • Genital swelling
  • Burning or itching in the vulva
  • Pain during sex
  • Soreness or tenderness in the genital area
  • Thick, clumpy, white, and odorless secretion

These symptoms can be more or less severe in different individuals. If you have candidiasis, treating it as soon as possible is recommended to prevent the symptoms from getting more serious.

What is considered a typical genital smell?

It is usual for your vagina to smell, as it is a part of your body that sweats quite a bit and secretion is not necessarily odorless for all people. Genital scents are nothing to be ashamed of and can change during your menstrual cycle.

Different types of smell are considered normal and healthy for a vagina: tangy or sweaty, sour, slightly metallic, bittersweet, or bleachy. These different smells affect each person’s normal pH and diet.

Other smells

There are a variety of reasons why you might notice a strong smell coming from your discharge. For one, candidiasis is not the only type of contagion women can develop in their vaginas.

Additionally, there are other causes of genital smell. However, there are four common reasons:

Bacterial vaginosis: BV occurs when there is an overgrowth of one of the vaginal flora’s components. However, in this case, as the name shows, it is a bacteria, whereas candidiasis is linked to a fungus. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is usually accompanied by itching, burning, green, grey, or white discharge, and a strong “fishy” smell.

Trichomoniasis: a common and easily treatable STI, Trichomoniasis is often asymptomatic. However, presenting symptoms usually include frothy genital secretion that can be white, grey, yellow, or green, a disagreeable smell, vaginal spotting or bleeding, genital itching, burning, or swelling, urge to urinate frequently, and pain when urinating and pain during sex.

Forgotten tampon or menstrual cup: It’s not uncommon to forget your tampon or menstrual cup inside your vagina. It is usually accompanied by a rotting smell that is very strong, generally signaling a contagion.

If this happens to you, remove the tampon or menstrual cup immediately, and be wary of any symptoms such as a fever, headaches, confusion, diarrhea, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, etc., which will indicate it’s time to call a doctor.

Sweat: your vagina has many sweat glands and is enclosed in clothing most of the day, which means it’s very normal to sweat in that area. This can many times cause a pungent smell.

For this reason, taking care of your vaginal hygiene by washing and changing your underwear daily to avoid sweat accumulation and possible contagion is essential.

When to see a doctor

Although candidiasis is not severe in most cases and is usually treatable with over-the-counter antifungals, we might often confuse candidiasis with another more serious one. If you have an itchy or burning sensation in your vagina, you should visit your doctor.

Something will likely happen if you notice a firm, “fishy” smell. If you see changes in your discharges, such as grey, yellow or green coloration, it’s time to visit a doctor.

The faster you get a diagnosis of your yeast infection or any other condition you might have, the easier it will be to treat it and the quicker it will go away. Many women who have already experienced candidiasis can easily recognize the symptoms and cure their infection with over-the-counter medicine.

However, if this is your case and you find that the antifungals aren’t working this time, you might have a treatment-resistant yeast strain. In this case, visiting your doctor would be a good idea.

How to prevent vaginal odor?

As mentioned, vaginal odors are typical and something all women have. A slight musky smell is not a sign of concern or anything to be ashamed of.

However, to keep your natural vaginal odor to a minimum and care for your vaginal health, there are some measures you can take:

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing. Lose, breathable pants or skirts are best to allow airflow.
  • Always wear cotton underwear.
  • Wash regularly. Our vagina is self-cleaning, so warm water is enough to clean it. If you wish, you can incorporate fragrance-free vaginal products.
  • Avoid moisture accumulation: change out of sweaty clothes or wet bathing suits as soon as possible.

4 ways to prevent vaginal odor

Frequently Asked Questions

In most cases, candidiasis doesn’t cause a foul smell. However, suppose you are experiencing this and other symptoms you might associate with candidiasis (itching, burning, swelling, etc.).

In that case, you likely have bacterial vaginosis or another type of infection. It would be best to consult with a doctor to make sure and find the best treatment for your situation.

No, yeast infections can cause slight changes in your vaginal smell but should not cause a “fishy” smell. However, if you are experiencing this, you likely have another type of infection and should visit a doctor to make sure.

Itching is a common symptom of many different types of vaginal infections. If a foul smell accompanies that, it is likely a sign that you are experiencing an illness, and you should visit your gynecologist as soon as possible.

All vaginas smell a little, and trying to eliminate that smell could result in medical issues. It is normal to have a slightly musky or sweaty scent. Some people have a metallic smell, some smell like yeast, and some smell sour or bittersweet.

As long as you aren’t perceiving a foul or rotten smell coming from your vagina, there’s no need to worry.

Yeast is present in our body and is a common fungus in our vaginal flora. It is common for some people to sense a yeast-like smell when urinating or coming from their secretion.

However, if you don’t have any symptoms such as itching or burning in your vulva, it’s likely this is just your body’s typical smell.

There are no magical solutions for eliminating your natural vaginal smell. The best way to prevent a strong smell is to take care of your genital health.

Washing regularly, changing your underwear daily, avoiding tight clothing, wearing cotton underwear, and not wearing wet clothes for extended periods will help keep your vaginal odor to a minimum.

A slight smell in your vagina is entirely typical and shouldn’t be something anyone shames you about. All women have a certain amount of scent that varies during their cycle and depending on their diet.

It is vital to keep your vaginal hygiene in check to avoid a strong smell, but, likely, you won’t eliminate them.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.