It is possible that during the menstrual cycle you have noticed that your vaginal odor changes, for example, it can become more intense when you have your period. These changes throughout the cycle are considered completely normal, but if you notice a bad vaginal odor or unusual discomfort, which is also accompanied by other symptoms, such as genital itching, a burning sensation or a different discharge, you may be suffering from a vaginal infection.

If this is the case, you have to go to the gynecologist for a review. Next, we explain the causes of this problem, as well as recommendations to avoid bad vaginal odor.

Causes of the most common vaginal odor

It is common that changes in the odor of the intimate area that are not typical of the menstrual cycle are due to a vaginal infection. For this reason, it is very important not only to identify other symptoms, but also the type of odor you perceive.

These are the most common causes that give rise to bad vaginal odor:

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition and is the most common vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 and 45. It occurs when there is an imbalance between the bacteria considered good, which live in the vaginal flora in a normal way and without causing any pathology, and those considered bad.

Keep in mind that the vaginal odor that results from this infection is similar to that of fish and you often notice it after having sex. In addition, it is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • White or grayish vaginal discharge.
  • Pain, itching and burning inside the vagina and in the vulvar area.
  • More burning when urinating.

If you want more information about this condition, read our article about bacterial vaginosis.

Candidiasis vaginal

Vaginal yeast infection is another common vaginal infection, in fact, it affects 70-75% of women at least once in their lives. It is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans , which lives in the vagina on a regular basis, but when there is an imbalance in the vaginal pH, its population can increase until it causes discomfort.

In these cases, the smell that is perceived is sweet and can be reminiscent of beer. In addition, other symptoms are common such as:

  • Aches, pain, itching, irritation, redness and rashes.
  • Burning, especially when urinating or having intercourse.
  • Watery or thick discharge, similar to cottage cheese.

These symptoms affect both the vagina and the vulva. Find out more about this condition in our article Vaginal Candidiasis: symptoms and treatment.


It is a sexually transmitted disease or STD, specifically caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. In addition to bad vaginal odor, other symptoms may appear, such as:

  • Greenish, grayish or yellowish discharge.
  • Itching or pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Picor o dolor al urinar.

In this article on trichomoniasis you have complete information about this condition and its treatment.

Inadequate intimate hygiene

Incorrect or infrequent cleaning of the genital area or the use of non-specific products for this area can increase the presence of bacteria and unbalance the natural flora of the vagina, causing an unpleasant odor.

It is important to note that, when cleaning the genitals, we should not focus only on the vulva but also on the anal area to achieve complete cleaning, 

In our article How to have good intimate hygiene, we share with you some recommendations so that you can achieve it. 

Wearing tight or wet underwear

Clothing that is too tight or wet exposes the genital area to warmer temperatures and more humidity than usual. Both conditions make it easier for fungi to multiply, which can give rise to an infection responsible for vaginal bad odor.

Finally, if in addition to bad vaginal odor you perceive other discomfort, go to the gynecologist as soon as possible. It is essential that you receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment in case of infection to avoid complications, especially if it is the first time it has happened to you or if, in the same year, it has happened more times.

In addition, it is important to take into account some recommendations to prevent vaginal odor and maintain a balanced intimate pH, so that you avoid these infections.

How to avoid bad vaginal odor: follow these tips!

By following these basic suggestions you will be able to prevent vaginal infections, keep your intimate pH balanced and avoid unpleasant odors.

Take care of your intimate hygiene to avoid infections

Wash your intimate area daily, including the anal area, in order to maintain hygiene. After going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the anal area from reaching the vagina.

Lastly, it’s important that you don’t douche unless your doctor tells you to. These types of products can alter the vaginal flora as they can eliminate the good bacteria that keep the area in balance, giving rise to discomfort and infections.

Use special hygiene products for the intimate area

Use specific soaps for the genital area, as they are designed to protect this delicate part of the body and avoid unbalancing its pH, while guaranteeing correct hygiene.

There are many options on the market, such as the Refreshing Intimate Gel and the Soothing Intimate Gel from the Durex Intima Protect range, which help soothe discomfort and bad odor caused by loss of balance, while promoting proper vaginal hygiene. 

If you suffer from discomfort during sex, use a lubricant

If, in addition to perceiving a bad vaginal odor, you suffer from other intimate discomforts such as pain during sex, it is recommended that you incorporate a prebiotic lubricant into your sexual routine that helps both to alleviate discomfort during sex and to balance the vaginal pH.

Durex Intima Protect Lubricant is a 2-in-1 water-based prebiotic lubricant that helps maintain a healthy, balanced pH and alleviates discomfort during sex by making it smoother. It is dermatologically tested and is suitable for vaginal, anal and oral sex, and for use with condoms. 

More tips to take care of your intimate area

  • Change your underwear daily or whenever you notice that it is damp or wet. Also, try to make it cotton, as this fabric promotes better perspiration in the area. 
  • If you wear panty liners, pads, tampons or a menstrual cup, change them often and keep in mind the time limit for use indicated on the product packaging so as not to exceed it.
  • It is advisable to use a condom in your sexual relations, especially if they are with different sexual partners, in this way you can prevent STDs such as trichomoniasis.
  • After sex, it is advisable to wash the intimate area with a product suitable for this area.
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