discharge smell like vinegar

Why does my discharge smell like vinegar

Billions of bacteria reside in your vagina, and the specific make-up of these bacteria is constantly changing, sometimes even hourly.

Moreover, the sweat glands in the crotch are a collection and can release a variety of fragrances. Your menstrual cycle, your hygiene routine, or just you being you are probably to blame for these fragrance fluctuations.

A vinegar-like, sour, or pungent perfume is one of the scents that ladies encounter most frequently.

Keep on reading to find out why your discharge smells like vinegar, and other vaginal scents will be discussed in this article, along with their significance.

Discharge from the vagina that smells like vinegar

It is typical for vaginal discharge to have a variety of different smells outside of vaginal infections, which can alter the smell of discharge and cause other symptoms. The majority of them are unimportant, so you shouldn’t try to completely purge your vagina of all odors.

The healthy bacteria in your vagina create lactic acid and other compounds that keep the vagina in good condition. A little vinegar, pickle, or sauerkraut aroma is produced as a result, which is somewhat sour in flavor. Having healthy vaginal flora explains this, which is typical. The vaginal canal’s acidity guards against harmful germs and other illnesses.

This means that, if you have small vagina discharge that smells like vinegar then it may be normal but you should be concerned when it becomes copious and persistent.

Other vagina smells and what they mean

Fishy smell

The term “fishy” is frequently used to describe odd vaginal scents. A substance that is found in rotting food and vaginal infections is what gives off the stink. The most frequent causes of a rotting fish odor may be bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, or other STIs. A softer fishy odor may be caused by a yeast infection.

Vaginal infections frequently come with accompanying symptoms including itching, burning, or soreness, as well as a discharge that is white, green, yellow, or gray. In rare instances, a tampon that has been left in for too long may be the cause of a strong decaying odor.

Menstrual discharge that smells strongly like decaying food may be the result of a uterine infection. Strong odors or any other infection-related symptoms should be reported to a healthcare professional.

Bread like smell

A yeast called candida overgrows and causes yeast infections. Yeast is typically found in little concentrations in people’s mouths and intestines. Yeast is present in the vagina of healthy women. However, occasionally this yeast overgrows and results in a yeast infection.

The discharge has a cottage cheese appearance. You may detect a thick white coating in and around your vagina if it is really thick.

Metallic smell

Blood smells metallic because it contains a lot of iron. Due to the vagina’s abundance of blood vessels, puncture or irritation may cause it to bleed easily in addition to regular monthly flow. See a doctor to rule out causes for irregular uterine bleeding if a metallic scent ever appears along with symptoms like itching or increased discharge.

Other less common but more significant causes of vaginal bleeding may also have a coppery odor. Once your menstruation is finished, the metallic smell shouldn’t stay for too long. Your vagina’s pH level could change and give off a metallic odor if semen has been in contact with it.

Sweet smell

The bacteria that inhabit the vagina can also produce smells that are similar to molasses or sweet, earthy dirt. This is characteristic of the normal bacterial flora and is not cause for alarm.

Body odor

Similar to the armpits, the vagina has sweat glands. More perspiration may accumulate in the vagina during stressful or physically demanding occasions. When it combines with the typical vaginal flora, it can produce a smell that resembles body odor but is neither toxic nor atypical.

Speak with a healthcare professional if the scent gets worse, doesn’t go away, or is accompanied by any new symptoms or pain.

Chemical smell

Even though it’s totally typical for vaginal discharge to smell like ammonia, this isn’t the real explanation. When urine is stronger, it often smells like ammonia and is a waste product. Make sure you are genuinely smelling discharge and not urine if you believe your discharge to smell like chemicals or ammonia. Consult a doctor if your discharge actually does smell chemically.

This type of smell in the vaginal discharge may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). These typically involve additional signs and symptoms including itching, gray, green, or yellow discharge, and burning while urinating.

Onion or garlic smell

You can excrete an onion or garlic scent in your urine after eating a lot of onions or garlic, and your vaginal discharge may briefly change in fragrance as well. Your discharge, vagina, and urine should smell normal again 24 to 48 hours after eating these strong meals.

Sour or stale smell

One of the most typical causes of vaginitis is trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that can result in an offensive discharge. It is brought on by a protozoan, or microscopic, one-celled animal, called a trichomona.

Rotten meat smell

It’s unlikely to be your vagina. Almost always, or usually, an old, rotting retained tampon causes a strong odor like something died inside. You should visit a doctor to make sure the entire tampon is located and removed, as well as to find out whether you require additional treatment if the tampon has been left in place for days or longer.

How to get rid of foul smells or odor

If you have an infection that is causing vaginal odor, curing the ailment will also take care of the odor. It is feasible to safely reduce vaginal odor without upsetting the delicate balance of vaginal flora if you experience vaginal odor due to normal sweat gland output. Options for treatment will be more effective if the reason of the scent is discovered.

Even though they are still widely used, OTC treatments for vaginal odor might disturb the normal flora in the vagina and make it simpler to contract infections or STIs.

Safe methods to reduce unpleasant scents include:

  • Clean your genital area on a regular basis with warm water and mild soap.
  • When engaging in sexual activity, use condoms to stop the spread of germs or other STIs.
  • Use a vaginal lubricant free of fragrances and other irritants.
  • Only use liners or pads when absolutely necessary to regulate your menstrual cycle.
  • Showering and changing into new clothing immediately following physical activity


Explore your vagina thoroughly without hesitation. You’ll be better prepared when something goes wrong if you have a better understanding of the odors your vagina often produces.

If your vagina discharge smells a bit like vinegar, then it may be normal, but if it is copious and persistent then you should talk to your doctor.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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