Understand the Cause | Vagina Smell Fishy | When to Seek Medical Advice

Although unpleasant, a fishy vaginal odor is nothing to be embarrassed about. In most cases, a fishy smell from the vagina is no cause for concern either and is easily solved with some effective home remedies.

When additional symptoms like itching, discharge, or discomfort while peeing occur in conjunction with a fishy genital odor, home remedies can also help to speed up your recovery along with the required medical treatment. 

Read on, to discover the best and most effective home remedies for a fishy vaginal odor. 

The 6 Best Home Remedies for Fishy Vaginal Odor

Fishy vaginal odor can be an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing issue that many women face. While it's essential to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, there are several home remedies you can try to alleviate the issue.

Here are some of the best home remedies for tackling fishy vaginal odor.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which can help fight off the bacteria causing a fishy vaginal odor. You can add two cups of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath and soak for about 20 minutes. The vinegar can help neutralize odors and restore the natural pH balance of your vagina. However, be cautious if you have sensitive skin, as vinegar can be irritating.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help restore a healthy bacterial balance in your vagina. Eating a cup of unsweetened yogurt daily can help combat vaginal odor from the inside out. Some women also apply yogurt directly to the vaginal area, but this should be done cautiously and preferably under medical advice, as introducing new substances can sometimes worsen the condition.

3. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a popular choice for treating various infections. To use tea tree oil for fishy vaginal odor, mix a few drops with water and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball. 

4. Garlic

Garlic is another natural remedy known for its antibacterial properties. Consuming raw garlic or adding it to your meals can help fight off the bacteria causing the odor.

5. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are often used in traditional medicine to improve menstrual health and balance hormones. To use fenugreek for vaginal odor, soak one teaspoon of the seeds in a cup of water overnight. Strain the water and drink it on an empty stomach in the morning. 

6. Probiotics

Probiotics are another excellent option for tackling fishy vaginal odor as they help restore the natural balance of good bacteria in the gut and vagina. These beneficial bacteria can outcompete the odor-causing bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy vaginal environment.

You can either consume probiotics through fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir or take a probiotic supplement specifically designed for vaginal health. One such option is Flora Bloom by Intimate Rose, which is formulated to promote optimal vaginal flora and pH. Taking a daily probiotic supplement like this can be a convenient and effective way to manage vaginal odor and overall vaginal health.

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How To Understand the Cause of A Fishy Smell From Your Vagina

For better understanding, fishy vaginal odors can be separated into two categories. A fishy vaginal odor with no additional symptoms, and a fishy vaginal odor accompanied by additional symptoms like genital itching, an unusual vaginal discharge, and a burning sensation while peeing. 

Common Causes of Fishy Odor With Additional Syptoms

When the vagina smells decidedly unpleasant or fishy and the odor is accompanied by additional symptoms like an unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, and/or a burning sensation when peeing, a vaginal infection is more than likely to blame.

Below are the most common vaginal infections associated with a fishy odor, the medical treatment required, and what home remedies can help to speed up your recovery. 

Bacterial Vaginosis 

Recognized as one of the main causes of a fishy vaginal odor, bacterial vaginosis (BV) typically includes additional symptoms like grey-colored vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, and discomfort when urinating. Believed to be caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina, BV is common in women who are sexually active with multiple partners and women experiencing hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause.  

In addition to the antibiotics required to treat BV, home remedies like boric acid can be used to get rid of BV help to stem the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, restore a healthy vaginal pH balance, eliminate fishy vaginal odors, and reduce the risk of further infection.

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Urinary Tract Infection 

As many as 60% of women are known to get a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in their life with many suffering from recurring infections too. Experts believe that UTIs are more common in women due to the proximity between the urethra and the anus, making it easier for harmful bacteria to pass from one to the other. 

In addition to the common symptom of a burning sensation when urinating, UTIs are also known to cause a fishy odor from the genitals and urine.  

While antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat UTIs, drinking lots of water to flush the harmful bacteria can also be effective. Home remedies that further encourage healing from UTIs include Freeze Dried Aloe Vera Supplements with D-Mannose & Calcium from Intimate Rose. Considered highly effective in soothing the burning associated with UTIs, these all-natural supplements have also proved successful in preventing recurring UTIs by stopping harmful bacteria from latching onto the urinary tract.  

To avoid recurring UTIs, women are also encouraged to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom and to wash their genitals with warm water and unscented soap after sex. 

Trichomoniasis

More commonly known as ‘trich’, trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can result in a fishy vaginal smell, yellow vaginal discharge with a greenish tint, genital itching & swelling, discomfort while urinating, and pain during intercourse. That said, as many as 70% of women with trich experience no symptoms at all, so it is vital that sexually active women, particularly those with several partners, schedule regular check-ups to rule out STIs like trichomoniasis. 

If left untreated, trichomoniasis can result in more serious conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or preterm births. 

Antibiotics will cure trichomoniasis and sexual partners must be notified & treated too to prevent recurring infections. In conjunction with antibiotics, Boric Acid Suppositories can be an effective home remedy to help kill the harmful bacteria that cause trichomoniasis and restore a healthy balance in the vaginal microflora. 

Why Do Vaginas Smell Fishy Sometimes? 

Several factors, like diet choices, hygiene habits, hormonal fluctuations, menstruation, sex, sweating, and vaginal infections can change the aroma of a vagina, and for many the odor smells fishy. The food that you eat, how you clean your vagina, and the products you use during menstruation can alter the odors down there, for example. So too can unprotected sex, intercourse with several partners, pH imbalances, and an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. 

What Can I Do for a Fishy Urine Smell?

For a fishy urine smell, it's important to increase your hydration by drinking more water, as this can help to dilute the odor. You can also avoid foods that are known to cause fishy-smelling urine. 

When to Seek Medical Advice

While home remedies can be effective for mild cases of fishy vaginal odor, it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, especially if the odor persists or is accompanied by other symptoms like itching or discharge. Conditions like bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections require medical treatment and should not be solely managed with home remedies.

Conclusion

Even though a vaginal odor can be unpleasant and upsetting, it is common, and there is no need to be embarrassed. Fishy odors that stem from poor hygiene, sweating, or strong-smelling foods can be easily eliminated with regular genital washing and a more balanced diet.

And while vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and UTIs typically require antibiotics, home remedies like the natural supplements and lifestyle changes mentioned above can make all the difference in preventing recurring infections. 

References

Mayo Clinic – Vaginal Odor - https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-odor/basics/causes/sym-20050664

Healthline – What You Need To Know If Your Vagina Has A Fishy Odor https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-health/what-you-need-to-know-if-your-vagina-has-a-fishy-odor#causes

News Medical – How to Remove a Stuck Tampon - https://www.news-medical.net/health/How-to-Remove-a-Stuck-Tampon.aspx

Center For Disease Control & Prevention – Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm

European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences - A promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. https://europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2920-2925-D-mannose-a-promising-support-for-acute-urinary-tract-infections-in-women.-A-pilot-study.pdf

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Trichomonasias CDC Fact Sheet

https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

National Library of Medicine - The Antimicrobial Effect of Boric Acid on Trichomonas Vaginalis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25581807/

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