Fishy odors can be caused by many things, including sweating, your period or a bacterial infection. It’s always best to speak with a doctor when you notice anything unusual.

Vaginal Odor: Types, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Your vagina smells like fish is a cavity in your body, located on the lower part of your abdomen. It’s about an inch or two deep and has a hole in it called the vaginal opening, which is where your period blood flows and where a penis can be inserted.

The wall of the vagina is made up of muscle covered by a mucus membrane, with layers of tissue that include elastic fibers and rugae (pleats of extra tissue that stretch and expand during sex). Its surface also stores glycogen that helps maintain a healthy pH level to keep it lubricated.

Bacterial vaginosis

If your vagina has an overgrowth of Gardnerella bacteria, this can lead to a type of vaginitis called BV, which can cause a thick, yellow-yellowy discharge with a fishy smell. This can be accompanied by pain, itching and vaginal swelling.


A common sexually transmitted infection, trich can cause itching, pain or burning in the vagina and can have a fishy odor as well. Usually, this is treated with antibiotics.


Another STI, a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by the spread of harmful bacteria through sex and can have symptoms like vaginal odor and pain. It can be cured with antibiotics in pill form, or as a cream that you insert into your vagina.

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