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Vagina Has Fishy Odor

Published: January 6, 2003
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Recently, I've been having a gross fishy odor from my vagina. The first time I noticed it, I also noticed that my period cycle was changing. Is something wrong with me?
Signed: Vagina Has Fishy Odor

Dear Vagina Has Fishy Odor,

FX cannot tell you for sure over the Internet if something is wrong. We recommend getting checked out by a doctor, gynecologist or adolescent medicine physician.

While it is very normal to have vaginal odor, the odor is usually pretty inoffensive and is a natural part of being a woman. During puberty the vaginal area secretes more sweat and tends to be moister and therefore more aromatic (smelly). You stated you also noticed that your period cycle is changing. This can lead to a change in vaginal discharge and smell. The smell may become more noticeable right around menstruation.

This said, having a strong offensive smell can be a sign of an infection, which may or may not be sexually transmitted. Here are some other signs to look out for as well:

      • Increase in amount of discharge
      • Change in consistency of discharge (white, curd-like or lumpy)
      • Change in smell of discharge (yeast like smell)
      • Change in the color of discharge (gray or green color)
      • Painful or uncomfortable intercourse
      • Swelling or redness in the vaginal area
      • Itching or burning in the vaginal area
      • Pain while urinating

Again, you should really get checked out by a medical professional to be sure everything is okay. You did not state if you are sexually active. If you are sexually active, a discharge could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease. A teen health center can see you for sexuality transmitted disease prevention and treatment and/or birth control issues without your parent's consent and on a low/no cost basis. In Northern New Jersey, please call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at (973) 971.6475. Outside of New Jersey, please call your local Planned Parenthood.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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