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Odor, Discharge and Itching in My Vagina - What is It?

Published: July 31, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
What's wrong with my vagina? So I've always kinda had a fishy smell coming from my vagina and I shower every day to every other day but I always generally smell from down there. I'm 22 years old, never sexually active. Also there's discharge and itching around the area. The discharge is booger looking, and the consistency is creamy but not too much. Just a small amount. Sometimes the discharge is clear with little to no smell, other times it really stinks. What could be wrong with it?
Signed: Odor, Discharge and Itching in My Vagina - What is It?

Dear Odor, Discharge and Itching in My Vagina - What is It?,

A “fishy smell” like you are describing is very often associated with bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance.

According to the Center for Young Women’s Health:

It’s possible that you have bacterial vaginosis. However, you should make an appointment with your health care provider and get checked. Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal infection. Women at any age can have it – even teens and adult women who have never been sexually active, but it’s more common among young and older women who have had sex with one or more partners.

Although many women who have BV don’t have symptoms, the ones that do often complain of a fishy smelling vaginal odor and a milky-white, or gray vaginal discharge that’s either light or heavy. The odor can become worse at the time or your period or after unprotected sexual intercourse. When semen (male sperm) mixes with vaginal secretions, the odor becomes stronger. Less common symptoms include: vaginal itchiness, redness, and pain with intercourse.

There is treatment for BV, but you’ll need to see your health care provider first to be checked. If you have BV you’ll get a prescription for a vaginal cream, gel, or a medicine that you take by mouth. If left untreated, BV can cause a more serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you do have BV or another vaginal infection, you can lower the chance of getting it again by not having sex, using protection each time if you have sex, and limiting the number of sexual partners you have.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. A Planned Parenthood health center is a good option if you have concerns about cost or confidentiality issues. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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