Q: I’ve got a fishy vaginal odor but no increased discharge or other symptoms. What might be wrong?
A: That fishy smell could be a symptom of a common condition known as bacterial vaginosis, or BV. It occurs when there’s an upset of the balance of good bacteria (known as lactobacilli) and bad bacteria in your vagina. Other symptoms of BV may include unusual vaginal discharge, pain, itching, or burning, but BV can be symptomless or recognizable by yucky odor alone. (Yeast infections, which can also cause itching and discharge, don’t cause this odor.) BV is common during pregnancy. Other known causes: sex with multiple partners, using a diaphragm, or douching (which removes those helpful lactobacilli from your vagina—so don’t do it!). Forgetting to remove a tampon or leaving one in too long can also throw the vagina’s bacterial balance out of whack and cause a stink. After the tampon’s removed, the odor should clear up quickly. If you have any odor for more than 48 hours, see your doc. BV is diagnosed with a simple lab culture and treated with antibiotics.
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12/15/2009 8:32 PM