Do all vaginas smell different?
Everyone has their own noticeable vaginal odor, even if they practice good hygiene. The smell is often considered to be similar to light fermented milk or musk. Despite the dominance of the bacteria Lactobacillus in most vaginal microbiomes, everyone’s vaginal microbiome is a little different. Moreover, the microbial profile of your vagina may change over time.
Researchers don’t yet know exactly how different factors affect the vaginal microbiota. However, they have identified some things that influence vaginal odor, including your period, sex, and using hormonal contraceptives.
For example, your vaginal odor can change after you have sex if your vagina comes in contact with sperm. This is because the normal pH of the vagina is less than 4.5, and that of sperm is between 7.2 and 8.0. When they come in contact with each other, the vaginal flora changes. The same happens with menstrual blood, which is slightly alkaline. This explains that metallic smell during your period.
Whether diet or exercise interact with vaginal microbiota is less understood, even though these influences have been studied extensively in other microbial systems, including the gut microbiome.
As long as you’re healthy, there’s nothing you need to do to change or get rid of your natural vaginal odor. If you’re experiencing increased vaginal discharge and the odor becomes stronger, unpleasant, or fishy-smelling, and is accompanied by itching and burning, make sure to contact your health care provider.