Feminine Story Banner

There is an unpleasant ‘fishy’ smell in my vagina. What’s going on? 

If you’ve noticed a change to your vaginal odour, this could be a sign that you have an infection. A distinctive ‘fishy’ smell can be a symptom of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). A common vaginal infection, BV is caused by an imbalance in the naturally occurring vaginal bacteria in the intimate area. As well as an unpleasant odour, BV symptoms can include an excess of off-white or greyish, watery or foamy discharge, a burning sensation when urinating and itching around the outside of the vagina.  


What is Bacterial Vaginosis? 

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an infection caused by an imbalance of the bacteria that occur naturally in your intimate area. Normally, the vaginal pH is acidic, which allows good bacteria (lactobacillus) to thrive and helps to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. However, if there are more ‘bad’ bacteria than ‘good’ in the vagina, this can cause a change to the vaginal pH which in turn can lead to further growth of harmful bacteria.  


How do I treat Bacterial Vaginosis? 

It’s always recommended to seek advice from a doctor if you have any concerns about your intimate health. Whatever the diagnosis, they may recommend a suitable treatment or advise on a course of action. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is usually treated with prescription antibiotics. However, because antibiotics work by killing both bad and good bacteria, they can increase vulnerability to other vaginal infections such as yeast infections. BETAFEM® BV Gel is an alternative treatment to treat and prevent recurrent BV. A non-antibiotic therapy, it is available without prescription and is clinically proven to treat BV and relieve symptoms rapidly.  


How do I treat Bacterial Vaginosis if I am pregnant? 

If you’re pregnant and you think you might have Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), it’s important to consult your doctor to ensure you get the most suitable treatment. BV in pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and premature birth.  


How do I treat Bacterial Vaginosis if I am breastfeeding? 

Bacterial Vaginosis is often treated with antibiotics. However, antibiotics can get into breast milk, so if you’re breastfeeding, make sure you consult your doctor on the most appropriate treatment.   


What are the Dos and Don'ts to help manage vaginal odour?


Identify the cause – is it an infection or maybe a pH imbalance in your intimate area?  
Check for foreign objects like tampons or condoms after intimate sessions.  
Wear cotton undergarments to encourage airflow and allow your vaginal area to breathe.  
Consult a doctor if symptoms persist.  


Use strongly fragranced body washes and soaps as these can disrupt the natural pH balance of your vagina.  

Wear tight none breathable clothing.