Smelly vaginal secretions - Causes and Symptoms

Related articles: Smelly vaginal secretions


Smelly vaginal secretions are a symptom of an inflammatory and / or infectious process affecting the vagina and cervix.

Vaginal mycosis from Candida albicans usually occurs with abundant white leaks similar to curdled milk with a sweetish smell of yeast. These malodorous secretions are associated with redness, edema, itching and vulvar and vaginal burning, especially during urination. The symptoms typically worsen in the week preceding menstruation.

Bacterial vaginosis - often caused by Gardnerella vaginalis - has as its main symptom an abundant foul-smelling white-greyish, fluid and sometimes frothy secretion. These leaks have a characteristic amino odor (similar to battered fish) that becomes very intense when there is an alkalinization of the leaks, for example after coitus and menstruation. Furthermore, in some cases it is associated with itching, burning or pain.

Yellowish-greenish and foul-smelling foamy vaginal secretions, erythema, dysuria and dyspareunia are also caused by trichomoniasis (infection with Trichomonas vaginalis, generally sexually transmitted).

Chlamydia thrachomatis vaginitis (sexually transmitted infection) often remains asymptomatic, but can also cause yellow, mucopurulent, odorless or acre leakage, dysuria, painful sexual intercourse and vaginal bleeding.

Non-infectious inflammatory vulvovaginitis is rare; in these cases, the bad smell can be due to hypersensitivity reactions or irritations due to various agents, including hygienic sprays or perfumes, soaps, sanitary napkins, spermicides, vaginal creams or lubricants, latex contraceptives and diaphragms.

Extremely foul smelling large vaginal secretions can result from the presence of foreign bodies (eg forgotten swabs or toilet paper residues); Associated symptoms include erythema, dysuria, and sometimes dyspareunia.

Another cause includes the presence of fistulas between the intestine and the genital tract - a possible complication of vaginal delivery, pelvic surgery or inflammatory bowel disease - which allows the intestinal flora to disseminate through the genital tract.

Smelly vaginal secretions can also represent the effects of radiation therapy or pelvic tumors (situations that damage the tissues, thus compromising the normal defenses).

Example of white, foul-smelling vaginal secretion, probably due to an infection - Taken from:

Possible Causes * of foul-smelling vaginal secretions

  • Cervical cancer
  • Candida
  • Carcinoma of the uterine cervix
  • Chlamydia
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Trichomonas
  • Vaginitis
  • vaginosis