Fishy vaginal odour – Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Treatment and Prevention, Bacterial Vaginosis…. Fishy vaginal odour is NOT a diagnosis in itself but a symptom that denote something sinister happening to the female reproductive tract.

Want to know why some vagina has terrible fish smell? Causes

1. Smoking cigarette or shisha

2. Changing (or many) sexual partners

3. Having oral sex with many sexual partners

4. Washing inside the vagina

5. Using vagina pearls

6. Sticking things inside the vagina

7. Wearing tight/nylon underwear

8. Period blood or forgotten vaginal tampoons

9. Trichomoniasis (an STI)

10. Vaginitis

11. Excessive sweating down there

That foul smelling fishy vagina discharge is medically called Bacteria Vaginosis. It is a vagina infection.

But to clarify, it is NOT considered an STD- even though it is almost exclusively seen in sexually active women and almost never seen in virgins. Good news is It can be treated.

So what causes Bacteria Vaginosis (BV)?

BV happens due to overgrowth of normal vagina bacteria that helps to keep the vagina healthy.

It can also happen because of activities that upset and destabilise the vagina environment.

That’s why ALL those activities I listed cause it.

So if a woman has unprotected sex with different people or has a new sexual partner or she starts inserting all sorts of things into her vagina like yoni pearls, soap, perfumes, dirty dildos or trying to wash inside the vagina- this upsets the vagina environment and can cause BV.

How common is BV?

I saw a recent article that says about 1.5 million Nigerian women have BV every year. Every single year. It is the COMMONEST vagina infection in women between the age of 15 and 45 years old. Almost every sexually actively young woman has had it at least once.

As I said before, BV is not seen as an STD simply because there are many other ways a person can make themselves prone to having it apart from sex- things like:

Washing inside the vagina

Pouring things inside the vagina

Using yoni pearls

Washing underwear with strong detergents.

Smoking cigarettes/shisha,

Having random unprotected sex with different people,

Sitting for long time in soap baths rather than standing to have showers,

Wearing very tight nylon underwear,

All these things can cause the normal vagina bacteria to overgrow and cause fish smell.

fishy vaginal discharge
Fishy smelling vaginal discharge
Image is for representation
Credit: Pinterest

So what are the symptoms of BV?

Some women may have no symptoms.

Most women infact have no symptoms (up to 75% have none)

Others who have symptoms may have:

Fish smell vagina discharge

Thin watery vagina discharge

Itching around the vagina

Redness/irritation of the vagina

Burning sensation while urinating

Pain during or after sex

So why is BV problematic?

It can affect a woman’s self esteem

It can affect sexual fulfilment

Imagine having your vagina smell like rotten fish, or having such a smell during sex, how would you feel about yourself and about the sex?

Terrible yeah? Exactly what I thought.

That’s apart from all the terrible symptoms that BV can cause you as a woman like itching, excessive vagina discharge that is smelly and even pain while urinating.

But guess what?

These are NOT even the most important reasons it is crucial to avoid BV as a woman. I will tell you.

So what is the most important reasons to avoid BV as a woman? The complications

BV as I said earlier is NOT an STD- But it increases the risk of you having an actual STD like HIV, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea e.t. c.

BV increases the risk of you getting pelvic infections which if untreated can which if untreated can cause your tubes to be blocked leading to problems getting pregnant later in life; or diseased tubes which mean even if you get pregnant, the pregnancy may be located in an abnormal location which if not detected quickly can lead to the death of the woman.

And if you are pregnant already:

Bacterial vaginosis can cause you to lose the pregnancy,

It can cause you to have a premature baby born before the normal expected time,

It can cause you a womb infection (endometritis) after giving birth, etc

So as a young woman, BV is something you must avoid.

And as I explained any activity that tampers with the vagina environment like random oral and unprotected sex from different people, washing inside the vagina, pouring soaps/water inside the vagina, putting pearls and perfumes inside etc is a NO NO. You are harming yourself!

So what’s the way forward? Treatment

If you have any of the symptoms of BV which I listed above.

– speak to a doctor

– you will need antibiotics to help with it.

And afterwards, STOP doing anything I mentioned here which may be causing you to develop the symptoms of BV.

That’s the answer.

And if you don’t have any of the symptoms of BV- but you already practice a lot of the things I condemned in this writeup, then STOP – because you are playing with fire and setting yourself up to be burnt. BV is NOT child’s play.

Some women struggle for years with it.

It’s NO joke.

I hope this short article has helped answer your questions on why some ladies may have a fishy vaginal odour and what can be done about it.

Thanks for reading.

Credit: Dr Olufunmilayo


  1. This is a very useful health education for all girls whether pre -pubertal or pubertal, pre-menstruating, menstruating and post menstruating ladies and women. It would prevent unnecessary ill health to both males and females. Kudos


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