What Does it Mean When Your Vagina Smells Like Onions?

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Every woman’s vagina has a unique scent and it can change throughout the month. If you’re experiencing unusual odor, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Strong odors can be caused by sweat and vaginal fluids mixing. It could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis and you’ll want to speak with your doctor about treatment.


A change in your vaginal odor can be alarming, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s quite normal to have a different scent down there — every woman’s vagina smells slightly different due to her unique collection of bacteria.

When you eat a lot of garlic or onions, it can cause your vulva to have a distinct aroma for 24 to 48 hours. This is because the odour from these strong-smelling foods gets excreted by sweat glands all over your body, including your vulva. It can also be a sign of an infection, like bacterial vaginosis, which often has a sulfur-like odour.

Another cause of the onion-like odour could be from wearing synthetic underwear, such as silk or satin, which can trap sweat against your skin. It’s best to wear cotton underwear, which wicks away moisture and helps prevent the odour.

Yeast infections are another common reason for a foul vaginal odour, and you can get rid of them by taking an over-the-counter antifungal medication such as Monistat or a prescription medication from your gynecologist. But if the odour lasts for multiple days and you have other symptoms, such as painful or itchy sex, you may have pelvic inflammatory disease. This can be treated with antibiotics, such as a cyclosporine or metronidazole, which you’ll get from your doctor.

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Vaginal odor is unique to every woman and can vary throughout the month. If the onion smell becomes intense and is accompanied by burning, itching, or unusually colored discharge, it may be time to visit a doctor.

For mild odor, simple remedies and lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Keeping a food diary and cutting out foods that can cause strong smells (like garlic and onions) can help to reduce the scent. Similarly, wearing loose pants that allow the vagina to breathe and showering regularly can help to eliminate odor. Avoiding perfumed soaps and body washes can also help to prevent an unpleasant odor.

If a strong smell is accompanied by itching, burning, or pain during urination or sex, it could indicate that you have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is caused when bad bacteria from sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia move from the vagina into the uterus and surrounding tissues.

Typically, PID is treated with antibiotics, and will begin to improve within a few days. In addition, a gynecologist can prescribe an anti-fungal medication to treat the infection and help restore the normal balance of your vagina. In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to repair the vulva opening. This can be done during a routine appointment and is relatively quick, inexpensive, and virtually painless.

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It’s a little gross to think about, but it’s totally normal for your vulva to smell a little different from one day to the next. The reason for this is because every woman has her own unique collection of bacteria that is a part of her microflora. These bacteria are often similar to the ones found in fermented foods like sourdough bread and yogurt.

However, if the odor is persistent, it could be caused by something more serious. It may be a sign of an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. Both of these conditions can cause the vagina to have an onion-like scent. The good news is that they can usually be treated with antibiotics.

In addition, wearing cotton underwear and drinking plenty of water can help to cut down on body odor. It’s also a good idea to avoid any foods that have strong odors, such as onions and garlic. They can linger in your urine and vaginal discharge, even after eating them.

If the odor is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor. The doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you with proper treatment. It’s important to remember that vaginal odor is not something to be embarrassed about, as it can be an indication of many health problems.

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Other Symptoms

Most of the time, vaginal odor isn’t anything to worry about. However, when it changes to something rotten fishy or bread-like and you experience other symptoms along with it, then it’s time to see your gyno.

A change in the odor of your vagina can indicate that you have a rectovaginal fistula, which is an abnormal opening between the rectum and the vagina caused by the lower portion of the large intestine leaking into the vagina. This is a rare condition and it’s important to contact your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Onion-smelling pee and vaginal discharge can also be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which is an overgrowth of bacteria in the area. This typically causes an onion-like odor, itching and pain in the vulva. It can be cured with an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication or with a prescription from your gyno.

Sweating, particularly during hot days and while working out or during menopause, can intensify the odor of the intimate areas. This is because the sweat mixes with urine and vaginal discharge to cause a stronger-smelling odor. Practicing good hygiene, including washing the labia and wearing breathable cotton underwear can help reduce this issue. Taking a probiotic can help prevent infections and balance your body’s bacterial levels. If you’re experiencing a strong odor accompanied by painful urination, a fever or thick yellow discharge, then it’s important to contact your doctor for treatment.

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