Many people are concerned about vaginal odor and taste, but the reality is it’s pretty normal. That being said, a few things can change the flavor and scent of your bits, including:
If you suddenly notice a fishy or metallic smell or taste, that could indicate a pH imbalance or infection like bacterial vaginosis.
Although we’ve been told by movies, TV, and genital hygiene ads that a vagina should smell like roses, it’s actually normal for vulvas to vary naturally in taste and odor. It’s all about balancing bacteria down there. Generally speaking, a healthy vagina has a slightly acidic slant to it. This helps maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria, which is important to overall vulvar health.
However, the acidity can also make it taste a little metallic in some people. This is especially common during and after menstruation when trace amounts of blood are present in the vulva. The iron in the blood contributes to this metallic taste and smell.
There is some research that shows some foods can positively impact the taste and odor of the vulva, including bananas (which contain antioxidants to help keep the pH levels balanced), berries (they’re a good source of phytoestrogen phloridzin that can increase blood flow and improve lubrication), yoghurt (it has the goodness of probiotic bacteria) and [drinking] plenty of water. However, there is no high-quality evidence to show that dietary changes can have a major impact on the way your vagina tastes.
The vagina is naturally acidic, which helps balance the bacteria that blossom down there. That acidity can sometimes leave a salty or metallic taste. This is more common during or after menstruation, when trace amounts of blood may be present in the vagina. Blood has a natural, metallic taste because of its iron content.
A salty or metallic taste may also be the result of not washing well after urinating, or from excess sweating (like during strenuous exercise) that causes a buildup in the area. These are all normal, and not a reason to worry.
Some foods are also known to have an effect on the way your vulva tastes and smells, including asparagus (which has the ability to change the flavor of your pee), spicy or heavily-scented foods, and alcoholic beverages. There is, however, little or no valid evidence that any of these foods can change the normal, healthy pH balance of your vulva. Likewise, there is no evidence that feminine washes or sprays work to make your vulva taste better down there.
The vulva is naturally acidic, and the good bacteria that make up your vaginal flora produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide to keep harmful microbes at bay. These substances can leave behind a slightly tangy, fermented, or sour flavor that many women describe as tasting like yogurt or sourdough bread.
The way your vulva smells can also change, and some people find that their vulva tastes salty from the sweat they shed in the area, or metallic or penny-like after menstruation. These changes are perfectly normal, and it’s important to remember that your vulva’s odor is not something to be ashamed of!
If your vulva has a strange taste or odor, the first thing you should do is wash it well and often to avoid infection. You can also try eating more fresh fruits and veggies, consuming plenty of water throughout the day, and eating foods with probiotics such as yogurt, bananas, and salmon. This will help level out your vulva’s pH, and it may even add a sweeter flavor! You should always consult your gynecologist if the odor or taste is persistent, however.
A slightly tangy or sour taste and smell is normal because the vagina is home to sweat glands and billions of bacteria (usually lactobacilli, but this can vary). It’s also a natural part of being female. The vagina can vary in scent based on your menstrual cycle, hormones, and your own unique vulva flora.
Certain infections or conditions, like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis, can trigger unpleasant odors and tastes in the vulva area. Bacterial vaginosis can have an odor that closely resembles dead fish, and trichomoniasis can taste bitter or metallic.
If you’re concerned about your vulva’s taste or odor, talk to a doctor. They can help you keep your vulva healthy and happy. Staying away from alcohol, tobacco, greasy foods, and spicy foods can help. Using body wash and wet wipes that are lightly scented can help, too. And remember to drink plenty of water! This will keep your vulva hydrated and prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria.
As we’ve seen, everyone’s vulva will taste a little different. A vulva can be sweet, salty, bitter, or acidic, depending on what you’ve been eating and drinking, as well as the time of the month (which may alter your hormone levels). Drinking alcohol or spicy foods can increase sweating in the groin, which can affect how your vulva smells and tastes.
Blood, for instance, can leave a metallic or penny-like flavor behind in the area due to its iron content, and your lady bits may taste slightly salty after excessive sweating or not cleaning yourself properly after using the restroom. Urine can also have a slight briny taste.
But if your vulva starts to reek of leeks from the Seattle fish market, you’ve got a problem. A stench is a sign of bacterial infection. It can also indicate that your vaginal pH is too low or too high. This imbalance can lead to a painful, itchy, dry vulva and uncomfortable cramps. It’s best to keep the ph at 3.8 to 4.5 by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and water.