Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is often associated with a distinctive fishy or unpleasant odor. This odor is typically more noticeable after sexual intercourse or during menstruation. It is one of the common symptoms of BV, along with other possible symptoms such as a thin, grayish-white vaginal discharge and vaginal discomfort or itching.
The “fishy” odor occurs because BV results from an imbalance in the vaginal bacteria, where there is an overgrowth of certain types of bacteria (particularly anaerobic bacteria) that produce volatile compounds, including trimethylamine. These compounds contribute to the characteristic odor.
If you suspect you have BV or are experiencing unusual vaginal symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. BV can usually be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional.