Is Something Off? A Quick Guide to Colors and Smells in Your Underwear

Is Something Off? A Quick Guide to Colors and Smells in Your Underwear

A quick guide to colors and smells in your underwear

We realize that this is not a very popular subject, to say the least. Nobody really wants to have a conversation about this sensitive issue. But let’s be honest: we’ve all come face to face with ~ something ~ odd in our underwear from time to time, be it an unusual smell or something simply looking different down there.

And if you’ve ever panicked wondering what in the world could be causing it, you are not alone. While odor and discharge are normal occurrences for vulva owners, some things might need a bit more of your attention.

At Vaginesse®, we focus on making feminine care and cleaning a ritual, but we’re also passionate about educating and sharing all things vulva. We want to bring awareness and education about the feminine body and make it clear that there is NOTHING to be ashamed about. So, let’s dive into some of the most common causes for a smelly vulva and what might be behind it!

What Causes Your Vulva Or Vagina To Smell?

Vulvas and vaginas have a natural odor just like every other part of our bodies. This is a natural smell that is unique to every woman, and it can vary depending on the person. Sometimes that smell can be a little off and knowing the cause can help you treat it and keep your lady parts healthy. 

Unusual or unpleasant odors in the vulvar area can be attributed to various factors, and it's important to determine the underlying cause to address the issue effectively.

Here are some common causes of odors in the vulva:

Sweat and Hygiene

The vulvar area, like any other part of the body, can develop odors due to sweat and inadequate hygiene. Bacteria on the skin can break down sweat, producing an odor. Proper hygiene practices, including daily washing with mild soap and water, or our Vaginesse® Cleanser can help reduce sweat-related odors.

Menstrual Blood / Hormonal Changes

Menstrual blood can have a distinct odor. Proper hygiene, such as changing menstrual products regularly and washing the vulvar area, can help manage this odor. Also, hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menstruation or menopause, can influence the pH of the vulvar area and may affect odor.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis, or BV is a common vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina. It can lead to a strong, fishy odor, especially after sexual intercourse. BV may also cause gray or white vaginal discharge.

Bacterial Vaginosis, or BV, affects many women. It causes odor, itching, and abnormal discharge, although some women don’t experience any symptoms at all!

BV is caused by an overdevelopment of bacteria that is naturally found in the vagina, often due to sex or for using the wrong products down there.

You may need a cream or gel to take care of the problem, but if it persists you should consult a health care provider. In the meantime, avoid douching, irritants, and sexual activity during the treatment, maintain good hygiene, wear cotton underwear, and use oral or vaginal probiotics may help maintain the balance of vaginal bacteria.

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections, particularly caused by Candida species, can lead to an unusual, yeasty odor. Other symptoms may include itching, burning, and thick, white discharge.

Yeast infections are super unpleasant, but also super common. An overgrowth of candida in the vagina is the culprit here. Not only does it cause unpleasant odors, it also leaves our vulvas itchy and inflamed. 

Treatment is easy, tough: some over-the-counter treatment and proper cleaning will do the trick. Many yeast infection treatments are available without a prescription at drugstores.

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These often include antifungal creams, ointments, or suppositories containing active ingredients like clotrimazole, miconazole, or tioconazole. Follow the instructions on the package for proper use.

In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe stronger antifungal medications in the form of oral pills, such as fluconazole (Diflucan), for more severe or recurrent infections. Also, avoid douching, irritants and consider partner treatment to avoid reinfection.

Not Cleaning Your Folds Properly

Cleaning your vulva is an art. If you’re not properly cleaning your labia, your vulva can get a bit smelly. Using products formulated specifically for your vulva like The Ultimate Ritual can help you keep your lady parts fresh and smooth. Give your vulva a little TLC!

Hygiene Products

Some personal hygiene products, such as soaps, body washes, and douches, can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vulva and lead to odor issues. It's advisable to use mild, fragrance-free products for cleaning, like our Vaginesse® Cleanser.


There are other less common culprits for odd smells down there. While some can be harmless, like

Sexual Activity

Semen, lubricants, and condoms used during sexual activity can contribute to odor changes. These odors are usually temporary and should dissipate after proper cleaning.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can lead to the smell of urine in the vulvar area, particularly if there is leakage. Conditions such as stress incontinence can cause this issue.


Certain foods, spices, and strong-smelling substances, like garlic, onions, or alcohol, can affect body odor and may be noticed in the vulvar area.

But others can be more serious, like:

Cervical Cancer

A type of cancer that originates in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus or womb.


A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It is one of the most common curable sexually transmitted infections worldwide.

Vaginal Cancer

Arare form of cancer that begins in the vagina. Most commonly diagnosed in women aged 60 or older.

So, if you think you have something strange that you cannot recognize going on, it’s time to pay your gyno a visit.

Discharge Colors

Their Meaning and Their Treatments

Have you ever gone on little pee-break only to find some unusual discharge in your undies? It can be scary, but fret not! Let’s look at some of the different discharge colors so you can figure out what’s causing it.


You guessed it. It’s most likely your period. Sometimes we spot between cycles. If it’s not normal for you, visit your gyno to get to the root of it!

White or Clear

The most common discharge. Totally normal. If you don’t have any other symptoms like serious odor or itching, there’s no reason to worry. It will go away by itself, or if it persists you can try an OTC treatment.

Yellow / Green

Light colors are normal but deeper hues may indicate infections. Keep an eye on it, and if it persists consult a health care provider.

When To See A Doctor

Anytime you experience something out of the ordinary, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Extreme discomfort from itching, irritation or inflammation might deserve an emergency consultation. Early detection and prompt treatment are crucial for the best possible outcomes.

If you have any concerning symptoms or risk factors, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for evaluation and appropriate care.

Doctor Smiling

Take care of your vulva and see a doctor if there is anything concerning going on down there!

Leave us a comment! What other tasty foods are part of your intimate care ritual? We’d love to know!

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