Why Does My Vagina Smell Like Iron?

Your yoni naturally has its own scent, but sometimes that can get a little funky. It’s normal for this to change with hormones, like during ovulation or after a vaginal infection.

A coppery or metallic smell typically means you’re on your period. This odor usually disappears once your menstrual flow stops.

Blood

The odor of your vulva may smell coppery or metallic due to the fact that blood contains iron. This can occur when you are on your period, and also after sex that causes light bleeding (called a menstrual flow). This smell will fade once the blood has passed. You might also notice a coppery scent when you have an infection called thrush. Thrush is caused by an imbalance of good bacteria in the vagina, and can cause itching and a sticky feeling down there. Antifungal medication will kill the thrush and return the balance of bacteria to normal. It can be taken as a tablet that is placed in the vagina (a pessary), as an oral pill, or as an external cream.

The musky odor of your vulva is totally normal, and is often related to things like sexual activity, pregnancy, bacterial changes in the vagina, where you are at in your menstrual cycle, and even your diet! A temporary change in odor can be caused by stress, over-doing it at the gym, and even the food you eat.

If the odor is persistent, it’s worth a trip to your gynecologist. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, and remember that your doc is not disgusted or judging you! They TOUCHED corpses in medical school, so they have seen it all.

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Infection

A funky, fishy smell could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Both of these infections can cause an upset in the normal pH balance of the vagina, which can lead to a strange odor. If you notice an odor in the area along with other symptoms, like pain while peeing or a gray or white discharge, contact your Moreland OB-GYN right away.

A coppery smell, also known as a metallic odor, may indicate that you’re on your period. This is because blood—which contains iron—can give off this odor. However, if you’re bleeding between periods or after sex, this could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as an infection, or STIs, like chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

A strong, sour or yeasty scent can indicate that your vagina’s bacteria are out of balance and needs to be washed more often than usual. Also, avoid touching your vulva as this can throw off the pH level and cause an odd smell. Try using a natural vaginal lubricant to help with the odor. Also, be sure to wash your underwear regularly, and stay hydrated. This will keep odor-producing bacteria to a minimum. And, don’t be afraid to mention the odor to your Moreland OB-GYN—it’s nothing to be embarrassed about! The more your doctor knows, the better they can treat it.

Bacteria

Your vagina is home to a complex cornucopia of flora that can produce all sorts of different scents. It’s also a self-cleaning organ, producing cleansing discharge that has a natural odor as well.

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Sometimes, your flora can release an odor that smells like iron. This can happen if you’re bleeding, have a urinary tract infection, or if you are using sex toys. It can also happen when you eat certain foods, like garlic or asparagus, and it may last until your body fully metabolizes them.

Tangy or fermented odors are perfectly normal, says Abdur-Rahman. These are the result of good bacteria in your vagina releasing acids that help maintain your body’s pH levels and prevent infections and other issues down there. This can also occur if you’ve recently eaten something sour or acidic, like pickles or sauerkraut.

A metallic odor can also be caused by a urinary tract infection called thrush. If you have a UTI, your pee will likely be cloudy or smelling of bleach, and you may experience pain when you’re peeing or the urge to do so more frequently. You should contact your doctor if you have these symptoms and notice a metallic odor in your vagina. They’ll probably prescribe you a pessary, external cream or oral tablet to treat the infection. You can also try drinking lots of fluids and eating a balanced diet to get rid of the infection sooner rather than later.

Semen

There are a few reasons your junk could smell like iron. The most common reason is that you’re on your period and the blood down there has a metallic odor. This is normal and should pass once your menstrual flow has stopped. Another possible cause is if you’ve recently had sex. The semen from spermatozoa has its own unique odor depending on your body’s chemistry and can mix with bacteria in the vagina to produce a coppery or metallic smell after sex.

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You may also be experiencing trichomoniasis, an infection that’s caused by a protozoan and causes itching, burning, discharge, a swollen, red vulva, and changes in the color and texture of your vaginal fluid. If you suspect trichomoniasis, see your gynecologist as soon as possible. The best way to treat it is by taking an antibiotic.

The bottom line is that your bits should always have a natural scent to them and if you notice a change, be sure to check in with your doctor. Usually, changes in the way your vagina smells indicate something that needs to be addressed — be it a lost tampon, bacterial vaginosis, or a yeast infection. Some of these problems don’t require medical attention, but others (like an STI or infection) do and should be dealt with immediately. Taking the time to learn about what’s normal for your vulva and when you should take action can save you time, discomfort, and money spent on over-the-counter “feminine hygiene” products that don’t work.

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