Blog > Discharge > Why Does My Discharge Smell Sour?

Why Does My Discharge Smell Sour?

Some amounts of vaginal discharge are entirely average in females.

However, it can become quite bothersome if it comes with itching, foul smell, burning, and a few other unpleasant symptoms.

What do you think it means for your discharge to smell sour?

You will find out shortly, as this article reveals every detail about normal and abnormal discharge, giving you practical solutions to your abnormal discharge.

What Is A Discharge?

The vagina releases a small amount of whitish or transparent fluids every day.

You might find it in your panties at the end of the day. And it’s completely normal.

It is your vagina’s way of keeping itself clean, just like the saliva does to the mouth and the ear wax to the ears.

There is an army of bacteria present in the vagina, and these bacteria help fight off the infections and prevent some unwanted problems.

They fight off everything that should not be present in the vagina, keeping it completely clean.

After this happens, the vagina releases some fluid as a byproduct of keeping itself clean. These byproducts are what we refer to as discharge or vaginal discharge.

Discharge comprises the vaginal skin cells, fluid, and mucus produced by the cervix and the vagina.

A regular discharge is expected to have a slight odor and may also cause mild irritation of the vulva.

The primary purpose of this discharge is to protect both the vagina and the urinary tract from infections and serve as natural lubrication to the vaginal tissues.

Vaginal discharge varies from person to person, depending on everyone’s body.

Women who are menopausal have a lower amount of vaginal discharge because of their lowered estrogen levels.

However, premenopausal women have more vaginal discharge daily, ranging from one-half to one teaspoon.

Different Types Of Discharge And How They Smell

A normal vaginal discharge is meant to be white or clear, thick and mucus-like.

However, in cases of certain complications like vaginal infection, your vaginal discharge might be abnormal.

Here, we’ll talk about what to expect from a normal discharge and what you see from an abnormal discharge.

Normal Discharge

A normal vaginal discharge is sticky, creamy, white, or clear fluid.

It can become thicker in the middle of your cycle, but usually, it ranges from light grey to colorless to creamy white.

Any other color deviating from that is a sign of something being wrong. A typical discharge will have a subtle scent or odor that is not unpleasant.

It is not foul smelling. Sometimes it comes as a sour or fermented smell, coppery smell, bittersweet, or bleach.

Your vagina can have any of these odors and still be completely healthy. Anything different from these odors and unpleasant is abnormal.

Abnormal Discharge

Abnormal discharge ranges from red to brownish, yellow, green, and a lot of irregularities.

An abnormal discharge shows a vaginal infection, bacteria, sexually transmitted diseases, and other related conditions.

Reddish Discharge

A lot of things could be going wrong in your vagina.

If you have a reddish discharge, it might be a sign that your period is getting close, and a little of your release has been mixed with some amount of blood.

If you suddenly get a red-tinged discharge, it could show that you have an injury in your vagina or something is wrong there.

Brownish Discharge

A brownish discharge is another common type of discharge, and it is often seen shortly after or before one’s period.

This is because the vagina is an acidic environment. This should not happen in the middle of your period, though, because that could mean another thing entirely.

If you get a brownish discharge between your period or on any regular day, that means something is wrong, and you should see your doctor.

Green And Yellow Discharge

This indicates that the infection we are concerned about here will be a sexually transmitted disease or condition.

STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can give you green or yellow color discharge.

Greenish or yellow discharge is abnormal and is only present because of infections.

Abnormal infections often come with different foul smells.

Unlike the average discharge, accompanied by a subtle odor that is not unpleasant.

The abnormal discharge comes with a lot of unpleasant smells. Some of these includes:

Fishy Smell

A fishy odor is another smell that comes with abnormal discharge. This occurs because of bacteria like bacterial vaginosis and Trichomoniasis.

Bacterial vaginosis happens when there is an overgrowth of odorous anaerobic bacteria in the vagina.

Trichomoniasis is another bacteria that is famous for its pungent fishy odor.

It is a common sexually transmitted infection that is often treatable with an antibiotic. Trichomoniasis has a more pronounced fishy odor than bacterial vaginosis.

If your discharge has a fishy odor, it could be because of both.

Rotten Smell

Yes, this one is exactly as bad as it sounds, and affected individuals are expected to run to their doctors almost immediately after they experience such.

This could result from a lot of complications or a silly mistake, like having remnants of your tampons in your vagina.

Letting your tampon stay in your vagina for weeks or days can give it a rotten smell.

Should My Discharge Smell Sour?

A sour or tang odor from your vagina is not a problem. If your vagina smells sour, do not fret. You have nothing to worry about.

It is a perfectly healthy smell that is produced by your vagina to clean out infections. Some people describe this smell as fermented yogurt and sourdough bread.

Your vagina can smell sour; it is only because of your bacteria “lactobacilli,” which gives your vaginal environment its acidic property.

Why Does My Discharge Smell Sour?

Your discharge smells sour because of the acid “lactobacilli” present in the vagina.

This bacterium is referred to as good bacteria because it helps keep the vagina healthy by producing acids like lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other substances needed to keep harmful bacteria at bay.

These bacteria help maintain your vagina’s environment by keeping it acidic, within the range of 3.8 to 4.5 for non-menopausal women and 4.5 to 6 for menopausal women.

How To Get Rid Of Smelly Discharge

Vaginal odor can happen from time to time, and to get rid of it, you would have to take excellent care of your vagina and your body.

Although the vagina can always cleanse itself, strong odors, itching, and rotation are things you should note and find permanent solutions to.

Let us look at some practical ways in which you can get rid of smelly discharge:

Use Medications

Over-the-counter medications can work well to help you get rid of smelly discharge. You can try them and see if it works for you.

Several prescription treatments can help eliminate the smelly discharge. Visit your doctor for such prescriptions.

Do not use medications without a proper prescription from your doctor or health care professionals.

Practice Good Hygiene

Keeping a healthy and clean vaginal environment will save you from a lot of trouble.

When you clean your vagina, clean the inner part with water only, clean with soap, and do not let soap get into your vagina.

The area inside your labia is quite sensitive, and substances like soap can irritate and burn. Water is enough to keep your vagina clean, as it has its natural cleaning agents.

Also, perfume, scent, and chemicals can upset the natural PH of your vagina; keep such things away from it.

Wear Clean And Appropriate Underwear

Cotton is the best type of underwear material for your vagina.

This is because it is breathable, and it does an excellent job of wiping off sweat and fluids from your vagina.

Excess moisture in your vaginal environment can upset your natural bacteria level, therefore leading to infections.

It is not only enough to wear underwear, but it is also essential to keep them clean.

Please do not wear the same underwear for an extended period; change them occasionally and keep them clean.

Use Only Exterior Deodorants

If you want to spray perfumes, do not spray them within your vagina. Use them outside of your labia.

Spraying the insides of your vagina can upset its natural environment, leading to so many other kinds of complications.

Bottom line

You just learned all you need to know about different vaginal discharges and what they mean to your health. But of course, the magic elves will not pick up from there.

That is why you need to take your hygiene seriously and pay more attention to what goes on in your vagina.

Now, typically I’d merely encourage you to take action, wish you the best of luck and cross my fingers for you.

But not today, because today I’m going to challenge you to take that first step towards getting rid of smelly vagina discharge.

You can start by paying that long overdue visit to your physician.


Healthline: Seven different vaginal smells and why they happen

WebMD: How to get rid of vagina odor

Morelandobgyn: Vaginal odor, what is normal?

Was this article helpful?

Most popular

Most discussed