If your vulva smells fishy, you may have bacterial vaginosis (also known as anaerobic vaginosis). This is an imbalance in the bacteria in the vagina. All women have harmless bacteria in their vaginal passage. In bacterial vaginosis, some of the bacteria multiply so that more are present than is normal (it is usually the Gardnerella and Mobiluncus bacteria that are the culprits). In other words, bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) (infection caught from your partner), it is caused by bacteria that are normally present in the vagina.

Bacterial vaginosis is treated with an antibiotic, metronidazole, from your doctor. You will find more information on bacterial vaginosis in the section on genital infections.


First published on: embarrassingproblems.com
Reviewed and edited by: Dr Laura Gush
Last updated: May 2021

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