These Are The Vaginal Odors You Need To Know About

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
Despite what the marketing claims on some "feminine hygiene" products might lead you to believe, vaginas do not require scented wipes to make them smell good. Vaginas are self-cleaning, like ovens or high-tech litter boxes. But they are also body parts, so they're expected to have an odor.
"There is a spectrum of normal vaginal odor that people can experience," says Linda Fan, MD, FACOG, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine. And even though there's a range of A-okay scents, many people are overly concerned with how their vaginas smell, she says.
That said, there are a few odors that can be indicative of an infection or other health problem. "I take odors seriously for sure," says Susan Loeb-Zeitlin, MD, FACOG, an Ob/Gyn at New York-Presbyerian/Weill Cornell Medicine.
If you are a person with a vagina, you should have some grasp on what your vagina smells like on a typical day, so you can sense when the odor is off or different, Dr. Fan says. Ahead are the common odors that you need to be aware of, and what it might mean if you catch a whiff. You should also be on the lookout for other symptoms, like discharge or itchiness, because those can also be signs of an infection. Find something disconcerting? It's never a bad idea to call your doctor and get checked out.