What is the medicine for vaginal odor?

Dr. Cynthia Washington
Family Medicine

Bacteria, yeast, infections from sexually transmitted diseases, a forgotten tampon or poor hygiene, may cause vaginal odor. One particular bacterial infection known as Bacterial Vaginosis can cause a fishy odor and vaginal discharge.  Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated with Flagyl taken twice a day for seven days, Clindamycin pills or vaginal inserts.  However, you must contact your doctor to be evaluated to determine the specific cause of the vaginal odor.  You will be treated with the appropriate medication once the doctor performs tests to confirm the diagnosis.  The medication prescribed will depend on the diagnosis. 

Deborah Davis
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Vaginal odor may be caused by bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, poor hygiene or yeast infections. Less commonly, vaginal odor may result from a forgotten tampon in the vagina, cervical cancer, rectovaginal fistula or vaginal cancer. You must see your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. In the meantime, wash your external genital area during regular baths or showers using a small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water and avoid douching.
 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine

There is a range of normal for vaginal odor. First some background: the presence or absence of a microbe (infecting agents) corresponds poorly with the presence or absence of symptoms/odor.

Conflicts in patient accounts, physician attitudes, and textbook teachings, shows a wide variation in the "normal," and many of the symptoms associated with vaginal abnormality are found in well women.

Healthy women experience vaginal discharge. The quantity of discharge appears to vary from woman to woman and across an individual woman's menstrual cycle. Normal vaginal fluid contains malodorants and may have an odor that can be unpleasant. NOTE: staining of panties, visible discharge at the introitus, and a midcycle increase in discharge is normal. 

I'll answer the question, presuming there is NO infection neither STD or other as cause for the vaginal odor.

  • Vaginal hygiene measures are necessary (eg, wipe front to back, cotton underwear, no douching, no feminine products, use a mild soap).
  • Probiotic can help return normal flora to the area which when not in balance causes odor. Either from live lactobacillus or supplemental.
  • Deal with partner. Reduce number of partners; use condoms or dental dams.
  • Douching. Avoidance is long recommended as it will disrupt protective normal flora. However, vinegar and water douches have been used for decades to restore the vagina to its healthy acidic pH. Safety and efficacy are unknown. Further, if the woman has an actual vaginal infection, a vinegar and water douche will be ineffective in combating it.

Continue Learning about Vulvovaginitis Treatment

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.