Why Does My Vagina Smell Like Onions?

Most females have a smell down there, which is normal and not something to be ashamed of. It can be a result of your period, sex, food or bacterial overgrowth.

But if you notice the odor has changed, think back to any lifestyle changes that might have happened – like diet, change of partner or even new shower gel.


You showered and used deodorant before you left the house, but when you sit down at your desk in the office, the smell of onions is wafting out of your vulva. This isn’t normal and may indicate a health problem, such as an infection. But how can you get the onion scent to go away?

A change in the odor of your vagina can be caused by many things, including certain foods, a forgotten tampon, and poor hygiene. When you sweat, the odor from your vulva mixes with it to produce a unique smell. This can happen if you wear scented feminine hygiene products, use tight-fitting underwear, and don’t change your tampon often enough.

If you eat foods that have a strong smell, such as onions and garlic, they can also affect the odor of your vulva, as explained by Romper. This is because these foods can change the way our sweat and urine smell, so they can leave a distinctive onion aroma in your vulva.

An unusual odor in the vulva is sometimes the result of an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. This is a common fungus that is normally found in the vulva, but it can overgrow and cause an unpleasant odor. If you notice the odor is getting worse, you should visit your doctor to see about a prescription for antifungal medication.

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The bottom line is, most healthy vaginas have a natural odor. But if it becomes overwhelming, it’s worth talking to your doctor, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD.

A strong, putrid fish-like odor usually means that you have a medical condition called bacterial vaginitis, which can cause pain, itching and thick, clumpy discharge. BV is caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria that disrupts the normal balance of good bacteria. It can be triggered by new or multiple sexual partners, douching or smoking — though some people don’t have any risk factors at all. A course of antibiotics typically cures it.

Tangy or fermented odors can also be a sign of a yeast infection, which is a common, treatable (with anti-fungal drugs) STD. Yeast infections are caused by hormones, antibiotics or certain cleansers that throw off the delicate balance of fungus and bacteria in your vulva.

If you get a coppery or metallic smell, it’s probably just a little blood down there — either from menstrual bleeding or perhaps some spotting or a bit of sex-related bleeding after you’ve had anal sex. If the odor doesn’t go away within a week, it may be time to visit your ob-gyn. In the meantime, you can try using a pH-balancing gel like RepHresh that is designed to keep your vulva acidic so odor-causing bacteria can’t grow.


Your vagina is a delicately balanced ecosystem that responds to all sorts of changes. Some may not need treatment, and others can lead to infection or other issues. Changing your feminine hygiene routine may help, but if the smell persists, consider seeing a gynecologist or other healthcare provider to get it checked out.

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The most common smell, which can be described as tangy or yeasty, is a normal part of your vaginal discharge. Good bacteria release certain chemicals to keep the pH levels in your lady parts stable, and this odor is the result. The odor may also be accompanied by thin, yellow or white discharge.

If the odor is only temporary, it’s likely not a sign of any serious health concerns, according to gynecologist Mary Jane Minkin, MD. It could be a result of penetration that briefly alters the normal pH levels in the vagina, or it might be a side effect from taking antibiotics. In some cases, this odor can be relieved by using a pH-balancing gel like Rephresh.

If the odor is persistent, it’s likely a sign of an infection. See a healthcare provider to get a diagnosis, and follow the instructions for your prescription to treat the infection. You should also avoid eating high-spice foods and using soaps that may change the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Wearing cotton underwear, instead of synthetic materials, can also help prevent odors because the material wicks away sweat more effectively.


It’s an uncomfortable subject for many women, but if you notice that your vagina smells like onions, don’t panic. It’s totally normal. Changes in vaginal odor aren’t something to be ashamed of, but they can be a sign of infection and should be taken seriously.

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The first thing to do is think about what you’ve been eating lately. It might seem counterintuitive, but food has a huge impact on how we smell. For example, if you’re eating lots of garlic or onions, it can leave your breath and vaginal discharge smelling like those pungent foods. Try to eat lighter foods and stick to fresh veggies, fruits, and lean meats to help avoid the oniony scent.

You can also check to see if you have any new medications or supplements that could be causing the smell. If the odor persists, talk to your doctor and get an exam. If the odor is caused by an infection, your doctor will prescribe medicine to help you get rid of it.

If the odor isn’t caused by an infection, it might be because you’re not washing your underwear properly or using the right type of soap. These simple changes should eliminate the odor. If not, it’s time to see your gyno. If the odor is due to an infection, she will treat you with antibiotics and the problem should clear up soon enough.

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