yeast infection smell

Yeast Infection Smell: The vaginal odor symptoms you must know

  • Yeast infection smell experts guide is taken from our life changing lessons series, vaginal yeast infection section.

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Yeast infection smell

Do yeast infections smell?

One of the main characteristic of a vaginal yeast infection is the lack of odor or yeast infection smell. This may be a key difference between a vaginal yeast infection to other vaginal infections such as a bacterial infection.

On the other hand, lack of odor or presence of odor is not enough to confirm or rule out a vaginal yeast infection. Here is a quick summary of the main characteristics of a vaginal yeast infection:

  • Milky white discharge or very light yellow discharge.
  • Discharge is usually thick, chunky, looks like cottage cheese.
  • Usually no smell or odor. In some cases there may be very yeast infection odor. Fishy or offensive odor is not a typical sign of a vaginal yeast infection.

Other common symptoms of vaginal yeast infection may include:

  • Itching.
  • Irritation.
  • Swelling and burning around the vulva.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Soreness.
  • Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina).

If you have a fishy smell or fishy odor, you may have a bacterial infection.
See yeast infection vs bv to learn more.

Feminine odor

Vaginal odor Causes

Mild vaginal odor or feminine odor is normal, and in many cases doesn’t indicate there is a problem. Common factors that impact vaginal odor include:

  • Feminine odor from sweating.
  • Menstrual cycle.
  • Feminine odor products such as washes,  gels, douches, creams, vaginal suppositories.

Unusual or strong vaginal odor may be a sign of a problem, such as in cases of:

  • Poor hygiene.
  • Bacterial yeast infection (sources) – fishy odor.
  • Trichomoniasis STDs (source) – unusual fishy smell.

Strong vaginal odor can be a sign of a serious problem. If you sense a strong vaginal odor despite keeping good hygiene, do not wait and get tested by your doctor. Trying to mask or get rid of the feminine odor isn’t going to help fixing the cause of the problem that may continue to evolve.

What does a yeast infection smell like?

Yeast infection odor

Yeast infection usually doesn’t have a smell or has a very mild odor. Some people describe the yeast infection smell as similar to bread yeast. This means that yeast infection odor may not be the best way to look for in order to identify a vaginal yeast infection. A more distinct sign of a yeast infection is the yeast infection discharge: milky white discharge or very light yellow discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

Another distinct sign of vaginal yeast infection is the inflammation in the vagina that often cause frequent itching, swelling, burning, and pain.

Yeast infection vs bv

Yeast Infection or Bacterial Vaginosis?

The yeast infection vs bv is a common topic although it is usually quite easy to tell. Yeast infection and bacterial infection symptoms are completely different. Here is a summary of the main differences between bacterial to vaginal yeast infection as suggested by research (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4):

Infection Type Odor Discharge Pain Symptoms
Vaginal Yeast Infection.
Known as: Candidal vulvovaginitis.
Usually no odor. White, thick.
Looks like cottage cheese.
Burning.
Painful urination.
Pain during sex.
Swelling.
Itching.
Inflammation.
Bacterial vaginal infection.
Known as: Bacterial vaginosis, BV, Gardnerella vaginalis.
Fishy odor.
Strong smell.
Homogeneous.
Clear, white or gray.
Usually no pain. No Swelling.
No itching.

The smell or odor of a vaginal yeast infection is one of the main differences between bacterial to vaginal yeast infection. As you can see in the table below, the differences are usually quite distinct. With that said, when in doubt, do not wait and get tested by your doctor.

Doctors usually test for yeast infection by a vaginal exam, risk factors based on your medical history and the symptoms and other signs you share.
The bv or yeast infection quiz information above can help you become more aware of the different signs and symptoms which can help your doctor to diagnose the vaginal issue correctly.