Dr. Jackie Walters

Does your vagina have a musty, fruity or fishy odor? Are you a diabetic? Do you eat a lot of onions or garlic? Did your man accidentally leave a used condom inside you?

Essence contributor and popular Atlanta OB/GYN, Dr. Jackie Walters breaks down the good vs. bad vaginal odors.

“All healthy vaginas will have some type of aroma,” she writes.

The star of Bravo TV’s Married To Medicine compares unhealthy vaginas to “a vaginal grocery store,” where “each aisle comes with a different potential problem.”

She says the odors drifting from your vagina (and the treatment to eliminate the odor) depends on your body chemistry, your diet and your day-to-day lifestyle.

So what does your cart smell like?

The Bakery
If you get a whiff of “warm bread” it is most likely that you have yourself a yeast infection. A yeast infection may smell like warm bread but you definitely didn’t get if from the bakery. A yeast infection has a cottage cheese like discharge accompanied by itching, burning and vaginal irritation. Most can be treated with over-the-counter medication, but should be evaluated by your physician if symptoms continue or reoccur.

The Seafood Department
Notice a smell of shrimp, salmon and catfish? Most likely you have a case of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and lemon juice won’t fix this one. Bacterial vaginosis has a strong fishy odor and a milky white discharge with or without irritation. The “seafood department” can be tricky. Even “fishy” can be too fishy. If an extreme unpleasant odor with a frothy discharge surfaces it could be trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease. You didn’t get it from the toilet – someone else passed it on. Unfortunately, this is a sexually transmitted and needs medical attention. Smells in this department require some further investigation, because a protozoan parasite, which is microscopic, causes an infection from a one-cell animal called trichomona. If this is the case, you’re not alone. Eight million plus Americans are infected with this every year.

The Produce Department
Like the produce department, your vagina may have multiple smells and tastes. It might smell like pineapples, strawberries or oranges. Or, it could be onions, garlic and asparagus. How we metabolize foods can directly affect what odors our bodies produce. For instance, a slight onion (musky) vaginal odor is nothing to cry about. A musky vaginal odor is usually a normal vaginal odor, but women who can’t metabolize asparagus and other foods may find themselves smelling like a side dish. We are what we eat and some women can taste and smell like their last meal. It has even been proven that eating sweet fruits can change the flavor and aroma in the bedroom.