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Every vagina is different, and therefore, every vagina has a relatively distinct scent. But if one had to define what a “normal” smell is, what would it be?

I know, that’s hard to say. But the good folks at Broadly decided to do some investigating, and we were intrigued by the answers they found.

They spoke to Dr. Maria Mendes Soares of the Mayo Clinic about this query, while also seeking out other expert opinions. What they found was that your vagina’s bacteria, known as the vaginal microbiota or the vaginal flora, is what helps to keep bad bacteria from growing by producing lactic acid (Lactobacillus) and hydrogen peroxide, and is also what keeps infections and bad odors at bay. According to Dr. Mendes Soares, the flora works to keep your vagina’s pH around 4.5, which is reportedly somewhat acidic. So a slightly acidic pH level equals out to what kind of scent?

“It’s likely that your vagina has a slightly sour smell,” author Bethy Squires wrote. “There will also most likely be a slight musty smell, from sweat that builds up in the nooks and crannies of the human body. Neither of these smells should be overpowering. In a blog post on WebMD, Dr. Heather Rupe says you should be able to smell a vagina from one foot away.

That’s normal.”

It’s unclear if Dr. Rupe meant that you should be able to smell it with clothes on, but it’s definitely something to test. You know, with someone who knows you well–and your vagina.

But it was pointed out that, of course, that fishy smell we talked about yesterday is not healthy. In fact, it could be a sign of a condition like bacterial vaginosis. But for the most part, your vagina should have an “ever-so-slightly” acidic odor, or musk, thanks to lactobacillus. Nothing too intense at all. This lactic acid found heavily in the vagina, can also be found in your food, including some favorite yogurts and beers, which are also characterized as having a “pleasant sourness” or “subtle mustiness” according to the site.

It was also noted, though, that eating certain things can temporarily contribute to whatever odor is emanating from your vagina. For instance, if you eat foods heavy in onion or garlic, you might notice a different smell coming from down there (Side note: One of our staff members even admitted that when she consumes foods heavy in garlic, she does notice a difference in odor down there). So don’t freak out if you take on a scent that’s not what you’re used to after dinner, as you could simply be secreting.

But you probably know the difference between a light acidulous smell and a strong odor that just won’t quit. If you’re dealing with the latter, you need to see a doctor (like your gynecologist). But if not, no need to be worried about doing the most to smell like a bed of roses, piling up your Target basket with Summer’s Eve, or eating all the sweet fruits you can to smell as sweet as possible. You’re just fine.


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