It seems like my vagina has taken on an oniony odor.

The presence of a vaginal odor is natural. Each woman experiences her period differently, and it may fluctuate throughout the month. It's not uncommon to have a body odor reminiscent of an onion, but fortunately, it's usually curable with some basic dietary and hygiene adjustments.

Onion odor is normal, but if it becomes overpowering and is accompanied by other symptoms like burning, itching, or a discolored discharge, you should see a doctor.

Keep reading to find out why your vaginal odor might smell like an onion and what you can do about it.  

Read, "Probiotics for Vaginal Health: Why You Should Use Them."

Influence of Sweating on Genital Odor

Sweating is a normal response to high body temperatures, but it can lead to a smell similar to that of an onion if not controlled. Extreme heat, physical exertion, and menopausal hot flashes are all factors that can amplify vaginal odor.    

An alteration to the normal odor of the intimate areas can occur when sweat from the pores around the vagina combines with other fluids such as urine and vaginal discharge.

What Helps

You can't stop perspiring, but frequent laundry changes can minimize body odor. In addition, wearing cotton underwear that breathes can help prevent vaginal odor. Wearing the same workout clothes more than once without washing is also discouraged.

Improper Menstrual Hygiene

SOS Vaginal Health

Keeping a vaginal bacterial balance that prevents irritation and infection is a natural process, but it still requires your daily attention to hygiene.

Vaginal odor can be greatly exacerbated by wearing the same underwear for multiple days or by forgoing regular showers or washes. When bad bacteria are allowed to flourish due to lack of vaginal hygiene, an infection can develop. If you want to increase your body's good bacteria, try taking a women's probiotic every day.

What Helps

Vaginal hygiene can be kept in check with as little effort as a daily wash with warm water and unscented soap to eliminate buildups of dead skin and perspiration. Wearing tight clothing can prevent air from circulating around the vagina, which can help reduce vaginal odor if sweating is the cause.

Adverse Food Reactions: What to Stay Away from


An onion's pungent odor can linger in the vaginal cavity just as it does in the oral cavity. The pungent odor of onion can be excreted in bodily fluids such as urine, sweat, or vapors after eating.  

Foods like garlic, asparagus, curry, and other spicy foods are also well-known for their ability to alter vaginal odor.  

What Helps

The good news is that if a vaginal odor was caused by a lingering food smell, it should go away on its own within 48 hours. You can dilute the odor by drinking a lot of water.

Misplaced Tampon

Even if it doesn't happen frequently, forgetting to restock on tampons can have serious consequences. There will be an odor comparable to a rotting onion when this occurs.  

What Helps  

Forgotten tampons can be removed and washed out with warm water and unscented soap at home.

It is recommended to see a doctor if the tampon has been left in the vagina for more than two days. While discarded tampons may disintegrate during removal, a doctor should still check for any remnants to make sure no one has forgotten to change their pads. In case an infection has set in or antibiotics are required, it is also wise to see a doctor.

If you find yourself routinely forgetting to take out your tampons, it may be helpful to set an alarm for yourself to remind you.

The Yeast Infection of the Vaginal Tract (Vaginosis)

A healthy vaginal flora is the result of a careful balance between good and bad bacteria, which is why it occurs naturally. An overgrowth of harmful bacteria can occur, however, if the good and bad bacteria are out of whack. The bacterial vaginal infection referred to as BV is the result of this disharmony.  

Among women, BV is most common between the ages of 15 and 44, coinciding with the reproductive years. There may be a burning sensation when urinating, itching, a fishy odor, and a thick gray vaginal discharge.  

What Helps

Schedule a visit to the doctor. Antibiotics are the standard treatment for BV, which works by reintroducing beneficial bacteria to the vaginal flora. Moreover, replacing the good bacteria lost to antibiotics with a probiotic, such as Intimate Rose's Flora Bloom Feminine Probiotic for BV, will not only help prevent future BV infections but will also help alleviate any current ones. While the effects of Boric Balance suppositories for BV don't kick in for around 24 hours, they provide much-needed support much sooner.  

Antibiotic use may temporarily exacerbate vaginal odor, but the odor and infection should subside once the course of treatment is complete.

STDs, or Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A pungent genital odor, somewhat reminiscent of onions.   accompanied by a heavy yellow discharge, it's possible that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia.

Vaginal itching and urinary discomfort are also possible symptoms.  

What Helps

The above symptoms should prompt one to seek medical attention.   visit a medical professional right away The infection will clear up once the prescribed medication is finished.

It's important to remember that having an improper balance of vaginal bacteria can greatly increase the possibility of acquiring STDs. However, An important step in warding off STIs, taking a probiotic supplement on a consistent basis will aid in maintaining the body's healthy bacterial balance.

Fistula of the Recto-Vaginal Junction

Rectovaginal Fistula (RVF) is a disorder in which there is an abnormal opening between the rectum and the vagina, and its symptoms include a vaginal odor similar to onions.

The most common causes of RVFs are pregnancy, Crohn's disease, and bowel inflammation.

Bowel contents can leak from the lower intestine into the vagina, creating a stench similar to that of onions, depending on the size of the opening. It's possible for feces or gas to leak out of the uterus rather than the rectum. Ignoring signs of infection can lead to unpleasant consequences like a high temperature, hives, and pain or discomfort while urinating.   

What Helps

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Drugs that suppress inflammation and fight infections are the usual treatments. Surgery to close the wound is usually necessary after the infection has been treated.


Mild onion-like vaginal odor can be eliminated with the help of certain remedies or lifestyle changes, including better hygiene, regularly changing underwear and workout wear, wearing loose clothing, and washing frequently.

It's time to see a doctor if the odor is strong and is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, itching, burning, or the presence of bowel contents in the vagina.  


Vaginal Odor (Mayo Clinic)

For more information on bacterial vaginosis and its symptoms and causes, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic:

CDC: Trichomoniasis:

The authors of this piece are Teresa H., Debeche Adams, and Jaime K. Bohl.   To learn more about recto-vaginal fistulas, visit:

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