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Why Does My Vagina Smell Like Metal?

While it may seem awkward to discuss vaginal odors with others, noticing a change in the scent of your vulva is nothing to be ashamed of. A coppery or metallic smell usually means you’re on your period. Blood contains iron, so this scent is totally normal and should pass once the flow stops.

Period Blood

If your vagina smells like copper or metal, it’s probably a sign of blood. This is normal and occurs when the lining of your uterus is shed during menstruation. Blood in general contains iron, which emits a metallic odor. This scent will usually only be present during your period and go away once it’s finished.

A tangy or fermented smell is also common in the vagina and is a sign of healthy bacteria. These bacteria release certain products that help to maintain the pH balance of the vulva. This odor is often compared to the tangy, fermented smells of foods such as yoghurt and sourdough bread.

Vaginal odor can change from day to day as the bacteria are in constant flux. These changes can occur due to things such as your menstrual cycle, sexual activity or even certain foods you eat. It is best to consult your doctor if you notice an unusual smell, especially if it’s accompanied by any other symptoms.

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An ammonia-like odor could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). This symptom typically comes with pain during urination, heavy discharge, and itching. It’s important to wash your crotch area regularly with a feminine cleanser and wipe properly after each use. Also, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration as this can cause the BV symptoms.


When your genitals start to smell weird, it’s easy to assume that something is wrong. But it could just be a normal shift in odor. Your vagina resides in a delicately balanced ecosystem, complete with its own bacterial flora. So it’s normal for it to smell a little different from time to time, and most of the time, those changes are nothing to be concerned about.

In most cases, a musky or earthy odor is a sign of normal vaginal discharge. The flora releases certain compounds that can produce the odor, as well as other natural odors, such as tangy or fermented. These odors are actually a good thing, as they help to maintain the acidity level of the vagina in order to prevent infections. A tangy or fermented odor can also be a sign of healthy bacteria and good hygiene, as long as the smell isn’t overpowering.

Semen—also known as ejaculate, spunk, or a host of other, less printable names—is fluid that carries sperm cells and is emitted from the penis. It’s typically off-white or yellowish in color, has a consistency similar to egg whites, and usually has a mild, musky smell that can range from sweet to salty to bitter. If your semen smells strong and ammonia-like, it may be a sign of dehydration or bacterial vaginosis.

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When the odor of your vulva smells like metal, it may be due to a bacteria imbalance. Your vagina is home to billions of bacteria, and their precise composition changes on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis. Normal bacteria have a slight tangy, fermented aroma that is similar to the smell of yogurt or sourdough bread. Occasionally these bacteria can overgrow and cause a fishy or putrid odor in the vagina. This is called bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis and usually requires antibiotic treatment to resolve.

A metallic odor may also be caused by the blood from your menstrual period or light bleeding after sex traveling through your vaginal canal and mixing with odor-producing bacteria. This smell is more common during the lighter days of your menstrual cycle when the flow is lighter and the odor-producing bacteria are more active. A coppery, metallic scent is also common when a woman has come into contact with semen or other hormones that change the pH balance in her vagina.

A strong rotten odor that makes your nose wrinkle is a red flag and likely indicates that something is wrong. If you are experiencing this odor, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

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Urinary Tract Infections

Women’s vulvas naturally produce a smell, and it is completely normal. A tangy or fermented odor is a sign that you have the right balance of healthy bacteria living in your vagina, and it’s similar to the smell of yogurt, sourdough bread, or even alcoholic beverages. These odors are produced when the bacteria in your vagina release substances that maintain its natural pH levels.

If you have a coppery, metallic smell or one that resembles a jar of pennies, it’s a sign that the normal balance of bacteria in your vulva is out of whack, and the smell may be related to a urinary tract infection. These infections are not only common, but they’re usually easy to treat if you follow your doctor’s instructions and finish taking all the antibiotics you were prescribed.

Another reason for a metallic smell is if you’ve been bleeding unrelated to your period or sex, or if you have a yeast infection. A rotten fish-like or putrid smell, or any odor that makes you feel sick to your stomach, is not a normal symptom and should be checked out by your doctor as soon as possible. They may recommend a test to see if you have an STI or a different condition, like cervical cancer.