WHEN SHE'S NOT SO AWESOME

Some change in the smell, color, or quantity of vaginal discharge is completely normal. The amount can vary, as well as its appearance (clear to milky whitish), depending on your menstrual cycle.1

The smell may be different if you're pregnant, ovulating, or even if your pants are too tight. Many factors can cause a change in your vagina's pH balance and lead to irregular odors or discharge.2

NORMAL VS UM, VERY OFF

Ask yourself these questions3:

  • Is the odor emanating from my vagina very funky?
  • Is the quantity or color of the discharge different than usual?

A very strong, fishy odor or an unusual amount of greyish-white discharge may be the sign of an infection like bacterial vaginosis (BV). That's why it's very important to talk to a healthcare provider about BV.

WHAT CAUSES CHANGES IN pH?

There are many factors that can affect your vagina's pH balance and lead to common vaginal infections. Don't worry! With the right diagnosis and prescription, they are treatable. Here are some main factors. If you'd like to learn more, check out "How to Keep Her Awesome."

DOUCHING

Douching has been known to increase the risk of vaginal infections.4 If you need to wash your vagina, only wash the outside (the vulva). Think of your vagina like a mouth. You wouldn't want to wash it out with soap; focus only on the outside.

SEX

Yes, unfortunately, sex can alter the pH level in your vagina. That's because semen has a pH level from 7.1 to 8. If you have a female partner, remember that improperly cleaned toys can also lead to an imbalance.5,6

Use condoms to avoid upsetting your balance. If you're allergic to latex, consider a latex-free brand.

THONGS & CERTAIN UNDERWEAR

A lot of thongs and underwear are made of nonbreathable material. This can trap moisture and lead to an imbalance.7

It's best to wear cotton underwear. And that all of the underwear—from band to crotch—be made of cotton.6,7

MENSTRUATION
& TAMPONS

If you experience changes in discharge and odor before or after menstruation, it's not uncommon. Your pH level is elevated during your period because blood has a pH level of 7.4.6 Tampons can further your imbalance. That's why if you notice any changes, it's important to talk to a healthcare provider.

BREASTFEEDING
OR MENOPAUSE

Estrogen, one of our hormones, plays a large part in keeping vaginas healthy and slightly acidic. When women breastfeed or begin menopause, estrogen levels are low. This can cause a higher pH level.6

If you're breastfeeding or starting menopause, prep for a visit to your healthcare provider and ask about your estrogen levels.

COMMON VAGINAL INFECTIONS

Remember, simple changes in smell, color, or discharge are normal. But if the change is significant, or accompanied by feelings of itchiness or burning, it may be one of the common vaginal infections below.1,8

BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS

Bacterial vaginosis (BV for short) is a very common infection.8 In fact, it affects over 21 million women in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 49 annually. BV is caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your vagina. Basically, it's when the bad bacteria outnumber the good.9 BV may increase your chance of contracting other infections or cause complications in pregnancy. Thankfully, BV can be treated with the right diagnosis.10

YEAST INFECTIONS

A yeast infection is caused by one of the many species of fungus known as Candida. Candida lives naturally in your body, and does not usually cause harm. However, Candida can grow in warm and moist environments—causing a vaginal infection.11

TRICHOMONIASIS

When it comes to common vaginal infections, trichomoniasis is the only one that is truly an STI. (Side note: Learn why STDs are now called STIs!) It is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomoniasis vaginalis and is passed from partner to partner during intercourse.11

CHLAMYDIA

Chlamydia is not a common vaginal infection. However, it is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Some women will have discharge with chlamydia, others may not. A more common symptom is bleeding, particularly after sex.11

NONINFECTIOUS VAGINITIS

Noninfectious vaginitis is when skin around the vagina becomes sensitive, most likely due to irritants like scented tampons, perfumed soaps, or even fabric softeners. Technically, this is not an infection. But it is recommended you stop using these products if you experience symptoms.11

43% OF WOMEN WITH BV

are aware that if left untreated, BV can cause an increased risk of STDs.12*

*SURVEY METHODOLOGY

Survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Symbiomix Therapeutics, LLC, a Lupin Company and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) within the United States between September 14 and 29, 2017 among 304 US women aged 18-49 who have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional with bacterial vaginosis (BV) within the past 2 years ("women with bacterial vaginosis"). Figures for age, income, race/ethnicity, region, education, and size of household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.12

TALK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

Take charge of your treatment plan! Get a helpful guide with questions to ask and ways to prepare for a visit with your healthcare provider.

GET THE GUIDE

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