Discharge with smell and itching in women

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 23.09.2022

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In the anatomy of the female genital organs, everything is arranged in such a way that the secretory glands secrete mucus, which maintains a healthy microflora and ensures their purity. Vaginal discharge is a normal process, as long as it is clear and without a pronounced unpleasant odor. A change in color, the appearance of smell and itching is a sure marker that something is wrong with health and it's time to contact a gynecologist or venereologist.

Causes of the smelly discharge and itching

There are various reasons for the violation of the beneficial microflora of the genital organs, from a banal violation of intimate hygiene to serious diseases. The main reasons for the appearance of an uncomfortable state of the intimate zone may be:

  • changes in the hormonal background - affects the increased reproduction of pathogenic bacteria, which causes an inflammatory disease;
  • reduced immunity - promotes the active growth of microorganisms, fungi;
  • pathologies of the reproductive sphere - sexually transmitted diseases, vaginitis, candidiasis;
  • cancer of the vagina, endometrium, cervix.

Risk factors

Contributes to the development of gynecological and venereal diseases frequent change of sexual partners, unprotected sex. Other risk factors include:

  • hypothermia, reducing the protective properties of the body;
  • taking antibiotics that provoke dysbacteriosis, and with it thrush;
  • pregnancy, during which the pH of the vagina changes;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • frequent douching;
  • allergy to pads and other intimate hygiene products, washing powders, condoms;
  • urinary incontinence in bedridden patients.


In a healthy woman, lactobacilli predominate in the microflora of the vagina (their average is 3.8-4.2), creating a protective background for the penetration of pathogens. Also, a high level of estrogen maintains the thickness of the mucous membrane, which provides local protection.

The imbalance of these factors becomes fertile ground for the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria or direct infection with sexually transmitted infections (trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, etc.).


Symptoms of disorders are difficult to miss, as they are not only visually visible, but they are caught by the sense of smell. This is very depressing for women, because for the majority, the absence of any body odor is a sign of cleanliness and grooming.

The first signs of pathology manifest themselves in different ways, depending on the reasons that caused them:

  • white discharge with an unpleasant odor and itching are caused mainly by vaginosis and candidiasis. The latter is provoked by the Candida fungus, it corresponds to the presence of  curdled flakes , severe itching, burning sensation, especially during sexual intercourse and urination. In this case, the discharge has a sour smell, yeast. Normalization of the vaginal flora will relieve; [1]
  • discharge with a smell without itching and burning is a reason to see a doctor, since even the usual leucorrhoea that accompanies sexual intercourse, the establishment of the menstrual cycle or the stabilization of the hormonal background do not give an unpleasant "ambergris", which means we are talking about health problems;
  • yellow discharge with a smell and itching most often indicate the course of an inflammatory process, a bacterial infection. In order for the disease not to turn into a chronic process and not cause reproductive disorders, it is necessary to make a diagnosis in a timely manner and start treatment;
  • greenish discharge with a smell and itching - this shade gives the presence of large numbers of leukocytes and this is a clear sign of acute inflammation;
  • discharge with itching and the smell of fish indicate vaginal dysbacteriosis (gardnerellosis). The vaginal microflora is disturbed when the functions of the gastrointestinal tract fail, taking antibacterial drugs, hormonal contraceptives, frequent hot baths, douching; [2]
  • brown discharge with smell and itching - the color itself may indicate that menstruation has not yet completely stopped, but the smell and itching are signs of gynecological diagnoses: endometriosis,  [3] ectopic pregnancy,  [4] polycystic ovaries; [5]
  • discharge with the smell of onions and itching accompany hormonal surges that occur in women during pregnancy, menopause, after intercourse and indicate the multiplication of a fungal infection.

Diagnostics of the smelly discharge and itching

In addition to studying the anamnesis and examining in the mirror, the doctor will take the vaginal discharge for analysis:

  • pH of the vaginal environment using indicator paper;
  • KOH (with potassium hydroxide) to detect trichomonas vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis;
  • preparation of a wet anatomical preparation - examine the material in saline using a microscope to detect mobile Trichomonas;
  • bacterial seeding - cultivation of secretions for fungi and Trichomonas;
  • serological blood test.

Of the instrumental methods, an ultrasound examination of the genital organs may be necessary.

Differential diagnosis is carried out between all possible pathologies and sets the task of accurately determining the pathogen - the culprit of vaginal discharge with a change in their color, the presence of an unpleasant odor.

Treatment of the smelly discharge and itching

The treatment protocol depends on the diagnosis. So, with vulvovaginitis, which is the predominant cause of odor and itching unusual for discharge, antibiotics are prescribed simultaneously for both sexual partners, local and general therapy are combined, factors leading to relapse of the disease are eliminated, and normal vaginal microflora is restored.

Other drugs used in discharge include anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antihistamine, hormonal, enzymes, vitamins, dietary supplements.


Metronidazole is an effective agent for combating protozoa and anaerobic bacteria.

Metronidazole - has several dosage forms: tablets, vaginal suppositories. With trichomoniasis, a tablet is prescribed 2 times a day for both women and men (sexual partners), even if one of them has no symptoms. Women put suppositories in parallel (1 pc per day). The course of treatment lasts 10 days.

Nonspecific vaginitis requires seven-day therapy, 2 tablets twice a day.

Tablets can be prescribed to children from 6 years of age. During pregnancy, the drug can be used if necessary, because there is no evidence of a teratogenic effect (animal studies have not revealed it). During breastfeeding, it is interrupted for therapy.

Metronidazole can cause a number of side effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, urticaria, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, ringing in the ears, elevated liver enzymes.

Contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to drugs of the imidazole group and other components of the drug.

Clotrimazole - refers to antimicrobial and antiseptic agents. Available in the form of vaginal tablets, suppositories, solutions, ointments and creams. Do not apply to children under 12 years of age, pregnant in the first trimester of pregnancy. Tablets are inserted into the vagina, one twice a day for 3 days or once a course of 7 days, like vaginal suppositories.

During treatment with the drug, allergic reactions, peeling in the genital area, discomfort, burning, and swelling of the mucous membrane are possible.

Pimafucin is a local antifungal drug, an antibiotic, used to treat thrush. The suppository is inserted deep into the vagina in the supine position at night. Repeat 3-6 days. Pimafucin can be used by children during childbearing and feeding. The tool can cause irritation, burning sensation. Contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to its components.

Iodoxide is an iodine-containing preparation in the form of suppositories with antimicrobial and antiseptic action. It is applied vaginally once a day for a week. Contraindicated in children, women during lactation and after the second month of pregnancy. There may be minor local reactions, the appearance of hyperthyroidism in existing diseases of the thyroid gland.

Itching can be relieved by applying a corticosteroid to the vulva, such as 1% hydrocortisone, as well as antihistamines (tavegil, suprastin, edema, etc.).

Tavegil - tablets are taken before meals once or 2 times a day, starting from 6 years (0.5-1 pc.), After 12 years and adults for the whole. The maximum single dose - 2 tablets, daily -6. Pregnant and lactating women are not recommended to take the drug. Tavegil can cause such side effects as fatigue, dryness of mucous membranes, nausea, tachycardia, shortness of breath.


What vitamins should be taken to help your body quickly get rid of unpleasant symptoms, strengthen immunity, prevent relapses, because even in a balanced diet it is difficult to provide the necessary need for them?

These include: vitamin A (improves blood circulation, has antioxidant properties), C - improves immunity, and vitamin E will contribute to its better "work". B6 is very important for women. They are taken during or immediately after a meal with water.

It is best to consult a doctor and choose a vitamin-mineral complex, which will concentrate the entire set of elements useful for the sexual sphere.

Physiotherapy treatment

After stopping the acute period of diseases of the reproductive system, physiotherapy can be used. It includes douching with medicinal solutions, inserting tampons soaked in them into the vagina, as well as such physical procedures as vaginal magnetic and laser therapy, darsonvalization, etc.

Alternative Treatment

Alternative recipes are tasked with providing an additional healing effect, which consists mainly in douching with solutions based on medicinal plants. In acute periods, they are not recommended to be carried out, but only at the stage of subsidence of the infectious process.

Decoctions are prepared from anti-inflammatory, antiseptic herbs, which include chamomile, calendula, St. John's wort, eucalyptus leaves, sage.

In addition to douching in decoctions, you can moisten tampons and put them in the vagina for 3-4 hours.


In the pharmacy network, you can buy homeopathic remedies that can help with vaginal discharge with smell and itching, but only after consulting a doctor.

Among them:

Agnus Kosmoplex C - torpedo-shaped suppositories, are used rectally, starting from the age of twelve, 1 piece 3 times a day. When the condition improves, they switch to two times a day: in the morning and in the evening, the course of treatment is 5-12 days. Do not prescribe to children under 12 years of age, pregnant women, during lactation.

The drug is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to its components, as well as in oncological diseases, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, AIDS, systemic blood diseases.

Gynecoheel is a complex homeopathic preparation in the form of oral drops, used to treat inflammatory diseases of the female genital organs. Appointed from the age of 12 years. The recommended dose is 10 drops under the tongue or dissolved in 10 ml of water and retained in the mouth when swallowed. Take three times a day 20 minutes before meals or an hour after a course of up to 5 weeks.

The drug can cause allergic reactions, especially in people sensitive to the stings of bees, wasps, hornets.

Remens - well-known drops help women not only in menopause, but also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the organs of the genitourinary system. Take 10 drops 3 times a day for six months. Side effects are unknown, there is no information about the harm to pregnant women and during lactation.

Candida Yeast - at the first sign of candidiasis, chew on a tablet every 2 hours. With the onset of improvement, reduce the dose to 4 tablets per day, for girls 2-12 years old, reduce by half, the course of treatment is 2 months. In the absence of positive dynamics within a week, stop treatment.

Complications and consequences

The appearance of an unpleasant smell of secretions (usually weak, barely perceptible), other symptoms that are not characteristic of a healthy state of the genital organs require immediate treatment, otherwise consequences and complications are inevitable, their transition to a chronic stage, loss of reproductive function.


Important preventive measures to avoid genital infections and inflammations and, as a result, the appearance of fetid discharges, are proper intimate hygiene, refusal to douche without the recommendations of doctors, the use of barrier methods of contraception in the absence of a permanent partner you trust. You also need to avoid hypothermia, promiscuity. Regular visits to a gynecologist for preventive examinations will help prevent many troubles with the health of the genital area.


Timely response to the problem gives a favorable prognosis. It can be unfavorable only for pregnant women with a recurrent nature of the disease and consist in termination of pregnancy, placental abruption, and infection of the fetus.

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