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Have you ever wondered, does that “smell right” or “look right”? Has your partner told you, “that just isn’t right!” Many patients wonder what is normal and what is not in regards to vaginal odor and discharge. I’m here to help set the record straight.

Many of our appointments as gynecology care providers relate to something called vaginitis. Vaginitis is a term we use to describe many different things including vaginal itching, vaginal odor, changes in vaginal discharge and general sense from a patient that “something just isn’t right down there.” Sometimes we are quickly able to diagnose a yeast infection or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). Sometimes further work up is required to develop a diagnosis.

It is absolutely normal for you to have vaginal discharge of some kind. Your vagina is a mucus membrane like your mouth. Just as you wouldn’t want to have dry mouth, you similarly wouldn’t want a completely dry vagina. Likewise, vaginas are not meant to smell like flowers. A light odor or scent is perfectly normal, and at the end of the day or after an intense gym session it is normal to notice a slightly more pungent odor. Normal vaginal discharge can be clear to slightly white, and may be sticky/stretchy or thin depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle or what birth control method you may be using.

Vaginas require a very delicate pH balance. A pH imbalance can lead to vaginitis, other changes in vaginal discharge, and can even make you more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections. So how does one maintain that delicate balance? There are a few things we recommend to all patients to maintain vaginal health:

If you believe you are suffering from vaginitis please make an appointment to see your gynecologist, certified nurse-midwife or women’s health nurse practitioner. Ultimately a trained eye and specific lab tests are the only way to know what exactly is going on. If you are in the Northern Virginia Area and looking for obstetrical or gynecological services please reach out to Capital Women’s Care Division 67 ( and make an appointment with one of our health care providers today.

Mary DiMasi CNM Guided by her passion for women’s health and knowledge of advanced evidence-based medicine, Mary Di Masi, CNM is a trusted medical practitioner. Mary cares for patients at Capital Women’s Care in the Ballston area of Arlington, Virginia. After graduating from her certified nurse midwife program with honors, Mary started caring for women throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. Mary is known for patient-centric care where she spends time educating each of her patients on preventive medicine and treatment plans. This supportive type of environment allows women to share in the decision-making process for gynecological care, prenatal care, and delivery options. Mary even helps with family planning. Whether a woman is interested in selecting the right type of birth control or is ready to start getting pregnant, Mary offers compassionate care every step of the way.