Ob-Gyn questions? Ask a gynecologist online.
Hi, It's Dr. C. Board-certified Ob-gyne. I can help you today.
I'm sorry that you're having trouble with pain and odor. Usually, with a fishy odor we think of a condition called bacterial vaginitis (BV). This is caused by a growth of the wrong types of vaginal bacteria. The only way to make the diagnosis is to be examined. We check the pH of the vaginal fluid and find that it's high. We also look under the microscope and see cells covered in bacteria. These are called "clue" cells. The treatment is with an antibiotic called Flagyl for 5 days. Taking probiotic in food or supplement form may reduce recurrence as can using condoms during sex. In women in their 40s, lowering levels of estrogen can increase the chance of BV. The reason is that low estrogen levels can cause the pH to go up in the vagina. This makes it easier for the wrong bacteria to grow. So sometimes adding a low dose of estrogen vaginally weekly can help too.
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