Dear Dr. Kate: Like Fine Wines, Do Vaginal Aromas Change with Age?

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Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions every few weeks on EMandLO.com. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

I’m a fully grown woman, about to turn 32. I’ve just noticed my vagina has changed ‘tone’, it appears I have begun to smell more like a woman in her 30’s, it’s hard to describe but definitely a change. Is this normal? Am I imagining things?

— Je Ne Sais Quoi

Dear JNSQ,

All vaginas don’t smell, or taste, the same…but they do all smell. Odor tends to come from sweat – the vulva and vagina have sweat glands, too. And the scent may change as our menstrual cycle progresses, in response to hormones, or at the end of the day. It’s also possible that it changes over time or with changes in diet. Noticing vaginal odor, if it’s your normal one, does not mean you don’t have good hygiene or (god forbid) should start douching. No need to buy those scented sprays, either – the chemicals may give you a bad reaction, and do you really want to smell like a spring meadow? So if you think your odor is different in a bad way, head to your gyno – make sure it’s not vaginosis, a lost tampon or condom (don’t laugh, it happens), an STD, or a bit of urine leakage.  But if you’ve been checked out by your gyno, then rest assured that your scent is normal.

— Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. She generously shares her medical wisdom with EM & LO readers every few weeks. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.