Yeast Infections and Vaginal Odor: When it’s Normal and When to See a Doctor

Almost every woman has had some experience with vaginal odor, and most have encountered at least one or two yeast infections. Sometimes, these issues will resolve independently, but when symptoms persist or become worrisome, you should see a vulvovaginal specialist who can fully address your problems. 

Yeast Infections and Vaginal Odor: When is it Normal?

Yeasts are normal inhabitants of the vagina. However, the acidic conditions in a healthy vagina limit yeast populations, making them a minor member of the vaginal microflora. Over 30 other types of bacteria can inhabit the vagina but remain at low levels due to this acidic environment. 

If conditions inside the vagina become unbalanced, yeasts and bacteria can grow out of control. Yeast infections tend to result in itching, burning, and a thick, white, odorless discharge. Bacterial overgrowth can produce different types of discharge and odor depending on the type of bacteria. 

These conditions can happen for many reasons, including intercourse, menstruation, and feminine hygiene products. Some women may experience a few days of annoying symptoms that resolve independently. In these cases, the vagina’s natural balance reestablishes itself and restores order. 

When Should I See a Doctor for Yeast Infections or Vaginal Odor?

In general, you should see a doctor for any medical condition that affects your life and does not resolve by itself. If you have chronic or recurring vaginal symptoms, a vulvovaginal specialist like Dr. Fowler at Fowler GYN International can diagnose and resolve them. Signs that you should see a specialist include:

  • Itching, burning, or stinging
  • Extreme sensitivity
  • Soreness or throbbing
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain in the vulva and/or labia
  • Noticeable or unusual vaginal odor
  • Unusual or heavy discharge

Dr. Fowler specializes in treating those whose condition has not responded to previous treatments. In most cases, treatment failed in the past because it did not address the actual cause of these symptoms. 

What Causes Yeast Infections and Vaginal Odors?

In its normal state, the vagina has a pH between 3.8 and 5, making it moderately acidic. This acid comes from lactobacillus bacteria that live in the vagina and help keep it healthy. Lactobacillus consume cells shed from the vaginal tissues, producing lactic acid. Other bacteria and yeasts live in the vagina, but they cannot grow well and remain at low levels in these acidic conditions.  If conditions in the vagina change, these other microorganisms can grow, causing yeast infections, discharge, and odor. 

How Can I Get Rid of My Yeast Infections and Vaginal Odor?

Dr. Fowler at Fowler GYN International restores vaginal healthy using over 40 protocols targeting each woman’s unique needs. These treatments focus on addressing the underlying cause of the altered vaginal environment and restoring a healthy population of lactobacillus. When these “good” bacteria occupy their usual niche, they will restore an environment that prevents yeast and bacterial overgrowth. 

Take the Next Step

The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.

You can reach FGI at, or by calling (480) 420-4001.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest