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Does Your Vagina Smell Different During Ovulation? An OB-GYN Explains

It's not just your imagination.

by Jacqueline Burt Cote
Originally Published: 

If you're trying to get pregnant (or, for that matter, if you're trying not to get pregnant), you've probably taken it upon yourself to become as familiar with your body's fertility signs as possible. You might have figured out that when you're ovulating, you tend to get weird, burning cramps on one side of your abdomen. You might notice that your bra gets tighter at the same time every month. You might have a stronger sex drive when you hit peak baby-making time. But did you know your vagina can even smell different during ovulation?

Yes, your vagina may smell different during ovulation

Considering how many changes our bodies go through during our most fertile phase of the month, it's no surprise that a shift in scent would take place. And it's not just “down there” that you might notice a difference in body odor: Research published by the Association for Psychological Science found that men who were exposed to the scent of an ovulating woman's t-shirt displayed higher levels of testosterone than men who sniffed the shirts of a non-ovulating woman.

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“I am certain the vagina smells differently during ovulation for several reasons” Dr. Alan Lindemann, an OB-GYN, tells Romper. “The entire vaginal PH and cervical mucus change during ovulation. The cervix produces mucus favorable to sperm. It is the home away from home for sperm. Intact mucus bars all invaders except sperm, which live in intact mucus and are released into the uterus in a shower over several days. That's why conception can occur over 48 to 72 hours after intercourse,” he explains.

Don’t freak out if you don’t notice it, though

These changes in scent may be very subtle, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to conceive and looking for any clues about your potential fertility at any given moment. As helpful as it would be in the baby-making process if ovulation had an unmistakable, universal, and consistent bouquet, you truly might not even notice the change. That's okay, though — in many cases, strong vaginal odors are a sign that something's not quite right (such as a yeast or bacterial infection).

At the end of the day (or cycle, to be more accurate), everybody's different, and there's no guarantee that a particular scent means your body is ready to make a baby. But if you notice that you seem to be producing the same smell every month during your most fertile days, it is possible that a change in vaginal odor indicates ovulation. However, investing in an ovulation test kit is probably more accurate way to keep track, and if you’re really concerned, it’s best to reach out to your health care providor.


Dr. Alan Lindemann, M.D., OB/GYN

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