Why Does My Discharge Smell Like Bleach?

Why Does My Discharge Smell Like Bleach?

There’s certain questions you never expect to ask when it comes to your health. Why your vaginal discharge smells like bleach is probably up there.

Let’s be real, no vagina smells the same, but rest assured that if you notice a jarring change, you’re not alone.

Changes in vaginal odor can happen for all manners of reasons—sexual activity, menstruation, and hormonal changes being the top of the list—and it’s natural

But a distinctly chlorine smell? That may need a little more investigating. 🕵️‍♀️

Read on as we demystify the reasons behind this unusual scent, discuss potential causes, and provide guidance on getting your vaginal health back on track.

In this article: 📝

  • Why does my discharge smell like bleach
  • Why does my discharge smell like chlorine
  • What can cause a vagina to smell like bleach?
  • Treatment for discharge that smells like bleach
  • Is it normal for my vagina to smell?

Why does my discharge smell like bleach

Ah, another mystery of the feminine universe!

First things first, let’s address the most pressing question: Is this normal?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Your vaginal ecosystem is a delicate balance of natural bacteria, and any slight fluctuations can result in changes in an unfamiliar odor.

Hormonal imbalance, hygiene practices, and even your diet can all wreak havoc.

And then there’s the see-sawing that comes with natural life stages like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

In a lot of cases, a temporary change in vaginal odor isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm—just another entry point to a great conversation on Peanut.

Seriously, you’re not alone if you’ve noticed a faint whiff of bleach-like odor from your vaginal discharge. 🙋‍♀️

Still, it’s important to pay attention to your body and be attuned to any other symptoms.

If you also notice vaginal itching, burning, unusual discharge consistency, or pain, it might be an indication that something’s amiss.

And the perfect time to contact your doctor and rule out any infections or underlying health issues.

Let’s dive deeper below. 🤿

Why does my discharge smell like chlorine

A chlorine-like scent is not quite the usual odor you associate with your vaginal discharge. 🏊‍♀️

And you’d be right.

What you may actually be smelling is a build-up of pee in your underwear or around your vulva.

More specifically, the leftover ammonia still present in your urine.

Let’s make space for ammonia for a hot second.

Ammonia is essentially a chemical by-product of your liver breaking down protein. But, too much ammonia in the body is not a good thing—it’s quite toxic.

To keep your ammonia levels low, your liver transforms this waste product into the far-less toxic urea, which is then released into your bloodstream.

From here, it’s a straightforward journey into your kidneys, where it leaves your body as you pee.

So, if your discharge smells like chlorine, it may just be a sign that your urea is not as diluted as it should be.

No need to ring the alarm just yet, anything from dehydration to a urinary tract infection (UTI) could be the cause.

What can cause a vagina to smell like bleach?

Several factors can contribute to a bleach-like odor coming from your vaginal discharge:

Urinary tract infection

As we mentioned above, bleach-smelling discharge could be the result of pee caused by infection.

UTIs come with the desperate urge to pee frequently, accompanied by very little coming out or pain when you do.

Bacteria from the gut is the main culprit behind UTIs, namely by wiping the wrong way, which can alter the smell of your pee.

Urinary incontinence

Urinary continence is the inability to hold your pee or peeing unintentionally.

It’s a minor condition caused by issues with the muscles that help your bladder hold urine.

And no, it’s not just the bane for the elderly—pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can all impact these critical muscles.

Urinary incontinence could lead to a build-up of urine, making your underwear smell like bleach.

Bacterial vaginosis

Your vaginal health relies on an intricate balance of bacteria. When this is disrupted, certain bacteria can multiply and thrive.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is basically the shift from the normal, healthy lactobacilli-dominant environment to one dominated by other types of bacteria.

These bacteria can produce compounds like trimethylamine (TMA), which results in that distinctive fishy vagina smell.

But some women report a more chemical-like vaginal odor. It’s not quite the same as ammonia, but it’s pretty darn close.


Saving the simple explanation for last.

Simply put, the less water in your system, the more concentrated your pee becomes.

This can lead to a stronger ammonia smell and a darker color to boot.

If you’re also experiencing decreased urination, tiredness, and increased thirst, it’s time to hydrate yourself.

Treatment for discharge that smells like bleach

If you’re concerned about the bleach-like scent lingering down there, know there are steps you can take.

Of course, these all depend on the root cause, so when in doubt, don’t hesitate to enlist your healthcare provider.

To reduce strong vaginal odor, try:

  • Gentle hygiene practices: Your vagina is a self-cleaning marvel. Overdoing it with harsh soaps or douching can disrupt its natural balance. So stick to mild, unscented products and avoid vigorous internal cleaning.
  • Avoiding douching: It’s worth repeating. Vaginal douching has been linked to a plethora of negative health effects, including yeast infections, BV, pelvic inflammatory diseases, and ectopic pregnancy. Often douching makes infections worse, so it’s definitely worth kicking to the curb.
  • Staying hydrated: Dehydration and a strong ammonia smell go hand-in-hand. Drink plenty of water to keep the urine flowing and the concentration low.
  • Talking with your doctor: If the bleach-like smell persists, and is paired with itching, burning, or discomfort, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They can rule out infections, determine the cause, and recommend appropriate treatment.
  • Prescription treatments: In cases of BV or other infections, your healthcare provider might suggest antibiotics or other prescription treatments to restore your vaginal harmony.

Your body is unique, and what works for one person might not work the same for another.

It’s all about finding what helps you maintain your comfort and confidence.

Is it normal for my vagina to smell?

The short and sweet answer? Yes, to some extent.

The vagina isn’t meant to smell like roses all the time (or at all, really), but it does have a scent. 🌹

And it’s quite normal to experience sour-smelling discharge or even metallic-smelling discharge.

Yeasty and sweet too.

Exploring the spectrum of vaginal odors can empower you to distinguish between routine changes and potential issues.

More importantly, understanding what’s normal for you can help you take charge of your vaginal health.

We’re not shy about discharge talk on Peanut—really, there’s not many conversations we shy away from.

And we’re having them in real-time.

So, if you’ve got questions, join us.

You’re not alone.


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