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Rather crude and personal subject, but would be grateful for any advice.

(22 Posts)
MumfordandDaughter Fri 05-Apr-13 12:25:32

One of my best friends - who I've known for 10+ years - has a really strong, fish-like smell down below. A few weeks ago, we went on a weekend away and were stuck in a small room together, sharing a tiny toilet. Each time she visited the toilet, this smell would linger for a long time afterwards.

Yesterday, we - and other friends - went out for a meal. My friend and I visited the toilet. She went first, came out and the smell was there again. My dd made a comment, which really embarrassed my friend, but i told dd not to be cheeky and apologised. However, other people queueing for the loo were making faces as if they could smell it too.

The problem has always been there. I can remember in high school, getting changed for gym, she'd always go to the shower room to get changed because other girls would make fun of her for the smell. Not outright, but they'd say things like "Who is that?" "Ew, it's coming from this side of the room, must be one of you lot". She joined in for a while, blaming it on another girl, but then the tables turned.

We talked about it a few years back, and she said she can't smell anything, but it must be something to do with her periods if other people can smell it. But it's not just during her periods at all. Last night during dinner - no idea why! - my friends and I were discussing our cycles and how varied they were, and my friend told us that her period ended over a week ago and have always been regular.

My dd is at the age now where she says what's on her mind - she also has autism, and can often be too honest - and I'm terrified she'll start making my friend feel bad about this smell.

Last night, when i got home, i Googled several theories and came across something called bacterial vaginosis. I wonder if that's what my friend could have? Or maybe this is just her normal scent? She's never complained of itchiness, discharge etc. She is also a virgin so it can't be an STI.

There's no way she'd visit a doctor about this. She is extremely body conscious.

I just don't know what to do. Should i leave it? or should i be brave - risk ruining our friendship - and telling her she should go to a doctor?

I'd be really grateful for any advice at all.


UnderwaterBasketWeaving Fri 05-Apr-13 12:29:35

I was going to suggest bacterial vaginosis. She will have to see a doctor.

MumfordandDaughter Fri 05-Apr-13 12:34:14

Thanks, underwater.

There's really no way she'd go to the doctor about something so personal.

So i don't want to bring it up, knowing how she'll react to the suggestion of a doctor visit.

If she's lived with it this long, it might just be a case of letting it be. She doesn't seem unhappy about it, or even aware of it. She may well have gotten used to the smell.

I'm just concerned about other people's reactions, and wonder if my friend is picking up on these. She went really quiet and grumpy after my dd's comment last night, and i feel terrible. I'm dreading the next time we all get together because of this.

scarletforya Fri 05-Apr-13 12:40:04

Good God, she'd rather smell of fish than go to the go to the GP ?

Time for a bit of straight talking I think OP.

invicta Fri 05-Apr-13 12:43:11

Bv was mentioned on Embarrassing bodies the other day. Not sure if I saw a repeat or a new series. May be watch it together.

LadyApricot Fri 05-Apr-13 12:46:42

Fish odour syndrome is an actual thing. Google it.
I think it can be controlled with medication and possibly Botox, weirdly.

ReluctantBeing Fri 05-Apr-13 12:48:23

Maybe she just has dodgy personal hygiene. A colleague of mine if open a out how little she washes and everyone knows not to go into a loo cubicle after her.

LadyApricot Fri 05-Apr-13 12:50:28

The odour comes out through sweat and wee so would explain the loo smelling strange after she'd been in there.
Poor lady! sad

MumfordandDaughter Fri 05-Apr-13 12:53:37

I think even the suggestion of bacterial vaginosis will really offend her. It might not even be that, as she's never mentioned discharge.

I've spoken to our other close friend about it before and she just shrugged it off saying it's her (the other friend's) problem to deal with if she wants to.

I don't think it's lack of personal hygiene as she doesn't have B.O or anything, it's just this particular smell.

thecatneuterer Fri 05-Apr-13 13:03:11

This was on Embarrassing Bodies recently - and is a condition which I can't remember the name of. The woman in question was able to effectively cure it by cutting something out of her diet - but I can't remember what that something was.

NotSoEdenRoc Fri 05-Apr-13 13:10:52

Why would she be offended at the suggestion of BV? It's nothing to be ashamed of.
I had it a few years ago, and didn't have a discharge or any noticeable symptoms. I only found out I had it because I had to see my GP about another gynae related issue and the GP took a swab.

That said it does seem more likely to be this fish odour syndrome that others have mentioned.

swallowedAfly Fri 05-Apr-13 13:11:51

it kind of sounds like she has bigger problems than vaginal odour tbh. does she have any sort of learning difficulties or issues?

pigsDOfly Fri 05-Apr-13 13:15:27

Does sound like bv. I used to work with someone who had it and you could smell it from quite some distance.

I too think some very straightforward but tactful talking is needed here. She can't want to smell vile surely.

You might point out to her that the GP will not be alarmed by her symptoms and will have seen that and far worse thing many times before. And also point out the obvious advantages if she gets treatment.

How close are you? Would it help her if you were to go with her?

FunnyBird Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:25

I remember seeing something about this on Embarassing Bodies too. And it can be treated or managed through diet.

Viviennemary Fri 05-Apr-13 13:19:40

I vaguely remember hearing or reading about this somewhere. It's certainly a symptom of something a doctor will recognise.

DistanceCall Fri 05-Apr-13 13:21:56

Does your friend intend to have sexual relationships at some point? Because this would be quite a turnoff for anyone, I think.

She does need to see a doctor.

sapphirestar Fri 05-Apr-13 13:28:47

I saw it on Embarassing Bodies too, sure they said it can cause problems conceiving if left untreated?

Callthemidlife Fri 05-Apr-13 13:29:38

If it helps, my GP friend assures me that - in the most offensive smell department - the waft of the decaying cells of unwashed, infected toes on gentlemen with poor hygiene beats female gynae odours hands down.

VisualiseAHorse Fri 05-Apr-13 13:40:29

BV is quite common - I had it and never knew until I had a smear test. There was a little discharge (which I thought was normal!), but no smell for me.

She should go. If it's noticeable enough for others to smell after she has left the bathroom, she really should see a doctor.

WafflyVersatile Fri 05-Apr-13 15:13:38

does she not go for smear tests?

BV can be caused by bubble bath, so it doesn't have to be 'YOU'VE GOT BV YOU MUST HAVE HAD SEX' shock if that's what would make it embarrassing for her.

WafflyVersatile Fri 05-Apr-13 15:16:58

though it sounds more like she might have that embarrassing bodies thing. BV would have been picked up.

You'd think she must have been at the doctors about something at some point and that the doctor would have smelled it and suggested something. confused

Wideboy Fri 05-Apr-13 16:14:27

There are two things that smell of fish. And only one of them is fish.

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