21 Sep 2011

I received a question from a woman who was experiencing a very unpleasant side effect from her clitoral hood piercing:

Hi Elayne,
I am so glad I found your website.  I need your wisdom.  I have had my vch for about two years and ever since I got it I have had a fishy scent.  Prior to my piercing I had no scent at all - not to be gross, but my husband said I had no scent or taste.  For example, I could be in bed for days with the flu and not shower and still not have any scent.  Now, even though I wash daily I still end up with a fishy scent by the end of the day.  (Sorry for the to-much-info details but I wanted to explain just how much my vagina has changed since the piercing).  I clean with ivory and move the barbell back and forth.  I don't have any discharge, redness, or pain.  My husband said the scent is not that strong but I am horrified.  I have not changed my piercing since I got it and from what the piercer told me I have a stainless steel barbell with "less than 18% nickel".  I am wondering if I need to chane to another material, if I may have bacteria inside the piercing, or if the barbell possibly changed the pH of my vagina???  Should I just take it out?  I am so embarrassed and would be grateful for any advice you could give me.
Thanks so much,

Hi R.
Do you mind if I inquire about your age? Some women find that as they age, their scent becomes different or more pronounced. Perhaps the timing with your piercing is just a coincidence?

That said, a jewelry change would still probably be a good idea. I'm not sure what your piercer was talking about, but that amount of nickel would probably give anyone a reaction of some sort.

Internally and externally threaded jewelryAlso, is your jewelry internally or externally threaded? See attachment. You should be wearing internally threaded jewelry. I'm not sure I'd suggest getting new jewelry from the studio where you got the current piece.

Where are you located? You can check the website for a member of the Association of Professional Piercers who is local to you, as they all stock internally threaded jewelry:


Thanks so much for your help Elayne!  I am 33 years old but I don't think it is my system changing because it started right after I got the piercing and the scent is only coming from where the piercing is.  I checked and my jewelry is an external threading.  So, I think that you are right.  I think the jewelry is the problem.  Not only is it external but I think the amount of nickel in it is causing my body to create the scent.  I am going to use the referrals webpage you gave me and find a piercer in my area to change the jewelry.  You really are an angel!  Thank God there are people like you who care enough to take the time to answer people's questions even though my piercing wasn't done by you!

Again your an angel!
Thank you so much,


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