We've all heard friends say that if you drink pineapple juice, it'll change the way you taste, but that can't be the one and only thing that'll do it. (Also, is that even true?!) While there hasn't been much Official Research done on the Very Serious Field of Food-Related Vaginal Odor, here are some anecdotal things that doctors believe can alter the way your vag tastes.
1. Alkaline foods like asparagus, garlic, and strong spices like curry.
Karen Elizabeth Boyle, MD, FACS, says, "Healthy vaginas normally have an acidic pH, so any food or product that changes that pH can potentially make vaginas more foul-smelling." So not only could the foods above change your flavor, it would also explain the countless "my pee smells like asparagus" jokes.
Dr. Boyle says, "Taking antibiotics can change the natural bacteria of the vagina, cause yeast infections, and result in a change in the vaginal discharge a woman naturally makes. Because antibiotics kill all the natural bacteria, that can change the pH, and that can change the flora and the secretions. That can alter the smell." Any of those changes could also change the way you taste, but if you need antibiotics, you need antibiotics.
Obviously you should keep taking your vitamins if you need to, but Dr. Boyle says taking too much vitamin B "can cause strange odors, especially if you're taking a large host of multivitamins." It's also worth noting that what's unpleasant to one person isn't unpleasant to another. Plus, if vitamins make you healthier, take the freaking vitamins.
4. A rare condition called trimethylaminuria.
Boyle says this condition can cause "fishy odor smells in the body" because people who have it don't have the enzyme capable of breaking down the chemical compound trimethylamine. Ask your doctor if you're really concerned.
Maria Sophocles, MD, a gynecologist and medical director of Women's Healthcare of Princeton, says that wheat grass and chlorophyll can both act as natural deodorizers, which could alter your smell. Remember that episode of Sex And The City where Samantha makes the guy drink wheat grass because he had "funky spunk?" There you go.
6. Your period.
Alyssa Dweck, MD, the assistant clinical professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of V is for Vagina, says you might have a more metallic taste just before or after your period, due to the iron content of your blood. No big.
7. Working out.
Dr. Dweck says that sweating at the gym could give you a saltier taste, "due to the salt content of perspiration." Although we probably didn't need a doctor to tell us that one, validation is nice nonetheless.
Obviously, a slight change in the way you smell or taste isn't inherently bad, but if something is seriously off, you can always ask your doctor to make sure.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.