Vaginal odor is typically from inflammation of the vaginal area. Inflammation of the vaginal area can occur because of poor hygiene but is often a result of infection in or around the vagina. A common infection that can cause vaginal odor is overgrowth of the normal vaginal bacteria to cause bacterial vaginosis. The sexually transmitted disease trichinosis can cause vaginal odor. Uncommon causes of vaginal odor include cancers and an abnormal passageway between the rectum and vagina (rectovaginal fistula).