Women have to deal with a number of issues when they have their periods. Along with many other physical symptoms like cramping and abdominal pain, some other problems can make it an embarrassing experience too. One such issue is to notice foul smell during and after your period. Going everywhere with lingering foul smell may make others think you do not maintain a proper hygiene, and that can be embarrassing. The question is, why does period blood smell?
You ought to notice some odor when you have your period, but this may change throughout your cycle. Vaginal odor may become quite strong and apparent during one cycle, and there may be no odor whatsoever during another. The question is, should you worry about strong vaginal odor suddenly?
Why Does Period Blood Smell?
Before going any further, you need to know that fresh blood always has a smell, but it usually smells as a slight tinge of rusted iron. It should not be foul smelling though. Now coming back to why period blood smells, it usually happens when period blood gets trapped in a sanitary pad for extended hours – it may stay there for 6 hours or more overnight. The blood becomes stagnant and gives enough time to pathogens to grow in it. The foul odor you notice when you change your sanitary pad after several hours is actually the smell of the dying red blood cells that nourish the growth of bacteria.
You also develop bad odor during period because pads block the flow of air to your genital area. A tampon may mask the smell but will still let bacteria persist in the body. In fact, you will experience very bad odor when you leave a tampon inside your vagina for a long time after menstruation.
Here are some other common answers to the question, why does period blood smell?
Acidity or pH Levels
You have good and bad bacteria in your body. Those bad bacteria are kept under control because your body maintains a natural acidic environment. The acidic levels come down during a menstrual period, which in turn promotes bacteria growth. Your period blood may smell rotten when there is bacterial growth in your body.
You may notice your period blood to smell quite bad when you have an underlying medical condition. For instance:
- Yeast infection: You may develop a yeast infection due to a pH level imbalance in the body. You may experience a yeast infection at least once in your life, and you can fix the issue by taking antibiotics. You are more likely to develop a yeast infection if you take contraceptive pills.
- Cervix infections: A cervix infection can cause several complications. The most common symptom is strong odor with inflammation and abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Trichomonas infection: You will notice abnormal vaginal discharge because of this sexually transmitted disease. You will experience a burning sensation when urinating with itching and bad odor. Contact your doctor immediately to treat the infection.
Things You Can You Do
Now you know the answer to your question, “Why does period blood smell bad?” You may also want to know what to do in this situation. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Keep Your Pubic Hair Trimmed
You may have to deal with an overpowering menstrual smell due to your thick pubic hair. Sweat and blood stick to the hair and cause serious smell. Trim your pubic hair short to avoid dealing with this issue.
2. Change Pads Frequently
Leaving pads on for several hours will result in foul-smelling menstrual blood. You need to change pads as frequently as you can to avoid dealing with unpleasant menstrual odor.
3. Never Use Scented Pads
While it may seem to be the solution to foul-smelling menstrual blood, this is not. In fact, scented tampons and pads can affect the normal pH balance of the vagina, leading to an overgrowth of odor-causing bad bacteria. Only use soft cotton pads during your period.
4. Do Not Use Baby Wipes or Wet Wipes
You may think you will feel fresh by using wet wipes but they only make things worse by affecting vaginal pH balance. Even if you think you are using antibacterial products to kill off bacteria, they can also eliminate the good bacteria, which will again lead to an imbalance. You may even develop a bacterial infection that can be quite hard to deal with.
5. Keep an Extra Pair of Undies in Your Bag
Even though you need to change pads and tampons every 4-6 hours, you never know when they might leak. It is therefore a good idea to expect the unexpected and carry an extra pair of underwear with you all the time. Be sure to stick to cotton panties because they encourage air circulation around the vaginal area and keep it dry as well. Panties made of synthetic material can trap the moisture and promote the growth of bacteria and yeast.
6. Take Showers Regularly
Why does period blood smell? It could be the signal that you need a good bath. You should take a bath every day during your menstrual period. Do not use harsh soaps for washing your vaginal area because they can be harmful. You just need your hands and some water to clean your genital area.
When to Worry
What you should always keep in mind is that you do not always need to worry about not feeling fresh during your period. Your menstrual cycle may vary a lot, but you should consider talking to your doctor if you notice any sudden change in odor or vaginal discharge. You should also seek medical attention if you notice the odor become stronger than before because it may indicate a sexually transmitted infection.