The perimenopause, changes in vaginal bacteria, sweat, and other factors can alter the smell of your menstrual blood. A fresh, disagreeable smell could potentially be a sign of an infection or, in rare instances, cervical cancer. Call your doctor if maintaining proper hygiene and replacing menstruation products on time don’t work. Your menstrual cycle can undoubtedly result in some rather peculiar odors.
“Vaginal mucus and endometrial cells can be seen in menstrual blood. There may be a distinct smell when those with blood are combined “gynecologist Dr. Yana Markidan in private practice states.
But if your blood smells more metallic, sweet, or something else, it should normally smell the same from month to month. Since vaginal scents can be an indication of infection, noticing a new smell throughout your menstrual cycle may indicate something isn’t quite right.
Here are the top seven causes of stronger-smelling periods and what to do about them.
1. BLOODY AND NATURAL VAGINAL BACTERIA MIXING Although every body is unique, healthy period blood frequently has a metallic or sweet odor due to the blood’s iron and copper levels mixed with vaginal flora.
Your menstrual blood may have a different smell if your vaginal microbiome, often known as the bacteria mix there, changes.
The Common culprits below can disturb your vaginal microbiome.
Smoking Douching alterations in hormones brought on by menopause or pregnancy sexually transmissible diseases How to handle it: Maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome and reducing overpowering odors during your period are both benefits of maintaining appropriate vaginal and vulvar cleanliness.
Try some of the tips for good vaginal hygiene listed below if you already smell something foul; if it doesn’t work, see a doctor.
Remember not to wash your vagina after sex, but to regularly wash your vulva with warm water. Put on cotton underwear that is breathable. Before wearing, wash new underwear. Do not scrape or douch anywhere down there. BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS 2. (BV) According to Markiden, when you get your period, you lose “healthy” bacteria called lactobacilli. You are more susceptible to infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV) as a result of this.
The most frequent medical cause of vaginal odor, according to Markiden, is bacterial vaginosis. You’ll probably notice a fishy odor down there if you have it; this odor may combine with blood during your period to produce an extremely overpowering odor.
Other BV signs and symptoms include:
Particularly when urinating or having intercourse, burning discharge that is green, gray, or white. severe itching How to handle it: You should get medical attention if you suspect you have BV. Antibiotics may be recommended by your doctor to treat the bacterial infection.
After the infection has cleared, your doctor might advise taking over-the-counter probiotics to maintain a healthy microbiome and reduce your risk of contracting BV again.
3. Menstrual products that have been in or on for too long You might detect a strong blood odor if you’ve kept your tampon, pad, or menstrual cup in for an extended period of time.
How frequently should menstruation products be changed? That depends on the products you favor, though:
Menstrual cup pad: Tampon How to handle it: Urinary tract infections, STIs, and toxic shock syndrome can all be prevented by changing your menstrual products on time. It can also lessen unpleasant odors and lower your risk of these conditions.
4. OVERDRY SWEAT Extra sweating is a grade of common symptom of menstruation . Additionally, if you perspire between your legs when on your period, your vaginal area could smell like a soiled gym bag.
The natural perfume of your skin and the aroma of your vaginal flora can both be enhanced by sweat glands in the genital region. When menstrual blood and the combined salt, fat, and bacteria from sweating are combined, the result can be a strong, unpleasant mixture.
Treatment: If sweat is the source of the odor, gently cleaning your vulva in warm water with a light soap should get rid of it.
“You have to utilize a mild, fragrance-free cleanser throughout your menstrual cycle. Because soap can dry out your skin and change the vulva’s delicate pH balance, increasing your risk of infection “Says Markidan.
5. STIRS THAT ARE TRANSMITTED VIA Sex (STIS) You may have a STI such trichomoniasis, chlamydia, or gonorrhea if you smell something nasty and have odd discharge.
However, a STI will continue to smell even after your period has ended.
Other signs of trichomoniasis and chlamydia include:
During your menstrual cycle, you may see abnormally colored discharge that is yellow, green, or another color. bleeding from the cervix when not menstruating Lower abdominal discomfort that may resemble menstrual cramps notably during urination or vaginal sex, vaginal itching, burning, or pain Remember that STIs don’t always have an odor or other obvious symptoms.
Treatment options include a five-, seven-, or ten-day course of antibiotics for trichomoniasis and chlamydia.
VITAL CANCER 6. Your vaginal area may develop an Dr. Yana Markidan 0 if you have cervical cancer. When your body sheds dead tissue or malignant cells, they exit through your vagina and give off an odor that some people think smells like rotten flesh.
A longer or Dr. Yana Markidan 1 menstrual cycle and a stronger odor during your period are also possible effects of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is one of the most Dr. Yana Markidan 2 cancers worldwide, however because of higher rates of annual Pap tests and immunizations, it is now Dr. Yana Markidan 3. Between the ages of Dr. Yana Markidan 4, it is most usually diagnosed before menopause.
Typical signs include:
bleeding or spotting in between cycles Lower back discomfort that may resemble menstrual cramps After-sex pain or bleeding brought on by tumor growth Exhaustion difficulty retaining urine your legs are in pain and swollen. Losing weight unintentionally or having less of an appetite How to handle it: Make an appointment with your OB-GYN for a Pap smear if you have these symptoms. Your medical provider might advise Dr. Yana Markidan 5 and a biopsy based on the findings.
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these are all possible treatments for cervical cancer.
perimenopause 7. An Dr. Yana Markidan 7 during your period could be brought on by the hormonal changes and vaginal dryness brought on by perimenopause.
This is because your estrogen levels vary and your vaginal pH gradually increases, leading to Dr. Yana Markidan 8 periods that might intensify vaginal odors.
Other perimenopause warning symptoms include:
unusual time frames vulvar aridity difficulty retaining urine How to handle it: Since vaginal secretions Dr. Yana Markidan 9 in response to a mix of hormonal and nutritional factors, estrogen therapies and vitamins can boost vaginal lubrication and improve smells.
A medical expert can provide further information about alternative treatments, such as vaginal lubrication, if you’d prefer not to take hormones.
INSIDER’S KEY LESSON The majority of the time, an odd smell during your period is not cause for alarm. Any unpleasant scents can be eliminated by changing your menstruation products on schedule and gently cleansing your vulva with water and a light cleanser.
Contact your doctor as soon as you can if you experience any additional symptoms, such as pain or nausea, or if you simply feel unwell. They can assist you in determining potential causes and suggest the best course of action to help you feel better.