Why Your Period Blood Smells And How to Deal With It

Menstruation probably isn't the time of the month you're looking forward to, right? One typically unpleasant thing about it – in addition to cramps, bloating and mood swings – may be that rather peculiar odor.

We bet you've wondered why you get it at least once in your menstrual history. 

It's different from the smell of regular blood, no one ever talks about it, and sometimes, you may be freaking out about if anyone else can detect it coming from you. So, really, why does period blood have this odor, and should you ever worry about it? Keep reading to learn what we've been told by gynecologists on it.

Meet Your Distinctive Menstrual Scent

Any women health specialist will tell you the specific odor of menstrual blood is a totally natural thing. When the blood coming from your uterus contacts air, it gains its own peculiar scent. Moreover, in addition to blood, during your period you also expel vaginal mucus, fluid, tissue, and bacteria (the good kind, mind it). That means, your odor depends on the exact composition of these – but also, on how long your menstrual fluid sits in your uterus before coming out. New blood will smell differently than old blood.

Know that the scent during your period is as organic and unique to you as any other thing in your individual body. A very strong menstrual odor is not normal, but no odor during the menses isn't either. Thus, never expect to have an absolutely scent-free menstruation. Remember, it's only your heightened self-consciousness during the red days that makes you nervous: that specific scent is only noticeable to you. The chance other people could smell it is next to zero. 

Keep It Dry and Clean

So, you shouldn't worry about the scent – unless you ever notice that odor has changed in quality, and especially, has turned fishy. Doctors say due to the high sensitivity of the vagina during the menses, there's a chance it absorbs moisture, which increases the chances for various infections. The fishy smell is characteristic of secondary bacterial infections and is often a sign of bacterial vaginosis. Always, if you've noticed any unusual smell about your vagina when menstruating, tell your physician about it. 

To reduce the chances of contamination in the vaginal area, keep your vagina and the surrounding area as dry as possible. Wear cotton underwear to minimize sweating: sweat gives a home to many bacteria during your period. Especially if your flow is thick or heavy, some menstrual fluid can stick around your vagina and cause bacteria to multiply.

To avoid any infections down there, keep your period habits healthy. Wash your vaginal area regularly and thoroughly with lukewarm water. Use mild feminine wash or natural soaps. Stay away from any scented feminine products – sprays, scented pads, or scented wipes – as their chemicals irritate your vagina and can worsen the menstrual odor. And remember to never, ever use douche for washing your intimate parts. Douching changes your natural PH balance, which almost always causes problems. 

Replace Your Sanitary Products Often

Health specialists recommend replacing your pad every 3-4 hours. In case of heavier flow, do it every 2 hours. This is mostly true for a regular pad. Enhanced premium pads, such as Genial Day, contain negative ion strip and other technology that safely neutralize unpleasant odor by preventing bacteria from multiplying.

If you wear a menstrual cup, wash it regularly with warm water every few hours. The thing is, the more blood gathers in one spot and catches some air, the stronger your odor gets. Changing your sanitary products often will reduce the chance. 

It’s also extremely important what kind of material your menstrual products are made of. Low-quality pads and menstrual cups increase the risk for bacteria multiplication: you can’t guarantee their (often cheap or chemical) ingredients won’t fight with the natural microorganisms in your menstrual flow. Using high-quality sanitary products made of organic materials (such as Genial Day pads and menstrual cups) can always give you this guarantee and reduce any unpleasant menstrual odor down to the minimum.