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Why does my period smell?

Blood on fingers

Why do periods smell?

Periods are a natural process created by mother nature and the natural body process that makes our period smell is nothing to be ashamed of. Although period blood has a smell, it is not necessarily a bad smell. 

Period blood is nothing like the blood that comes out of any other part of the body and therefore menstrual blood has a distinct smell that may catch your attention. Although you can probably detect it and worry that your periods smell bad, it is usually nothing to worry about as period smell is something that all women, without exception experience. 

When women are menstruating, they release more than just blood. Together with the blood that comes from the lining of the womb (body’s preparation for pregnancy), fluid, bacteria, tissue and vagina mucus is also released. Your period smell can be more or less intense and depends on how long the blood sits in your uterus before leaving. 

The cause of the smell is either bacteria mixing with old blood or bacteria in the vaginal canal that is coming out along with the period. These are the key players that determine the smell of period blood and although period blood smell is normal, a fishy period smell is not. 

Why do periods smell fishy?

If your period smells like fish, this may be a sign that something is not quite right. The strong, fishy smell may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by germs resulting from an imbalance of the vagina pH. The infection can be easily treated and it’s best to see your doctor for treatment. 

Another reason why your period is smelling bad is due to the excess blood in that area. The more blood there is, the more bacteria will grow and the more potent the smell will become. The best way to avoid period smell is to keep the area as dry as possible. Wear cotton underwear (all WUKA pants are made out of cotton) and breathable clothing. The last thing you want to do is wear tight clothing that results in sweat and more bacteria around your vagina. 

If you exercise on your period, you should always wash your vagina after and change your period protection. Sweat and blood mixing together can be the reason why your period smells. 

woman in bath

Will washing more prevent period smell?

Washing blood from around your vagina will help to prevent bacteria overgrowth, however, washing yourself too vigorously may make the matter worse. Doctors strongly advise against douching the vagina while menstruating as a period smell is totally normal and douching may also clean away the good bacteria that live inside the vagina. It’s best to wash with pH balanced soaps or warm water to prevent harming the vagina's balance levels that may result in making your period smelling bad due to infection. 

Can other people smell my period blood?

The truth is that although you might be able to detect your period smell, the chances of someone else smelling your period are slim. Think about it, have you ever been able to smell when someone else was on their period? Don’t feel embarrassed by what is after all-natural, vaginas are not meant to smell like a bed of roses. Despite the commercials and what the media tells you, all women have a unique smell to their vagina and their period blood is no exception. 

The top 3 tips that WUKA can give you to prevent period smell is 

  • 1) Keep yourself clean, wash your vulva outside only
  • 2) Change your period protection regularly- you can wear the WUKA heavy for up to 8 hours
  • 3) Wear cottonand loose clothing

And remember, mother nature makes no mistake. Your period smell is natural. 


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