Your Period Stinks, Literally

Periods stink

Of all the things your period brings, a particularly pungent eau de vag has got to be among the most mortifying. Does it help to know it's both common and combatable? Start by arming yourself with the whole truth. It stinks. But it doesn't have to.

OMG, where did that smell come from?

Think of your vagina as a delicate ecosystem harboring the perfect balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria. When something throws off that balance, like having sex or not cleaning as well as you should, it can most definitely result in increased funkiness. When you get your period, out goes blood and uterine lining and in comes a tampon. Though natural and necessary, they’re all potential balance disruptors.

So what can I do to de-stench?

First off, a minimum amount of smell is totally normal, as is a bit of heightened funk during your period. That said, there are some things you can do, depending on the cause. If it truly is your period just funking things up, be extra diligent about changing your tampons and pads every 4 to 6 hours. Washing (outside parts only) with mild soap and water and making sure to always wipe front to back should help too.

What if my period is not to blame?

No worries. Let's consider a few other things. Do you bathe regularly and change your undies after exercising? There is such a thing as stinky vag sweat. Also: Are you taking any new medications or supplements? They could well be affecting the air down there. Foods can too, so maybe lay off the spices for a while. Simply drinking more water and taking a probiotic (or eating plain yogurt) may make a difference.

Just one more thing: Is it at all possible that you left a tampon up in there? That can cause a seriously gag-inducing stench and maybe an infection too, so do a quick check just to be sure. You’d be surprised at how often one gets left behind.

OK, this is one stubborn stink. Help?

Sorry, girlfriend. If none of this helps, or if the smell is crazy strong or comes with pain, burning, itching or suspicious discharge, get to your gynecologist, stat. You could have an infection, STD or other problem requiring a doc’s care. Be honest and thorough. They smell this kind of thing all the time. 



This is such a good article and nice thought too. It help!

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