Question: What do I do if my tampon smells?

  • Peer peer Answer
    Rachel Wilkerson
  • Mom mom Answer
    Stacey DuFord is a mom here to answer questions about period care.
    Stacey DuFord
  • Health Expert health expert Answer
    Molly O’Shea is a health advocate here to help you with your period.
    Molly O'Shea
  • Well, it depends! What does it smell like? The thing is, during your period, you might notice that you smell a little different. That’s totally normal. So if you notice that you tend to smell a certain way during your period, and you’re changing your tampon regularly, it’s probably nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you notice your tampon suddenly smells different than your tampon smelled a couple days ago, if it has discharge on it that looks grayish, greenish, or yellow, or if the odor is really strong, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider so they can make sure you don’t have any kind of infection.

  • If your tampon smells while you are using it, it’s probably time to change it. If you are worried about how it smells when you are disposing of it (especially when you’re in public), you can always keep plastic sandwich bags or grocery bags with you to wrap it in. If you find yourself without plastic, wrapping it in toilet paper is the next best thing.

  • I’m not exactly sure what you mean. If you mean that when you have your tampon in, you feel that there’s an odor, I can reassure you that it is a smell only you will notice. We all have a little odor from the moisture down there, and with some old blood mixed in, it can be a little mustier. But only you will notice it. Think about it: you can’t smell your friend’s period smell, so they won’t be able to smell yours. If you mean that when you remove the tampon and wrap it up to be discarded, there’s an odor, you could be right. Old blood is a rich medium for bacteria to grow and as a result, there could be some bacterial growth on the tampon after you’ve removed it and it’s sitting in the trash. Be sure to change your tampon regularly, every 4-8 hours, to avoid bacterial growth in the tampon while still inside you, and dump out the waste basket regularly if you feel there’s an odor.

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