Womens health

Foul smelling period: 6 Causes and 6 Treatments

Millions of women around the world are found to be complaining of foul smelling period. There is, however, a substantial population who seem to have never had this unpleasant experience. Those who do face this period blood smell may feel something’s wrong with them or that they are ‘not keeping clean down there’.

Many studies have also shown that some ladies including both adults and teenagers, go through this wrecking social experience of avoiding their peers or their peers avoiding them due to the fishy odour around them. Nonetheless, having a foul smelling period is pretty normal.

What does it mean to have a foul smelling period?


foul smelling period
Foul smelling period
Image source: realhealthvision.com

Foul smelling period is an uncomfortable and unpleasing experience to have. It implies to a malodour of the period blood which is different from the natural smell of the blood. Just like our bodies have their smell but when mixed with our body’s bacteria it gives the unbearable, strong smell of sweat.


This odour could sometimes be so overpowering, and you may begin to wonder if something’s wrong with your hygiene as you are suffering from foul smelling period. But apparently, this has got little or nothing to do with hygiene.

What do doctors have to say about the foul smelling period?

Health experts have reiterated in their answers to questions like “why does my period smell” or “why does my period smell so bad” that there could be more than one reasons for this. However, you should be concerned if your period blood smells fishy.

It is normally feared that any odours coming from the vagina or the menstrual blood are due to some infection or a grave disease. Take a look at the most common reasons attributed to this unpleasant odour. Use this as a checklist to guard against a smelly period.

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Is it your pH level?

Your body changes the pH level of the vagina while you have your menstrual cycle. The vaginal pH goes from acidic to alkaline during your period. This provides an idle environment for bacteria to flourish and thereby cause infection.

This infection, in turn, would cause the foul smelling period. Therefore, having some smell in your menstrual blood is normal, but yes there is a certain type of foul odour that could become unbearable. The natural odour may not even be strong enough to smell through your clothing unless the body sweats.

What does your hygiene say about you?

It is hard to imagine people who would be careless about their hygiene for any reason. I have known people who wouldn’t wash for days owing to their laziness, a hectic work routine or the fact that they showered just a day ago.

If you want to skip a shower in extremely harsh weather conditions that might be acceptable but skipping shower during your heavier flow days is not at all healthy. Wash yourselves down there but do not forget to dry. Leaving moisture will only invite fungal reactions and so on.

However, it is a misconception to use scented products to shoo away or kill the foul smelling odour of period. That can, in fact, trigger the odour and disturb the desired pH level.

How do you use menstrual products?

Stay away from products like scented pads and tampons. The contents used in these could play havoc with the natural pH balance of your vagina that can bring out a foul smelling period and put you at a higher risk of vaginal infections.

Some people do not change their sanitary pads for longer than required and this can bring about the smell. Also, some people are known to leave tampons inside them. These contribute to the foul period smells.

Is your Sexual activity affecting your period smell?

People go carelessly when it comes to keeping their relationships and sex in check, but it is highly recommended to practice safe sex habits for your good. This does not mean any kind of restriction on your having sex.

It only implies that should you should be careful, for instance, you should refrain from oral sex with people who have thrust in their mouth. You can easily Google more information on thrush which is a type of mouth infection.

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Did you choose the right clothing for your menstrual cycle?

It is generally advised to keep the vagina aerated while you are having your period so that the natural smell of menstrual blood does not mix with that of sweat and make your life a living hell. Wearing cotton clothing down there can work wonders in keeping you relaxed and reducing the possibility of having that foul smelling menstrual blood.

Do you suspect any vaginal infections?

If you notice a peculiar smell other than the explained normal period blood smell than you should immediately consult a health specialist to understand what’s going on inside you. There are a lot of minor and major vaginal infections that can develop in no time. One common indicator of all vaginal infections is abnormal discharge.

The list of possible vaginal infections is endless, and you may get scared reading about them. It happens to most of us. While reading about a certain medical condition, we would realise that we do have one or more symptoms of that condition.

It is funny, but it’s true. Therefore, you should very carefully monitor any abnormal vaginal discharge or the colour of your period before concluding that you’re infected.

Yeast infection is a commonly known vaginal infection, but it is not necessarily the reason for a foul smelling period because it makes the vagina generally smelly or smells like fish due to the bacterial reaction.

What could rescue you from the foul smelling period?

As much annoying as it is to face with a smelly period, it is a blessing to have simple home remedies and easy cures to counter this. Here are a few for you:

Keep yourself clean:

Keep yourself as clean and dry as possible during your period. You can achieve this by showering daily with non-perfumed and anti-irritation soap etc. There are many over the counter vaginal wash liquids available that are pH balanced and are hence safe to use.

Wear loose clothing:

You should also consider wearing loose clothing and light fabric like cotton underwear to let air pass through and not let your vagina sweat. This would greatly reduce the risk of a foul smelling period.

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Change pads timely:

Sometimes, women complain of rotten meat like the smell of period blood. Well, this is simply because blood has stayed on the pad long enough and the dead blood cells allow bacterial growth.

Do not, by any means be lazy to change your pad timely for this will surely bring about that odour you are trying to escape. Cotton sanitary towels are king when it comes to best sanitation to prevent a foul smelling period.

At no cost, should you leave a tampon inside you? Accumulation of blood in one place and then its reaction with the air causes the strongest foul period smell you can ever imagine.

The use of menstrual cups is also recommended be a few as they last longer than sanitary pads and tampons. However, the decision to use a menstrual cup is safer if recommended by your doctor.

Trimming pubic hair:

Keeping clean down there includes trimming your pubic hair before your menstrual cycle to avoid moisture retention and foul odour. Some people revert to douching which is cleaning the vagina using a certain pump, but this is not recommended by health experts as it could trigger vaginal infections, swelling and cervical cancer.

Eat yoghurt:

If you are not allergic to dairy products, try including more yoghurt in your diet when you are on your period. Why? Because yoghurt contains certain bacteria that help maintain your vagina’s pH level. It will surely be a great help in relieving you from that foul smelling period.

Dont use sprays:

Do not use any sprays or scents down there to chase away the foul smell as it would only aggravate it.

Dietary changes:

There are many food items that you could include in your diet to help you chase away foul smelling odour from the vagina or menstrual blood.

Foods rich in sugar content can overall lead to a smelly vagina as it could increase the increase the growth of some bacteria that lead to yeast infection. If you have a foul smelling period, you should instantly cut down on sugary foods.

Other useful home remedies include the consumption of fenugreek seed juice and the use of garlic in your diet.

A healthy lifestyle, a well-balanced diet and an overall hygiene-conscious attitude towards self-goes a long way in eliminating the chances of you having a foul smelling period. Take care of your vagina’s health just like you do for any other part of your body. You should also visit a doctor periodically to ensure it is free from infections and so on.

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317560.php
  2. https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Menstrual-Odour

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