Why does my period smell so bad

Why does my period smell so bad?

An unfertilized egg, blood, and uterine lining tissues are all expelled during a menstrual period. It is perfectly natural for this mixture to have a distinctive odor when it exits the vaginal canal.

Some people may experience a metallic, rotting, or fishy odor in their menstrual blood. Some odors are harmless, while others could indicate a problem. The pH of the vaginal fluid and the presence of bacteria are two factors that might affect the scent of menstrual blood.

This article seeks to explain why your period might smell bad, the type of smell, and what the smell means.

Menstrual period

Normal vaginal bleeding that happens as part of a woman’s monthly cycle is referred to as menstruation. Your body gets ready for pregnancy month by month. The uterus, or womb, sheds its lining if pregnancy does not occur. Menstrual blood is a mixture of blood, unfertilized egg, and uterine tissue.

What does menstrual blood smell like?

The uterine lining sheds blood and tissue through the vaginal canal during menstruation. It happens when an egg released during ovulation is not fertilized enough to result in a pregnancy. It is possible that the menstrual fluid, which contains blood, an unfertilized egg, and uterine lining tissue, has a mild distinctive odor.

Because blood contains iron, a person’s menstrual blood may have a metallic odor. The scent of vaginal secretions and period blood may also be influenced by the acidic environment of the vagina and the presence of certain types of beneficial bacteria.

Period blood can have a variety of scents depending on a variety of reasons. The following are some of the most frequent scents associated with menstruation blood:


During a period, a person may notice an unpleasant or rotten odor, which could indicate a problem. This odor is frequently caused by a foreign body, such as a tampon, that has been left in the vaginal canal for an extended period of time.

An outdated tampon can be removed from the vaginal area by locating the string and tugging it out. Otherwise, it will have to be removed by a doctor.


Period blood has a metallic odor, similar to that of a copper coin. This is usually caused by the presence of iron in the blood and is not a cause for alarm. It should, however, not last much longer once the period has ended.


During menstruation, some women experience a “fishy” odor. Fishiness, unlike other prevalent scents, usually denotes a medical condition that requires medical attention.

The most common cause of this stench is bacterial vaginosis, a form of infection. It also has a much stronger odor than a typical period smell. If the “fishy” odor is accompanied by the following symptoms, you may have bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection caused by bacterial overgrowth in the vaginal canal. New or multiple sex partners, as well as douching, are risk factors for bacterial vaginosis.

Because blood raises the vaginal alkalinity, bacterial vaginosis produces a fishy odor, which is particularly noticeable during menstruation. Outside of menstruation, a person may experience white or gray vaginal discharge.

Doctors use a variety of tests to detect bacterial vaginosis and often prescribe antibiotics for therapy. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, is another ailment that causes a fishy odor during a person’s period. Trichomoniasis is a protozoal infection that can be passed from one person to another by sex.

Odor of the body

During the menstrual period, a woman may experience a scent that is comparable to body odor. The existence of apocrine sweat glands in the vaginal region accounts for this. Body odor is created when apocrine sweat combines with germs on the skin.

During times of stress or anxiety, the glands produce this sort of sweat. It’s not the same as perspiration lost during exercise or when the body’s temperature is high.

Sweet smell

The acidic atmosphere and the presence of bacteria in the vaginal area are likely to cause a sweet odor of period blood.

Period that smells like “death”

Your period can give out an odor that varies from month to month. Although some women say their period “smells like death,” this isn’t always a cause for concern.

The strong odor is most likely caused by blood and tissues entering the vaginal canal, as well as microorganisms. Bacteria in the vaginal area is typical, though the number can vary.

The ensuing “rotten” odor from germs combined with the menstrual flow should not be detectable by others. You might be able to keep such scents at bay by changing pads and tampons regularly, especially on days when you have a lot of flow.

Why does my period smell so bad?

Below are some of the reasons why period can smell so bad

Change in vaginal pH balance

Don’t be alarmed if your menstrual blood smells a little sweeter than usual; it’s quite natural. This occurs when the pH of your vaginal fluid changes. Your vaginal pH is usually between 3.8 and 4.5.


The noxious odor could be a sign of vaginal infections or allergies. As a result, be aware of any odor emanating from the vaginal area and seek medical advice if necessary.

Symptoms such as a foul odor, irregular vaginal discharge, or spotting between periods should not be ignored. Also, refrain from self-medicating. Only take the medication that your doctor has prescribed.

Poor hygiene

Onion or salt odors may be present during the period. It may occur as a result of a lack of appropriate hygiene. As a result, you’ll need to maintain the area clean and change tampons and sanitary pads on a regular basis.

Wear breathable underwear and avoid using deodorizing products such as wipes and sprays. Don’t douche, as this might remove good vaginal flora, causing illness.


Certain scents are very typical during a woman’s menstruation. The vaginal environment is acidic, with a microbial balance that produces odor. Your period smelling so bad can be caused by a variety of reasons such as poor hygiene, bacteria infection, allergies, and so on.

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Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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