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Do Periods Smell?

Do periods smell? Period smell is commonly misunderstood. We are bombarded with images and advertisements which imply we should cover the smell using floral smelling products. But do periods actually smell? And is it normal for periods to smell?

What is period blood?

To start with, we need to understand what period blood is. Period blood is not like blood which comes from a cut. It is a mixture of the blood from the uterus lining, vaginal fluid, bacteria and thickened endometrial cells.

Do periods smell?

Short and simple answer; yes. Periods do smell. Like any vaginal fluid there is a slight smell. It may smell different depending on how long it sits in your uterus before leaving. The smell is caused by bacteria mixing with old blood in the vaginal canal. Period smell is completely normal.

But is the smell strong enough for others to smell it? Although you might notice your period smell it is very very unlikely that others can.

Periods are a natural process and so any smell is nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone with a uterus will experience it too so it is not something which only affects you- do not worry.

A sign the smell might not be quite right…

If you notice a drastic change in the smell of your period or it smells fishy it may be a sign of something different. A strong fishy smell can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis which is an infection caused by a pH imbalance. So if you are worried please visit your GP or nurse, it is usually easily treated.

Problematic advertising…

Adverts which imply we need to cover the smell are really problematic. They create inaccurate depictions of vulva and vaginas implying they are somehow dirty and need to be covered. Not only is the smell pretty similar to our usual scent, the perfumes the adverts are promoting are commonly harmful to our bodies natural pH.

Therefore, you do not need ‘douches, perfumes or perfumed products. At any time. Vaginas are pretty amazing and are self-cleaning ensuring that bacteria is kept out. Water works perfectly or if you really feel the need to use soap try a neutral pH soap with no nasty chemicals. Finally, Disposable period products with perfumed chemicals can actually make the smell stronger.

Our tips

As we have mentioned, period smell is completely normal. But a stronger smell can be avoided.

Here are our top tips:

  • Avoid chemical disposable products: Disposable period pads contain lots of chemicals which can actually make your period smell stronger.
  • Keep dry: Excess blood can lead to a stronger smell so it is important to stay dry. Make sure to change products when full. Lilypads reusable pads use a magic material which quickly absorbs any liquid keeping you feeling try. Shop our pads today.
  • Keep clean: Although perfumed soaps should be avoided it is always important to keep clean especially after exercise so make sure to wash your vulva outside. However, excessive washing our douching can actually make it worse as the pH will be impacted.
Want to keep up to date with our chat about periods join our chatty community which chats all things periods and leaks here.


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