You may be used to having a certain scent to your sweet spots, but during your period, it can change. The good news is that you're not alone—a lot of women experience this phenomenon. But what causes this change in the first place? And how can you deal with it? Here's everything you need to know about vaginal odor during menstruation.
What causes that period smell?
The vagina and vulva are designed to be warm, moist environments - the perfect home for bacteria to thrive. Surprisingly, that’s a good thing! Bacteria that live in our bodies are called "normal flora." The types of bacteria present in our bodies change depending on where they live--the stomach has different kinds than the intestines or mouth--and each person has their own unique mix of normal flora that helps keep them healthy by protecting against harmful invaders like viruses and fungus.
During your period, the pH levels of the vagina and vulva shift due to hormone fluctuations, and this change in pH leads to changes in the levels and types of bacteria present. This can cause a change in vaginal odor. You may notice a more metallic period smell, a fishy smell, or even a rotten odor. If you notice a change in odor accompanied by other symptoms like stomach pain, a fever, or yellow/green discharge, consult your medical provider as this may indicate an infection.
How to get rid of vaginal odor during your period
Remember, vaginal odor is usually totally normal and typically isn’t noticeable to other people. But if you’d like to minimize odor, there are a few things you can do.
Cleanse your external sweet spots with a pH-balancing intimate cleanser like SweetSpot Labs Microbiome Balancing Wash every time you shower to help lift away odor-causing impurities while protecting the delicate balance of your vulvovaginal flora.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester and spandex hug the body and retain heat - leading to more bacterial growth and more odor. Whenever possible, swap those snug undies or yoga pants for something lightweight and cotton to help minimize sweat, odor and bacteria.
The vagina is self-cleaning. Douching the vaginal canal can disrupt the natural balance of your microbiome and lead to irritation or even infection (not to mention odor). Remember when it comes to cleansing your sweet spots, stick to washing the outside only!
It can be tempting to cover up a period smell with scented personal hygiene products like deodorant or pads/pantyliners. While fragrance might cover up the smell temporarily, they do nothing to actually combat vaginal odor and can actually be irritating to your sweet spots. So skip the scented stuff or opt for a gently fragranced option like our washes and wipes that smell great but are still sweet on intimate skin.
Ah, the period panties. They’ve seen things, been through things. They’re highly dependable, but if you’ve only got one or two pair, be sure to give them a good wash between wears to minimize bacteria exposure and help reduce period smell.
There’s nothing wrong with partaking in sex while on your period! Just be sure to give your sweet spots a little extra care after. If you can shower, use one of our pH-balancing washes to lift away bacteria that may have been transferred from one partner to the other during the act. If you can’t shower, grab pH-balancing wipes instead.
How to prevent period odor
Unlike most ‘feminine sprays’ or even deodorants that attempt to cover up odor with harsh fragrance, the ingredients in Microbiome Balancing Intimate Spray actually prevent odor before it starts. Regular use of this spray blocks bacteria from digesting fluids—like sweat, semen, menstrual blood, and urine—and prevents odor from happening in the first place. Spray it on in the morning and reapply as needed throughout the day and say goodbye to period smell!
This website is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as medical advice. This information is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any medical condition.