Why Do I Smell Bad Before My Period?

25 July 2018
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Why Do I Smell Bad Before My Period?

Each individual has his own unique scent that varies depending on that person’s hygiene, diet, and even genetics. On the other hand, many women notice that their natural scent changes during their menstruation cycles.  

Having a weird smell during your menstrual period can be quite embarrassing. It can even affect their social interactions with their friends and loved ones, more so if they have sensitive noses. However, it can be just as embarrassing when you realize that you actually smell bad before your period. Why is this so?

First of all, being a little bit “off” before your monthly period should generally not cause any alarm except for medical reasons that will be discussed later on. It does occur among women even if you have high hygiene standards.

Different Kinds of Vagina Odors

While you may have already realized that your vagina has some sort of a scent, there are actually different types of vaginal scents depending on its state or condition. Some of the scents appear to be normal, while some need to be consulted to your doctor immediately.

Among common vaginal whiffs include the following:

  1. Musky odor

You may notice a musky smell especially after you just have sweated a lot. This is due to moisture that is released by your sweat glands around your vaginal area. Therefore, make sure to shower after an intense workout and change into fresher clothes.

  1. Fishy odor

If the scent increases post-coitus or it is followed by an abnormal discharge, the scent may be caused by a bacterial infection. In such cases, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.

  1. Bleachy odor

Some women experienced having this particular scent. According to experts, this is due to the use of lubricants or condoms. On the contrary, there’s no reason to be alarmed – perhaps you may have to stick to unscented variants instead.

  1. Metallic odor

This scent often occurs when you have your period. Normally, blood smells this way and mix with the vagina’s natural state. No worries, though -- it’s normal. Make sure to wash your vagina thoroughly before changing pads.

  1. Sweet odor

Apparently, what you eat can affect your smell down there. For example, eating citrus fruits are said to sweeten the taste of your vaginal fluids. On the contrary, asparagus, onions, garlic and broccoli can make you taste and smell “eew” down there.

Why You “Smell” Before Your Period

Among possible reasons of your “off-smelling” self before your period can be one of the following:

  1. Forgetting to pull out your tampon

Shocking as it may seem, it does happen. Moreover, using tampons and keeping it inside your vagina for a long time can promote bacteria growth that can emit that odd smell.

  1. It has something to do with your pH levels

Your vagina’s normal pH is below 4.7 which fall under the acidic side. However, your pH level changes before, during, and after menstrual period, as well as when you engage in sexual activity. In effect, your vagina’s pH levels become basic, causing it to emit a fishy scent down there.

  1. It may also has something to do with your diet

If you notice that you smell different after eating certain foods, try changing it preferably with more whole foods. If that does not change that weird smell, you may want to consider consulting your doctor about it.

  1. You may have infections

When you have your menstrual period, it’s understandable that you smell quite a little off. However, it can be another story when you smell bad before your menstrual period. One of the possible reasons is that you may have an infection.

Among possible infections that can occur in your vaginal area include vaginitis, yeast infection, cervix infection, bacterial vaginitis, and in worse cases, a sexually-transmitted disease such as Chlamydia. In this case, you should not delay the symptoms and consult your doctor immediately for treatment.

How to Prevent Getting Smelly “Down There”

At the end of the day, having a good hygienic practice can help minimize any bad odors. Likewise, you can do the following to prevent getting smelly down there:

  1. Change tampons / sanitary napkin / panty liners often to prevent bacteria growth. If you use tampons, make sure to remove it from your vagina after use.
  1. Wipe from front to back. This is to prevent fecal matter from getting into your vagina.
  1. Make sure to urinate and wash your private area immediately after having sex.
  1. Change your underwear after every use. Never turn it to “side B” even if there’s no discharge or if you have used it for only a short time.
  1. Trim / shave / wax your pubic hair, whichever hair removal method you prefer.

Avoid spraying your vaginal area with perfume to mask odor. It is best to wash your vagina only with water (preferably alkaline) instead of perfumed soaps.

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