Why does my pus smell like mustard
Do we need to worry? This is why your menstrual blood smells
Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
From puzzling PMS symptoms to unpredictable cycle fluctuations: our periods sometimes don't make it all that easy for us.
We now know pretty much what the different colors mean, but we still have gaps in our knowledge when it comes to odor. To close this, we worked with Dr. Taraneh Shirazian spoken. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health and has told us why the blood sometimes smells strange and whether there is cause for concern.
"Blood itself has a certain smell," says Dr. Shirazian. In addition, as you probably know, menstrual fluid is made up of more than just blood. During your menstruation, you excrete various substances such as bacteria, vaginal mucus, fluids, and tissues. That's why menstrual blood doesn't smell the same as blood that comes out of a cut, for example. It's a mixture instead of just blood. Depending on how long it's in your uterus before it comes out, the smell may be more or less intense.
"It is either bacteria mixed with old blood or just vaginal bacteria that come out with the blood," says Dr. Shirazian. That is also the reason why an individual smell is created. When asked what is normal and what is not, she says: "Healthy menstrual blood should just not smell fishy".
A change in smell can be a sign of a problem
The odor can also come from the bacteria that naturally build up. "When you bleed, there is moisture in your vagina," explains Dr. Shirazian. This can lead to vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), which have an obtrusive, fishy odor ”. BV occurs when the bacteria that are normally in our vagina are out of whack. Sometimes it can go away on its own, sometimes it needs antibiotic treatment. While BV isn't an STD in itself, it does increase the chance of getting an STD. If the smell is unpleasant, itchy, or you have painful urination, you should definitely see a doctor. This also applies if you smell an unusual smell outside of the bleeding, as you may have BV, vaginitis (infection of the vagina), or another infection that needs treatment.
Keeping everything dry on the outside can help
There is nothing wrong with natural blood odor, and the chance that anyone but you will notice it is very small. But if the smell bothers you anyway, it can help to keep the area as dry as possible. Change your tampon, sanitary napkin or menstrual cup regularly and try to “wear cotton underwear and breathable clothing that contains as little spandex as possible and is best not as tight,” recommends Dr. Shirazian. As a result, you sweat less. While sweat isn't the main cause of the odor, it can contribute. “Many types of bacteria grow from blood and sweat,” she explains. "Another reason for bacterial growth can also be very heavy bleeding". This means that the odor is usually naturally higher on strong days than on light days. If you have the feeling that you are generally losing a lot or significantly more blood than usual, it is best to contact your gynecologist. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of fibroids (benign mesenchymal growths), polyps (can be benign or malignant), or hormonal changes.
Don't use vaginal douches. No way.
Conclusion: Vaginal odor, like vaginal discharge, is completely normal. As long as you have an eye on your body (observe changes in the cycle, etc.), change your hygiene products regularly and - now comes the most important point - never use a vaginal douche, you don't have to worry about it normal To make smell. Even if it may make you feel insecure or ashamed, there is no reason to use a vaginal douche. In fact, it can be a cause of infections and create much worse smells.
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