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Does Your Vagina Smell Different When You're On Your Period? Here’s What’s Going On

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Even though you spend decades dealing with it, the menstrual cycle comes with plenty of mysteries. And the way it can smell is one of the more curious aspects of this monthly visitor. For instance, does your vagina smell different when you're on your period, or does it tend to maintain one scent all the time?

Well, this should come as no surprise, but period blood does in fact leave its signature scent on your nether regions. As noted in New Health Advisor, period blood has its characteristic smell because your dying blood cells promote the growth of bacteria. That said, this is a perfectly normal reaction. According to Refinery29, as long as you don't have a distinct "fishy" odor down there, your period smell is probably not a problem. (On the other hand, a fishy odor often signifies the presence of bacterial vaginosis, so you may want to bring this up with your doctor.)

If the odor bothers you, then there are some simple steps you can take to minimize the smell of your period. Bustle noted that changing your tampon or pad frequently, say every four to six hours, can minimize the smell. Daily showers can also help as well. For what it's worth, though, the scent is entirely natural.

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With that in mind, there are also a few things you should avoid doing to your vagina. First things first: step away from the douche. It's been said a thousand times before, but the truth remains: douching can cause all sorts of health problems, and it's not recommended by doctors, according to the Office on Women's Health. Additionally, trying to mask the odor can likely do more harm than good. As noted on Kids Health, using scented pads or tampons can ultimately lead to irritations down there. In general, using unscented menstrual products, switching them out frequently, and showering when you feel the need is all it takes to keep your vagina healthy and happy. Remember: it's not supposed to smell like a bed of flowers, anyway, so you can learn to live with your natural aroma. (At least until the next shower, anyway.)