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You already know that your body changes throughout your menstrual cycle and so does your natural ‘fragrance’. This is because your body produces different hormones that change your discharge, including its smell. This is totally normal and to be expected. The blood you see during your period is the lining of your womb.
Menstrual blood itself is a mix of blood, tissue lining, and an unfertilized egg, so it’s never going to smell like fresh cotton sheets.
Blood is iron-laden, so it is natural to smell that way, especially if you leak and let it dry.
Here’s what you can do to avoid unpleasant smells during your period:
Washing with clean water in the shower is all you really need. If you feel you need a bit of extra help with staying fresh, do it more often.
Avoid harsh, perfumed soaps, as they make provoke thrush and produce even more smells and soreness.
Change your pad every 4-6 hours, even when your period is light.
Avoid tight pants and tight underwear, especially toward the end of your period.
Wear cotton underwear instead, even toward the end of your period when your vagina needs to ‘breathe’ and balance its pH.
You could try using menstrual cups instead of pads, as they prevent any discharge from contacting air (that really causes the smells). Consult your doctor about this.
If you notice any sudden changes in smell, a very pronounced odor, other symptoms, or you are just worried, please consult your ob-gyn.