Why the blood of the rule smells bad – here the answer


Surely you are not the first or the last who has realized that sometimes the period smells much worse than normal. However, before you get to answer that question, have you stopped to think about why menstruation smells so bad in itself? It's blood, after all, but when another part of our body bleeds from a wound, we can be sure that that bleeding barely smells, let alone “like that.” So, what about the rule?

Why the blood of the rule smells bad - here the answer

If you are also wondering why the blood of the rule smells bad, in this article we will clarify your doubt.

What is menstruation and why does it occur?

Menstruation, also colloquially called the period, is part of the female reproductive cycle, hence many times we talk about “menstrual cycle”. It usually appears at puberty, when sexual maturity is acquired, which means that the woman can already conceive children.

The period usually comes every 28 days approximately and usually lasts between 3 and 7 days. Blood comes from inside the womb, which passes through the vagina and from there to the outside.

Why we have the rule

Women are born with a certain number of eggs in their ovaries, which will mature and shed on their own until they reach menopause. At the beginning of each menstrual cycle, an egg is shed, passes through the fallopian tubes and settles in the uterus. That happens because, thanks to the hormones in the blood, the egg has matured enough so that it can be fertilized.

Meanwhile, the body prepares for possible fertilization, so the walls of the uterus (also called the endometrium) increase in thickness due to hormones. If the egg is fertilized, it will adhere to the endometrium and the woman will become pregnant. Otherwise, at the end of the menstrual cycle the extra thickness of the walls of the uterus will flake and the egg will fall. When the endometrium flakes, small blood vessels rupture. Therefore, the blood of the period would be composed of the flaky walls of the endometrium and the ruptures of the blood vessels.

Why the rule smells bad

You may have often wondered why menstruation smells so bad. We have to take into account the path that menstruation makes. In itself, any vagina gives off a certain particular smell. This is due to several things:

  • Bacteria: do not forget that the vagina is full of bacteria that protect it from possible infections. Bacteria, on the other hand, usually give off some type of smell, especially when there are many. That is one of the reasons why dogs usually smell our crotches, since their muzzle is able to easily smell these bacteria.
  • Vaginal discharge: vaginal discharge usually contains a fairly acidic pH for the same reason that vaginal bacteria exist: to protect it from possible infections. In each menstrual cycle the pH level can vary due to stress or medications, among others. Hence, menstruation and the vagina themselves have a particular smell.
  • Hormones: Hormones also have a lot to do with vaginal and menstrual odor. Depending on the moment we are going through, we can give off some hormones or others, which would cause a bad smell in vaginal bleeding.
  • Detachment of the endometrium: finally, we must not forget that the endometrium is part of an organ. If we were to ask a surgeon, it is more than likely that he could describe to us what each area of the body smells like inside. So, with this alone the smell of the rule would be more than justified.

It is also very frequent (and there is no need to be alarmed) if we have menstruation with a bad smell and clots, since the formation of clots is something completely normal that is not usually related to anything serious. However, if you want more information, in this other article you will discover the Causes of blood clots in menstruation.

Causes of odorless period

When the smell of menstruation begins to give off a slightly more unpleasant smell, it may be due to causes such as the following:

  • Infections: the vagina, being a moist and open area, is very easy to become infected with harmful fungi or bacteria, leading to infections such as vaginal candidiasis. This can produce, among others, a very bad smell, especially when we have the period.
  • Poor hygiene: carrying the same compress for many hours can create a much fouler smell than usual.
  • Sweat: If you sweat due to sport or heat, it can cause your period to smell worse than usual, since two bad smells would mix: that of the rule and that of sweat.
  • Vaginal cancer: vaginal cancer is usually another cause of bad smell in the period, because the discharge that usually occurs is quite abnormal. If you have any strange symptoms, we advise you to go to the doctor immediately.
  • Cervical cancer: This is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Many women have it without being aware of it. In its most advanced state, it can cause cervical cancer and, among others, present pain and very bad smell in bleeding.
  • Rectovaginal fistula: This is a small wound that goes from the anus to the vagina, so sometimes the stool would be slightly mixed with the vaginal discharges, causing a foul odor.
  • Use of medications: sometimes, certain medications can alter our body and cause us to produce, among others, a bad smell in sweating, in our vaginal discharge or in the period. In these cases, as soon as we stop the medicine, everything should be solved.

In any case, if your period smells very bad, we recommend that you go to the doctor or specialist so that he can analyze your case and put you on treatment.

Foul-smelling menstruation

When the period has a foul smell, the main cause is usually poor hygiene. When we take a compressor a tampon longer than usual, it is logical that the smell increases aggressively. With the passing of the hours, the rule is parched in those disposables and, if we do not change them frequently, more and more blood will accumulate on top of the already dry. Like any organic component, it is decomposing on its own, so if we carry a compressor tampon for many hours, it is likely that what we are smelling is the organic decomposition of the ruler, which usually gives off a very foul smell. This usually happens on the last days of the period, when our menstruation is scarcer and we can relax and forget to change the compress as often as the first days.

However, menstruation can also be due to other causes, such as those explained in the section “causes of the period with a bad smell”. The best, in any case, is to go to the doctor to make us a review and check that everything is fine in our body.

Smell of fishy ruler

Many women complain of giving off a rotten fishy smell in their periods. Sometimes, even, it is likely that they will notice this smell also in other types of secretions, such as saliva, sweat or urine. This is due to the so-called fishy smell syndrome, a pathology caused by an error of metabolism, specifically by a problem when it comes to oxidizing trimethylamine in the liver. It is an enzyme that in itself gives off a very bad smell. If it does not decompose, it passes into the blood, and from there to secretions of all kinds. In the case of menstruation, we would notice the smell of fish more strongly because it would come directly from the blood.

However, the smell of fishy ruler may also be due to other reasons, such as those you can see in this other article on Why My Flow Smells Fishy. If you suspect you may have this or another problem, it's best to see your doctor as soon as possible.

The rule smells rotten to me

The rotten smell in the period is usually related to infections and sometimes pregnancies. To be sure what type of infection it is, your doctor or specialist will perform a blood and urine test. If nothing is found, they will also take a sample of your vaginal discharge for analysis.

However, sometimes infections can be due to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so if you have had recent relationships with someone unknown (and without a condom), it would be best to ask your doctor to do the relevant tests for this type of disease.

From we hope we have helped you with this article on why the blood of the rule smells bad. Any questions you have about it, it is best to consult with your doctor.


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