How to Keep Clean on Your Period
One of the primary reasons people feel unclean when menstruating is because periods often carry a scent— which is typical across all women and doesn't indicate anything wrong or negative. Since your body is releasing blood and tissue, it makes sense that your vagina might smell different than normal. Even if there's nothing to worry about, it may be a less-than-pleasant experience, and can impact your day-to-day comfort and self-esteem. In that case, you have a few approaches at your disposal to manage any odor.
The best way to keep smells from lingering is to shower regularly and wash your vulva only with warm water. Avoid douching, even if you're tempted—this can lead to infections that will only create additional problems.
You can also use unscented feminine wipes or a washcloth to clean your labia to reduce odor and bacteria buildup. Just be sure to avoid scented soaps and never use soap inside your vagina.
Change your feminine hygiene products often
A lot of the time, the smell you're experiencing is created by blood and bacteria lingering on feminine hygiene products for an extended period of time. Though tampons, pads and panty liners typically require changing every six to eight hours, changing more frequently can reduce negative odors and your risk of infection.
This is particularly important if you have a heavy flow. Expect to change your products more frequently, at least once every four hours (sometimes more often), in order to reduce smells and bacteria from lingering.
You may want to employ changing other feminine hygiene products like period underwear and menstrual cups more often than recommended to decrease odors.
Add probiotics to your routine
Many people who are susceptible to bacterial vaginosis (BV) find their periods can trigger this infection. Since your pH level changes during your period, it becomes much easier for recurrent BV to flare up.
To reduce this risk, take probiotics regularly, or at least leading up to and during your period. This can minimize the chances of infection right after your period.
Remember, your vagina is self-cleaning
Your vagina doesn't respond well to harsh soaps and chemicals. In addition, messing with your pH can lead to unexpected health problems. The good news is your vagina is self-cleaning and requires minimal upkeep to remain healthy. During your period, your body sheds old blood, tissue and bad bacteria so your vaginal health can flourish.
As always, you know yourself best. If something doesn't smell right down there, even on your period, it's always a good idea to reach out to your gynecologist.