Dolly Doctor

We can finally explain why period blood smells...the way it does

Gross, but informative!

By Bianca Mastroianni

Don't deny it, there's been a time when you're on your period and you get a whiff of what's going on downstairs and just wonder, "why you smell dat way!?"

Like periods weren't already gross enough, right?

Turns out, there's a ~scientific~ reason as to why period blood smells so different to normal blood.

In an interview with Refinery 29, Taraneh Shirazian, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health in NYC (what a mouthful) - has revealed the answer.

Period blood isn't just blood.

Yup, it might be red and all blood like - but period blood is actual fluid fulled with bacteria, vaginal mucus, and tissue. The odor can get stronger depending on how long the blood is in your uterus.

If it's a ~fishy~ smell, then it's not normal.

"When you're bleeding, you retain moisture in the vagina," says Dr. Shirazian. This could lead to "secondary vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis, (BV) which has a strong, fishy odor."
According to, it's not an STI but it definitely raises the risk of getting an STI. Don't worry - it can be treated with antibiotics.

It can depend on the products you use.

No matter how much the internet may tell you that 'douching' helps vaginal odours, it's extremely dangerous and can cause infections (like BV) and is associated with higher rates of pelvic inflammatory disease.

Just stick to washing your fairy with mild, scent-free soap or water and it'll all be fine.

Vagines' gotta vagine after all!