Why Do Sanitary Pads Smell?

Have you ever wondered why sanitary pads have that unpleasant smell? Well, in this article we will be exploring the reason behind the smell and how you can have a odor free environment.

Why Do Sanitary Pads Smell?

There are several reasons why sanitary pads can smell:

1. Menstrual blood: Menstrual blood itself has a metallic odor due to the presence of iron.

2. Bacteria: Bacteria naturally present in the vagina break down menstrual blood and discharge, producing a slightly foul-smelling odor. This odor becomes more noticeable when the pad is not changed frequently.

3. Synthetic materials: Some sanitary pads contain synthetic materials like rayon and polyester, which can trap moisture and heat, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth and odor production.

4. Fragrances and dyes: Some manufacturers add fragrances and dyes to sanitary pads to mask the natural odor of menstrual blood. However, these chemicals can irritate the delicate skin around the vagina and vulva, and the fragrance itself can mix with the natural odor, creating a more unpleasant smell.

5. Length of time worn: The longer a pad is worn, the more time bacteria have to grow and multiply, leading to a stronger odor.

How to Prevent or Reduce Odor?

1. Choose the Right Pad

When it comes to preventing or reducing odor associated with sanitary pads, choosing the right pad is crucial. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Absorbency Level: Opt for pads with proper absorbency levels that match your flow. This will help prevent excessive moisture buildup and the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
  2. Overnight Pads: If you’re looking for maximum protection and comfort, consider using overnight pads. These pads are designed with superior technology to provide leakage protection throughout the night, allowing you to have a peaceful sleep without worries of leaks or odor.
  3. Wide Coverage: Look for pads that offer wide coverage. This ensures that fluids are soaked up quickly and efficiently, reducing the chances of leaks and minimizing odor.
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2. Change Frequently

Regularly changing your pads is essential in preventing odor. Here’s why:

  1. Moisture Buildup: When pads are worn for extended periods, moisture can accumulate, creating an ideal environment for bacteria growth and odor. By changing your pads every 4-6 hours, or more frequently if needed, you can minimize moisture, bacterial buildup, and unpleasant smells.
  2. Overnight Protection: Consider using alternative menstrual products, such as menstrual cups or period panties, for overnight protection. These options allow for better air circulation and can help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by prolonged pad use.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene practices is essential in keeping odor at bay. Here are some tips to incorporate into your routine:

  1. Gentle Cleansing: When washing your genital area, use a gentle intimate pH balanced body wash specifically designed for sensitive skin. Avoid using scented products or over-washing the vaginal area, as these can disrupt the natural balance and potentially exacerbate odor issues.
  2. Frequent Handwashing: Washing your hands frequently, especially before and after changing pads, is crucial in preventing the spread of bacteria. This simple step can help maintain cleanliness and reduce the risk of infection.
  3. Avoid Douching: Douching is not recommended as it can disrupt the natural balance of healthy vaginal bacteria and lead to infections. Stick to gentle cleansing with mild, unscented soaps instead.


By following these simple tips, you can effectively prevent or reduce the odor associated with sanitary pads. It all starts with choosing the right pad that offers proper absorbency, wide coverage, and overnight protection. With the right pad and proper hygiene practices, you can go about your day worry-free.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why can I smell myself through my pants when I open my legs?

Poor hygiene is the most common cause of smelling yourself through your pants. This could be due to not showering regularly or not changing clothes often enough.

Is it normal for pads to smell?

A little period odor is nothing to be ashamed of. Frequently changing your pads or tampons and practicing good menstrual hygiene helps reduce period blood smell.

Can guys smell when a girl is ovulating?

Human males can detect the high-fertility (ovulatory) period in women by bodily odor.

How do I stop my period pads from smelling?

To prevent smells, rinse reusable pads until clear and wash them in bio detergent promptly. Avoid leaving them soaked for more than 6 hours before rinsing.

Can others smell your pad?

No, other people can’t smell your period. Menstrual periods should only smell if you have irritation or an infection or haven’t cleaned your vulva area well.

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