Period Pains: Why Do You Smell More During Menstruation?

Period Pains: Why Do You Smell More During Menstruation?

Every woman can confirm that their body goes through many changes during their period. Whether it be tender breasts or painful cramps, you know it’s that time of the month due to these evident signals. In fact, many women are more self-conscious of these physical manifestations during this time of the month and one of them include odor. As a continuation of the series I am writing, I am going to talk about how menstruation can affect your body odor.

According to research, hormones affect the way you smell and how you smell. Besides the obvious symptoms I mentioned before, they also affect your appetite and mood. Even the way you think and behave is tied to the hormonal changes during the phase you are at in your menstrual cycle.


How Hormones Affect My Menstruation

Your levels of estrogen and progesterone constantly fluctuate throughout your cycle, which heightens women’s olfactory senses. It’s the body’s way of warning you of changes and makes you more sensitive to the way you smell. In fact, a Hormones and Behaviour study published in March 2019 compared women’s sensitivity to smell during different aspects of their menstrual cycles. It proved that women’s sense of smell is at its peak during the latter part of their cycle. While there is still more research to be done, this preliminary research supports the hypothesis that the way you smell changes during your period.



Image by Annie Spratt



When Do I Smell The Most?

There seems to be a biological explanation for everything and this is no exception. A study conducted at Charles University in Prague tested a group of women for their armpit odor throughout their menstrual cycle. The scientist, Jan Havlieek reported that these women smelled the most during menstrual bleeding. As a result, body odor may be your body’s way of signaling fertility.

Now that you know why you smell more during menstruation, you can check out the extra tips I gave in the previous post for preventing body odour. If you have any other tricks that help you during your period, please share them below!


Feature image by Peter Sjo

Read more from our hormonal series:



Do Hormones Make You Smell More During Pregnancy?

Do Hormones Make You Smell More During Pregnancy?

Your body goes through many different changes throughout pregnancy and this often involves your hormones. Not only do they cause your breasts to be tender, but you may also notice an increase in fatigue. Some women even experience a spike in blood pressure later in the trimester. However, various studies show that the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone can make you more sensitized to scent as well. In this blog post, I am going to discuss how hormones affect your body odor throughout pregnancy. This will be one of several in a series where I detail the effects of hormones during various stages of a females’ life.


Why Do I Feel Sick Around Certain Scents During Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women have provided anecdotes of an increased sense of smell throughout their pregnancy and many feel that it causes nausea and vomiting. There is currently limited scientific evidence to support this perspective, but it is definitely a matter worth exploring as it is a common experience. Scientists believe that it is worth further investigation as they feel it may be the trigger in vomiting.


So I Am More Sensitive to Smell, do I actually smell worse?

As many women experience a sensitivity to smell, they notice changes to their body odor as well. Many feel they smell worse and that is not a surprise unfortunately. You are carrying more weight during pregnancy and are more likely to be insulated with body heat, so you are more likely to sweat. Sweat itself does not cause body odor, but it is transformed when it comes into contact with bacteria. In fact, these factors give you a lower threshold for dealing with heat, so you will sweat even in cold weather.


hormones bond with baby

Photo by pixabay


Your Smell Helps You to Bond with Your Child

I know you don’t want to smell bad, but there is a biological explanation for it. Babies have weak eyesight and hearing, but their sense of smell is fully developed. In other words, this is how they identify you – it’s the body’s natural instinct to produce a strong smell. With this in mind, it is possible that your underarms are a main culprit since it is how you guide your baby to your breasts when breastfeeding. While the connection between the armpit odor and breast has not been proven scientifically, there is evidence to suggest that this might help your baby identify the region they are looking for when they are hungry.


Tips To Control Odor

You may notice the deodorants you have always used may not be performing anymore. Keep in mind that your heightened olfactory senses make you think you smell worse than what other people may be experiencing, but it has probably made you hesitant to be around other people. However, small changes to your lifestyle can do wonders. One thing you can do is try to find the best deodorant for your body chemistry. As mentioned in previous blog posts, apple cider vinegar is another great way to combat body odor naturally.

Personally, I am always paranoid that I smell bad and what I do is add powder (natural ones like cornstarch instead of talc) and a few drops of essential oils. I brush it over my deodorant with a loose powder brush to absorb excess sweat. It also helps when I brush the powder on my breastbone also called the sternum where I seem to sweat a great deal.

I hope you have a better understanding of why you smell during pregnancy. Share this blog with a friend. If you have other hacks and tips, please let us know in the comments below. 


Feature photo by Janko Ferlic

Read More