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My menstrual cup smells bad : why and what should i do ?

In general, the menstrual cup does not cause odour because as the blood is not in contact with the air, it does not clot and therefore does not smell. However, you may notice an odour in your cup, and this odour (like most vaginal odours) is an indicator of the health of your vagina. So it’s important to pay attention to it, and here are a few pointers to help you decipher the different types of odours.


The types of odors that may appear WHEN USEING A MENSTRUAL CUP.


Your cup smells like metal

If your cup smells metallic, there’s nothing to worry about: it’s just that the level of iron in your blood is high, which is a pretty good sign, because iron is one of the mineral salts essential for the body to function properly.

In particular, it plays an important role in the manufacture of hemoglobin – which carries oxygen through the body and makes up a large part of the blood.

Iron levels can vary depending on your cycle and diet. If you have eaten iron-rich foods, it may affect the way your period smells.

If red meat is well known for its iron content, other foods include seafood (clams, cockles, oysters, mussels), snails, soybeans, legumes (lentils, white and kidney beans, chickpeas…), nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds…) and green vegetables (peas, spinach, broccoli, chard…).


Your cup smells like cheese

A cheese smell can sometimes appear in your cup, and this surprising and very unpleasant odour can worry you.

In fact, again, it is actually an indicator of good health.

This is because your vagina is populated by good bacteria that protect it from infection and keep it balanced.

These bacteria are called Lactobacilli: there are several types, but they all have one thing in common: they are not pathogenic (no type of Lactobacilli causes disease).

Lactobacilli protect against fungal infections, and some are even sometimes used as probiotics (e.g. Lactobacillus L.Casei).

A high concentration of Lactobacilli is a sign of very good protection against various vaginal infections, but lactic acid bacteria are also involved in the production of cheese.

Hence the odour that can be released from your cup, which often manifests itself after several months or years of using a menstrual cup, as your vaginal flora becomes stronger (since it is much less attacked than with tampons). But it is of no consequence.


Your cup smells like fish

If your menstrual cup starts to smell more or less fresh fish, however, you should be concerned: this is a sign of a disease that needs to be treated and whose cause is often the rise in the natural pH of the vagina, hence the need to use a suitable intimate cleanser when using a menstrual cup.

In most cases, this smell comes from a bacterial infection – bacterial vaginosis. This infection is caused by the abnormal growth of a naturally occurring bacterium in the vagina (Gardnerella vaginalis), which takes over from the good bacteria.  Bacterial vaginosis can be treated by taking targeted antibiotics, sometimes combined with probiotics to restore the vaginal flora.

It can also be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) called Trichonomase. Trichonomasis is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, and even though in 50% of cases it is asymptomatic, it can lead to a fishy odour, a greenish, foamy vaginal discharge or pain at the entrance to the vagina, especially during penetrative vaginal sex. It is important to be careful because this STI has a very high transmission rate (about 80% transmission), but it is easily treated with a targeted single dose antibiotic and possibly probiotics to restore the natural vaginal balance. If you are a victim, make sure you use condoms and/or dental dams during sexual intercourse until you are cured.



HOW TO REMOVE the smell from your menstrual cup.

In any case, if the smell has penetrated your cup, just boil it for 5 to 10 minutes and add the water of one of these products (your choice, but be careful not to mix them together):

  • spoonful of baking soda.
  • or a little vinegar (white vinegar).
  • or the juice of half a lemon.

In the case of a fishy odour, do not put your cup or any internal protection back on until you have treated the cause, as a reminder, do not use your cup in the event of a vaginal infection or suspicion of infection.



Nous espérons que ces indications vous auront aidé.e à mieux comprendre la source et les solutions aux mauvaises odeurs qui peuvent surgir lorsque vous utilisez une cup menstruelle. N’hésitez pas à nous poser vos questions en commentaire !

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