Even nowadays there’s still stigma around periods, associating them as being ‘unclean’ and ‘unsanitary’ (totally NOT accurate). We think scented products are also part of this stigma. This type of product prompts menstruators to believe they need to buy scented products to feel or smell ‘clean’ on their period. But, does your vagina want, or indeed need, fragranced tampons, pads, liners and feminine wipes?
Let’s talk freshness
The truth is, we don’t NEED fragrance to feel or smell fresh. Number one, the vagina is self-cleaning. Using scented or fragranced products can disrupt the pH balance of the vagina. When the pH balance of the vagina is off, it increases the likelihood of developing infections and bacterial vaginosis. It can also cause other discomforts such as us itching. Fragrance-free products can help you feel fresh because they are breathable, so allow airflow, and keep the skin free from irritation.
The issue with scents
When you stop and think about the fact that fragrance is a chemical, the idea of putting these products near such an intimate part of your body seems crazy. Your vagina is even more absorbent than your skin! It’s been shown that your skin absorbs approx 60% of what you apply to it so you can see how important it is to know what’s going near your vagina.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals you can find in fragrance. When these enter the body, they throw hormones off balance. The problem? Well, our hormones affect our menstrual cycle, along with PMS symptoms such as the dreaded cravings and cramps. So, when these chemicals enter the body and disrupt the functions of our hormones, it can make our periods a lot more challenging and uncomfortable. Phthalates particularly disrupt the hormones oestrogen and testosterone. Ever feel like you lack energy on your period? Altered levels of testosterone can leave us feeling lethargic and low in energy. When phthalates enter the body, they block the production of oestrogen, which can affect natural processes such as uterine functions as well as mental well-being.
The benefits of fragrance-free period products
Fragrance is renowned for being an irritant. When it comes into contact with your skin it can cause irritation, itching and soreness. Not what we want on our period, right? Switching to natural, fragrance-free period products can, therefore, increase your comfort levels and decrease the irritation you experience.
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If your vagina has an odor that isn’t accompanied by any symptoms that could indicate infection etc. there are some ways to combat the odor on your own.