So I looked through the tags and I didn't see anythign about BV and cloth pads, so here's me posting about it.

Every since I started using cloth pads I noticed that my vag will smell pretty nasty during my period and when I'm spotting (which is a lot ever since I got Paragard). I know that it already is bound to be stinky to begin with from menstrual discharge, but I know what I used to smell like versus now. I'm also wondering if it may be from using a Diva Cup and keeping it in for a long time? I definitely boil the smell off of it when it gets pretty bad, and use castile soap on it as well. I generally have to wear pads the entire period since I've got a heavy flow, and now an IUD, which makes the flow worse. That doesn't bother me at all, but the first few days before the heavy flow, I'll wear the cloth pads. I usually change 3 times in a day, so I'm keeping relatively sanitary. The smell comes off and on through out the month. I noticed the discharge I produce from spotting since getting my IUD is also pretty stinky. I'm unsure if that's just how it goes or if it might have something to do with me using the pads and inadvertantly giving myself BV?? Gah, so confused. 

When I got the IUD the doc gave me some Metronidazole to treat the smell, as I got the IUD right before my heavy flow started. I've been taking the pills off and on when the smell gets bad. Are the meds the only way to prevent it?

Cloth pads I made followed what most tutorials online suggest. Found a soft baby blanket fabric for the top, wings and bottom, and terry cloth for the inside. 

(tags aren't loading, I'll tag as soon as I can!)

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6 Responses to Cloth pads making vagina smell?

  1. Hteall says:

    Unless your doctor told you to take the antibiotics the way you’ve been doing, please do not do that! It’s bad for you.

    Antibiotics — that’s what Metronidazole is — are not to treat “smell.” They are to kill bad bacteria (and incidentally usually kill good bacteria too) that cause things like Bacterial Vaginosis, which can (if left alone too long, and during IUD insertions) turn into Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

    If you do not take an entire course of antibiotics, you do not kill off sufficient amounts of the bad bacteria for the good bacteria (and your immune system) to have a prayer of defeating the bad bacteria. Instead, you kill off the weak bacteria (producing a temporary reduction in symptoms), and let the stronger bacteria survive and reproduce, creating an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria. This is dangerous because if you do get PID, it will take a longer course of antibiotics to treat it, and/or more powerful antibiotics.

    I would go back to the doctor ASAP and explain what you’ve been doing — you will very possibly get a lecture about how this is a really bad way to take antibiotics, because (again, unless the doctor told you to do this) you are endangering your future health, and possibly the future health of anyone you expose to these bacteria. But endure the lecture if you get one, and get a proper prescription to get rid of the BV.

    Also consider having the doctor prod your cervix to see if your uterus has become infected; if your cervix is very tender, you may well have PID. Having BV during IUD insertion is not a good thing. It’s not 100% guaranteed to cause PID, but it does raise the chances considerably.

    I would suggest that you also take probiotics (possibly vaginally as well as orally), to replenish the good bacteria before the bad bacteria (which can never be gotten rid of completely) re-colonize in large numbers, and consider using boric acid to maintain a vaginal environment that makes the BV bacteria unhappy.

    Good luck.

  2. Hteall says:

    PS: Only mods can tag

    So don’t worry about tagging the post.

  3. 78eZero says:

    It sounds to me like you might have BV, regardless of what protection you are using… A strong smell that cleaning doesn’t get rid off is a good indicator that something might be up.

    The thing with cloth pads is that because they are much more breathable than the plastic backed ones, they tend to smell LESS than disposables. Menstrual blood in itself shouldn’t have a strong smell, it’s the bacteries that may develop in it that give it a smell (more so in disposables though). This is why most users report they have little to no smell to their cup, as long as they keep it in for no longer then the recommended amount of time (12h.). I’ve kept my cup in for more than that, and at most, if I intently smelled the cup, I got a raw meat light smell. So yeah it’s blood… And when off my period, it usually smells something like vinegar but nothing too nasty though. As for cleaning your cup and pads, I’ve heard of adding distilled vineger to the water, airing in direct sunlight, a solution of a few drops of tea tree oil, and baking soda.

    Have a look through the tags there if you haven’t :

  4. Noo99 says:

    I have had a Paragard IUD for about 6 weeks and have noticed heavier periods, but no unusual odor during my cycle, just so you have something to compare it to.

    Have you tried cleaning your Diva cup and cloth pads with white vinegar? Sometimes if I notice an odor clinging to my cup after it’s been in for awhile, I’ll soak it in vinegar overnight. Totally kills any lingering smell. I’m sure you could chuck some vinegar in the laundry with your cloth pads when you wash them too.

  5. Sseyle says:

    I came to basically say what Beth said. A foul smell is not normal, with or without an IUD. It is likely a sign of infection (BV, like you mention), which is why the doctor prescribed metronidazole to you when you got the IUD. The metro is an antibiotic designed to treat the infection causing the smell. Typically with antibiotics you are meant to take the entire prescription, regardless of whether the symptoms disappear, for the reasons that Beth explains. To do otherwise can create resistant bacteria that can make you really sick.

    I doubt that you are causing yourself to have BV by using cloth pads. I suspect that you have had one ongoing infection that has not been fully treated because of the way you have been taking the metro. You kill it off enough to notice a decrease in smell, and then because you don’t take the full round of antibiotics, it’s not totally dead and comes back again.

    I would definitely suggest that you see a doctor and explain the situation. Make sure that you use any prescription they give you in the exact way the instructions say.

  6. 901Nobody says:

    is the soft baby blanket fabric you mentioned natural or synthetic? Your best bet, usually, is to go with natural fabrics like cotton, hemp or bamboo as these wick and breathe better. If you’re using a synthetic, like acrylic, you won’t get enough air circulation and that could cause some odor, though my money is on BV being the culprit here.

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