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Foul menstrual blood odor
I have never noticed much of an odor with my period, up until last month and now today.  It is absolutely revolting!!!  The blood has gone from being a lightish red to a deepish red-brown and it's kinda gooey and ickey.  I have not experienced many vaginal infections of any type in my life (I'm 38), so I'm very concerned about this smell.  I tried using the 3-day Monostat, but it appears to not have worked.  I'm really scared about this abrupt change in the odor.  On top of it all, I don't have any health insurance.  What should I do about this?  I can't risk getting naked with my man because the smell is literally that bad.  
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I had a really long period lasting for weeks. Went to my OBGYN whom I trusted very much. Turned out to be fibroids. He laser cauterized them (I was asleep) and no more trouble. I changed my diet to help. There is a product by Thorne Research called Indole-3-Carbinol which helps to get rid of excess estrogens (which we get from hormome injected meats, milks, & because of plastics) which our bodies don't need and cause the fibroids. It's been almost 10 years and no more trouble except for now with this bad smell I'm trying to figure out... These comments from your experiences are wonderful. It makes this embarrassing situation so much less so knowing that we are not alone! Thank you for your open sharing as the MD we have now is running a cattle mill and the office never listens - seems they just have an agenda of pushing the latest pharmaceutical of the month on us.
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Thank you so much for all your honest posts...I thought I was dying...Lol!!  OMG...After reading all the comments I went straight into the bathroom and there was in fact an old tampon stuck inside. What a relief!!! Thank you all!!!
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I had to reply to this to help anyone else who had the slightly differing symptoms I had.

I first noticed a strange smell after having sex just after starting the 2nd week of microgynon pill packet (I've been using this contraceptive for years - this is just to pinpoint my place in the cycle).

It wasn't a fishy smell but it was very strong and rank. Showers didn't fix the issue. I had a strange, very watery grey-white discharge and once after a pee I noticed red on the tissue.

I went to the doctor thinking yeast infection or something similar. They tried me on caneston for thrush. I had no itching or other symptoms of thrush. That didn't improve the situation much and then I began to get the usual burning of cystitis and blood when I peed. All the blood on the tissue smelt bad too.

I occasionally had cramps in the lower pelvic area and tummy but these were not consistent and only low level rather than the time I had a bad kidney infection and it was constant, awful pain in one place. So, I discounted a kidney infection but wanted to be sure so went back to GP.

Went back to the doctor and got pee tested. It had blood in it so I was given three days of antibiotics. I began these yesterday but this morning woke up to a sudden flow of blood into my knickers that smelt really really rank, almost like bird poop or something similar.

This really worried me and my symptoms seemed off from most vaginal problems so I started researching online and found this thread. I found it amazing how many women had lost a tampon up there and figured - like many - that I should rule it out.

I lay down on the bed, relaxed and searched with finger and thumb up there. I immediately found the head of a tampon in and up around the bone. I couldn't believe it, like many others here! I was switching between pads and tampons during the period I'd just had so I could understand how it might have happened. Tampons are designed not to be felt once they are up there, after all! It is gross and I will have to dispose of the tampon immediately now it is found (also I'm glad I'm on antibiotics anyway for the cystitis!) but please please check if you are worried or your symptoms are anything that doesn't match with the symptoms for other issues in particular. Also, please check if you are a week or so into your pill packet as that's when the symptoms first began for me.

Good luck and good health down there!
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Over the past year I had noticed the same, extremely foul smelling (even fecal smelling) odor present in my  menstrual blood.  Between my periods of menstruation, there is absolutely ZERO odor.  This is how I KNEW it was something more internal and not simply a forgotten tampon or infection. Any such cause would have an odor that is continuously present.  After months of searching for an answer, I found it…at my DENTIST'S office.

Ladies, the cause of the foul menstrual odor is the presence of periodontal (teeth and gums) bacteria that is present in your blood.  If you have poor oral hygiene or even simply do not floss daily or have regular teeth cleanings, the build-up of periodontal bacteria gets into your blood, accumulates in your uterus over the course of the month and literally "cooks" until you menstruate. The smell results from the bacteria in your blood.

The key to getting rid of the problem is to take care of your teeth and gums…EVERYDAY! FLOSS EVERYDAY!  My dentist gave me a 2-part dental rinse solution that I mix fresh with each use. I dip my floss into the solution and floss my teeth…really well.  I start doing this and after the first month noticed a significant reduction in the odor and after 2 months…NO MORE ODOR AT ALL ! And, it has not returned.  Admittedly, I hardly ever flossed my teeth before now however, now I floss with this technique everyday if not twice a day.  Ask your dentist for an anti-bacterial dental rinse.  I don't promote any one product but if anyone wants to know what I use, please ask.  I think they all probably work, the key is to get anything antibacterial and floss WELL…I mean get that floss way deep down into those receding gum lines…even until your gums bleed, you will know you are getting a deep clean and over time, your gums will become healthy and stop bleeding.  

Thank goodness I finally feel normal again and do not have this awful, gross and embarrassing issue anymore. And..I know I am healthier and my heart is healthier as well for reducing the bacterial load of my blood.  Hope this helps you all. Try it. I am 99.9999% confident you will see an improvement.  Love to you all!
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Sorry for the typing errors in my post..it's late!
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Oh my god, I'm so glad I found this forum! I'd been experiencing foul smelling discharge for about two days and still spotting. Lo and behold, I had a tampon that had traveled up, couldn't even feel it! That was the source of the smell! Ugh!

Definitely switching to a diva cup after this, yikes!
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After using commercial brand pads i always notice a weird odor coming from my menstrual blood.  I don't use tampons because they may get stuck or cause an infection.  This was the culprit for me.  I'm pretty healthy and got a full check up done a few months ago and No infections.  After a hot bath and clean underwear I don't notice an odor ... until i put on a commercial pad.

The chemicals in these pads make you smell awful and weird. They throw off your vaginal PH and create a nasty smell
Switching to 100% cotton pads definitely make you smell less ... especially if you don't have any infections or other issues going on.
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Toward the end of my period... i notice the dark brown blood ..
i smelled it on a pad and it was awful ... after not using pads or tampons the blood doesn't have  any odor.  Using commercial products make me smell strong!  ... also drinking enough water and staying hydrated helps.


Vaginal PH is a big issue with menstrual odor.  If you get checked at the doctor and no infections or stuck tampons ... this maybe an issue.

Commercial brand pads and tampons have chemicals in the fabric that mix with the menstrual blood and create a Foul odor.

I used commercial pads for 3 days and my PH was thrown off ... Big Time!
It took another few days for my PH to return to normal.


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Well i  went and checked and sure as hell it was there, who  knows for how long. Damn!!! Thank you!!!!
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took the same advice as you, went and checked and yep it was up there.
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I never had a smell on my period , but this time its dark red and smell kinda bad HELPPPPP !!!!!
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This is a year late, but it's never too late to tell someone that apparently they're the next reincarnation of Jesus...otherwise why would you be so judgy? I'll pray to you the next time I say my prayers!
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You are an a$$!
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I just googled 'bad smelling period" which is something I haven't experienced before (I'm 47). Having convinced myself that I had something seriously wrong, I took the advice on here and checked for a "lost" tampon. And there it was- very gross BUT what a relief! I really really didn't expect to find it- I'm a sober, responsible mother (& a medical person!).
It can happen to anybody and if I hadn't read this forum, who knows how long it would've stayed there & the heath implications & worry I could've experienced. This forum and all you brave, lovely ladies are what's best about the internet- thank you X
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Omg wow. I wondered why I just pulled out the stankyist tampon I've ever smelled....found this page and went to check, sure enough i had another one in there. Not so foul so it must have been the newer one. Lucky I didn't have to go digging too far >_< Thank you wonderful Internet ladies for sharing this slightly embarrassing phenomena.
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Your response is exactly what I would like to say! I am 45 years old, a wife, a mother of two, and a responsible and educated woman. Not to mention I have been dealing with tampons since my teens. I was nervous about a foul odor I was experiencing with my recent two periods...so I went to the Internet because of course, there was something wrong with me. When I was reading these informative (and some funny!) responses I was thinking NO WAY could I have left a tampon up there...come on...really?! OH YES MAM! What a shock and a relief at the same time. As others have posted, a little bit of a challenge because the string wasn't reachable but after multiple tries I got it! I am so thankful to you and the other women who shared their detailed symptoms and situations to help other women like me! I think I will wear a pad today! :-)
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I try to deal with ph imbalances and bacterial issues on my own.  Usually very successfully.  I also use a diva cup/menstraul cup.  A much healtheir and less toxic  approach to our monthly periods.

During my period for the extra cleanse I will use unpasteurized organic apple cider mixed with a bit of water and put on a cloth and wash the area well.  Keep your hairs at least trimmed and maybe even a splash of talc powder to help keep the sweating/moisture down to decrease the bacteria happy spots.

If I feel a yeast infection coming on, I insert a probiotic - like you would a monistat egg - every 4 hours and orally take oil of oregano.  I will do that for a week.  I haven't had to buy monistat or deal with a vaginal infection at the doctors in over 20 years.
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You ladies saved my sanity.  I wish I would have found this forum first! I could not stand the smell of myself and could not figure out WTH was wrong with me.  It was horrific.  I did go to the doctor who prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. But nope.. it was an old, disgusting, revolting, putrid tampon.  I thought no way was I going to find anything 'way up there' but I did as one of the comments suggested, to squat and sort of bear down and sure as the sun shines, it was there.  I was in shock and sooooo very relieved.  I pray the smell will go away.  I instantly felt better getting that nastiness out of me.  Very embarrassing indeed.  Wondering why my doctor didn't consider this as a possibility?  
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I'm so glad I did a search on this issue. You know your body and when is something is off, don't second guess it. Same thing going with me - I had a very foul, putrid smell towards the end of my menstrual cycle. I read the comments about a tampon getting stuck and didn't think it was my issue, but decided to check anyway and sure enough it was there. If you're little squeamish about going in, just put a little oil (preferably coconut oil) on your fingers and you're able to glide the offender right out. It's a really easy mistake. When I think back, I'm recalling that one of the times I had put a new tampon in I didn't remember taking the old one out but figured I did because no string was around. Another lesson learned when you don't recall taking the old tampon out dig a little deeper. Thanks so much, ladies.
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I was on the injection for 4 years and it was the best contraception I have ever used. but I went through the heavy bleeding in the beginning and my Doc gave me the pill for 1 month to regulate hormones. Go back to your Doc and demand that they get this sorted for you. I get exactly what you're talking about the metal smell and brown blood which is usually dead blood
Tampons aren't good for you. use towels and see if that helps. gook luck with it.
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Wow. As I read the comments I thought for sure it was not an old tampon. I was scared I had some sort of heavy metal toxicity or something, but as I kept reading and seeing how common of a problem it was I decided to go check thinking nothing of it and lo and behold it was an old disgusting tampon! Im still having my cycle but I swear to god the one I pulled out was from last month! I had weird spotting all in between these two periods of dried blood and I was worried and wondering what was wrong with me but now I know why! Thank god. I&
m going to be more careful next time I dont even know how this happened.
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I haven't used tampons for months as I use the moon cup, also just previous to my current and last period I have visited gyno and had 1st polyps removed and 2nd smear and a biopsy taken. Both current and previous period very foul smelling and heavy, in between everything normal (minus bleeding after sex thanks to the removal of polyps)
Any ideas? Going to try and see a dr but appointments are hard to get at short notice :(
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Okay, here's the deal.  Unless there's another obvious culprit like your birth control method, you most likely have an infection.  Could be anything from BV (bacterial vaginosis) to an STI.  Don't panic, these things happen.  Just get yourself to a clinic or doctor immediately.  If these are left unchecked, it could cause much bigger problems and discomfort.  Again, don't be alarmed, your doctor likely sees this frequently.  Just please take care of you and take care of the problem right away.
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Omg!!! I just went and removed it. It was an old tampon that I had forgotten to remove. I thought it was an infection but after reading the comments I went to the bathroom and sure enough, I found it. Thanks for posting your comments, they saved me from a visit to the obgyn.
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Thank You Guys Soooooo Much - It Was An Old Tampon! I Had No Idea That Could Happen!!!
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Thank you so much everyone who has posted on this forum. I have been experiencing a very FOUL/STRONG/REPULSIVE odor from my begins and I am a very clean person. Also my mental cycles began to smell toxic as well, leaving a harsh lingering smell behind every bathroom visit. After reading all of the review, I too went and checked for an old tampon and sure enough I found one! Thank God I got to the bottom of this!
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I've been having bad smells with period as well I am certainly(after seeing all these comments about the lost tampons) going straight home after work and searching up there. BUT my question is what about TSS? wouldn't you get toxic shock syndrome if you leave your tampon in that long?
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I had my IUD removed while on my period, 5 days later I noticed I still had some spotting and after having sex with my bf, I had even more bleeding and the nastiest smell ever, it was humiliating. I thought removal of IUD was causing an imbalance in my pH level down there. I went online and found this forum. After reading 7 comments about a tampon being left in,  I went and checked in bathroom and OMG it was a TAMPON lodged so deep inside probably from having sex previously. Had to go to urgent care,got it removed and gave me antibiotics. I may sound like I'm exaggerating but I feel like these posts saved my life (healthwise) and my love life. Thank you all for sharing.
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I can't believe it took this post to make me realize I left a tampon in. This is so embarrassing, but apparently the string broke off at some point and the tampon just went super high up in there. The smell was revolting and I was convinced I developed some kind of infection. But nope! Just a tampon. I am equal parts grossed out and relieved.
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Oh my goodness. The same thing happened to me this month. I began my cycle Thursday evening and Friday morning I noticed that same atrocious smell and it was definitely NOT normal so it raised my eyebrows, but I shrugged it off that morning thinking it was just me. Friday evening came and the smell was just so abnormally bad I started doing research and saw some women saying how it could be an old tampon, but I thought to myself, &quot;No. I always take them out. Wouldn&#39;t the string be hanging if one was still there? What about TSS?&quot; So, again, I just left the question unanswered. Saturday morning came and at this point I was beginning to wonder what was going on. &quot;Maybe it is a tampon, but how?&quot; In any case, I reluctantly one in because of the pants I decided to wear for the day and carried on despite how I began to had a feeling that just maybe there was one in there which is why it felt like the new one wasn&#39;t going in correctly. Well, Saturday night came and I saw these posts because, again, I researched what could be the cause of this horrendous smell, so during my shower I made the decision to just check. SURE ENOUGH I felt a tampon in there and spent about five minutes trying to maneuver the string down and pull it out. Oh my GOSH, it was disgustingly horrible and smelled revolting! Now, I am hoping this smell goes away. I&#39;m so thankful for you ladies and these posts. It saved me an embarrassing trip to the doctor and a co-pay. Thank you!
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Oh my gosh!  Guess it was my turn to have this nasty thing happen to me! Yes I read all the post and first I was relieved to at least know that having a nasty smell that was so foul happened to other ladies too! Then I read on a saw that it could be an old tampon as the culprit and I thought WHAT! Seriously!?! Sure enough - there it was! I'm mortified but so relieved! Not thrilled to have this in common with you gals but hey it's the strangest things that bond us together and let us know that we are not alone.
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Okay ladies, here's my story: I noticed very smelly, very unusual period blood. Read all your responses and it sounds like a forgotten tampon is usually the culprit. I almost always use a menstrual cup but do use a tampon in emergencies or if I'm out of the house when my period starts, so I thought I'd feel around up there just in case I forgot to remove a tampon over the last few days. Squatting down in my bathroom, I felt something caught in the hanging strings of my IUD - a tampon? some stubborn tissue paper? - and wound up pulling it out! Looks as though a small clump of hair had gotten tangled in with the synthetic strings along with menstrual discharge, and by the smell of it, there was my answer. Just goes to show the importance of checking one's strings, and making sure they are short enough not to get tangled in them. Will go to the clinic in the next couple of days to see about replacing the IUD.
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I have a foul odor too. Im 17 and its never happened before. I went to the doctors and they said if the blood is deep red, its gooey, and it stinks, we are not taking care of our immune system.
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Omg I am sooooo disgusted but SO grateful to you ladies right  now. I'm 35 and have never had a foul smelling period. Well, today my period started and when I went to change out my tampon at work I noticed the most horrific smell. Came home tonight and kept  noticing. Finally googled and saw this. Went in bathroom to check and OMG I am disgusted, but YES an old tampon lodged way up there. No wonder my tampons kept going in weird. I have no idea how  long it's been in there, but at least a month.... how is this  possible!!??? Wouldn't I have gotten TSS or some sort of fever or infection?? Lord knows how long it was in there. I never check that sort of thing but from now on I will regularly!!! Thank you!!!
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Add me to the list.... Horrible smells like I've never smelled before. The best word to describe it would be rancid. Like rotting flesh.... And it's just that. I checked for a tampon the other day and nothing , BUT YOU HAVE TO SQUAT AND CHECK! That saved me! I'm not even sure how long it was in there. A week maybe? Thank you ladies!!!!
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I cannot even believe that something on the Internet was actually true! I'm so glad that I read this because I didn't know what was going on. And doubting that my condition was waaaaay more serious than what I was reading I went in, so to speak, to cross this off the list. Sure as sh*t that's what was going on! I'm so relieved and the issue was resolved immediately.
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I was certain I had not left in a tampon and I was right.  BUT... after reading these posts I checked one more time in the way that another poster suggested and there was a large piece of an old tampon stuck in there. I must have taken out a dry tampon which disintegrated and left some inside.This was indeed the culprit and I am so grateful to all you other posters as I was worried sick! Thank you.
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I was fairly worried because the smell was just foul - and sure enough after reading the posts i marched to the ladies room and could not believe I felt a string up against my GD uterus.  Im horrified about forgetting and hope it was recent...  But between the smell and others not going in all the way should clue us in for next time, god forbid it ever happens again!!
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Thank you. Ditto to all your comments. Just now at 2am I found the culprit. Now I can rest easy. Thank you for this post.
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I cannot believe that all these posts lead me to do the same thing.  Down to the bathroom.  Squatted... bore down and what would you know!  The rankest skankest stankest tampon. Lord knows how long it was festering up there.  The relief and shock was immense! I thank you all for sharing. Straight down the quacks tomorrow to get myself on some antibiotics.  Hot water bottle as suggested by my sister helped ease my mind and belly after. . Just feel so sorry for my poor hubby who had been put off halfway through making love at the stench...check yourself ladies at the 1st sign of bad odour
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Omg- this post could have saved my life!! My period was dark red, yucky, reeked- the whole 9... but the suggestion to squat down is a must!!! I had one way up there turned long ways. It took 3 tries and 30 mins to get it out.... and that smell made me gag! Thank you all for your posts!!
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Welp! Thanks everyone I have just found the thing that had me smelling like elephant **** for two weeks! The smellest twinge I've ever smelled. Nothing helped, i mean nothing. I carried whipes and extra pads around because of it. Took 3 bathes a day, that didn't help.  I mean just the most horrible smell you could ever imagine. I'm glad to have found the tampon! So if you have a terrible smell and drops of dark smelly blood. Its the tampon that was full of blood at one point ringing itself out as you urinate and take baths inside of you. I mean this thing looked ancient when I pulled it out. So glad I don't have to go to my doctor tomorrow and be embarrassed because I made and appointment, I thought something was really wrong until I found this blog! Thanks soooo much every one! Now if you have a smelly kitty! GO FIND THE TAMPON!!!! (try toward the back, its there)
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Omg. I had the same symptoms for a week after my period and my mom and other females told me it was &quot;normal&quot; sometimes to have bad smelling discharge after a period. The smell was so bad a drop got on my panties and I could smell it through my clothes. I had to go home and change clothes! I thought. This can&#39;t be normal!? Si glad google search lead me here. I would have never guessed I had a tampon stuck up inside me. No idea how I didn&#39;t notice!? Thank you so much guys!!
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I found this topic because i was looking for a similar info. Actually i have always been using menstrual cup ( lunette) and at my 2nd last period it started to smell soooo badly. I thought this might be a problem of a cup, because it was getting old ( been having 3 yrs) though i never had this problem. So i threw it away and for my next period i got a new cup. And to what a suprise it got smelly straight away! When i was reading first all these comments, the signs seemed all so similar, but i was still laughing and sure that was not my problem. However after some time i got fustrated, cause its not my cup that gets that nasty smell,  but its inside me!! I am quite sure i have one old tampon ( i use it sometimes when i dont have my cup with me) , and most likely its at least month old :////. I tried searching for it, but i cant really grasp for sure, i feel some strange tissues inside me , but i dont know if its part if me or the tampon :// . Is it possible that the nasty thing is destroyed in parts in me ( i had sex in the mean time too)? And should be the interjor of my vagina clear and smooth or not? I am affraid that due to stress i dont feel the pain and i can makd more trouble for myself..
In anycase,  i will try to get to a doctor asap ..
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I just found this discussion by googling smelly periods. I just searched, no tampon. What else could it be?? I'm in the exact situation as the question we're all answering almost 34 no health insurance and everything's been normal until I don't know a couple of few periods ago could it have something to do with menopause? I have REALLY big blood clots too, some are half dollar size. I can feel it when it comes out! That's happened for like the past year-and-a-half - 2 years. What is going on with me?!?!
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So... after a couple days and a google I found this answer, and the mystery tampon - and am STILL not feeling well, and still dontsmell normal... how long till this all gets back to normal?!
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I CANT BELIEVE IT!!! I;ve had all the same things going on. I thought it was a bacterial infection. I had my OBGYN call me in some antibiotics, and today was my last day on them. The odor hadnt got any better, so I was worried I would have to go in and see what else it could be. I just happened to stumble on this post and Ill be damned if it wasnt a tampon!! OMG! Extremely embarrassing/relieving. IVe been using tampons all my life and this has never happened. I dont know how this happened. I know Im going to be WAY more careful moving forward. Thank you so much to all of you for being brave enough to post this and respond. Toxic shock syndrome is really hard to treat, so the sooner someone discovers it, the better chances they have of not getting really sick. Thank you so much!!
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Omg I pulled a dirty tampon out too. I thought I was losing my mind lol I said how could I forget about a tampon. It stuck so bad taking it out. How long does your vagina stink after you take it out? I pulled mine out about 6 hrs ago.
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OMG! I literally just had an old tampon pop out of me! (forgive me for being so forward with this) but I was on the toilet going number two and for some reason I had to push a little harder and next thing I know a tampon was also coming out of my vagina at the same time the poop was coming out!  To be honest I feel so much better knowing that the old smelling blood that was a brownish reddish color finally won&#39;t be smelling or looking like that anymore. Last month I went to the doctor and told Them that I think I left a tampon inside of me and they checked and claimed that I just had a cervix infection. However, that was simply not the case , based on what just happened to me! And yes! It does help to squat!
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Thank you! I think this article might well have saved my life. After feeling progressively more ill over the last month I googled my symptoms and it brought me here. Never for one minute did I think I had a retained tampon and yes I&#39;ve just found it! Thank you!
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I cannot believe it!  I am in the same boat as so many of you.  I had a very unusual period this month that started and then stopped for over a week.  When it came back the blood was much darker than usual and smelled horrific.  I worried I could be smelled from across the room at work and felt very concerned but too embarrassed to call the doctor.  I finished my period yesterday rather abruptly, which is also unusual for me as it normally tapers off slowly.  Anyway, I was ready to forget about it all since it was gone, but still felt a bit concerned.  I did a search online to see if there could be an underlying reason due to my age (38) or other health problem.  When I saw so many who had found a forgotten tampon I thought I&#39;d better at least check to be safe, though I was certain that was not the case.  Low and behold, a tampon was stuck quite a way up and was sideways and wedged with the string curled around it.  I&#39;m not sure how long it was even there, but I feel so relieved to have found it!  I thought you got toxic shock syndrome if you did this, so I was sure that could not be the cause of my strange symptoms and odor.  Wow.  Thank you all so much for your help.  I&#39;m so glad I found this before it did become something more serious!
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Honestly I don&#39;t know how to get it out? How did you guys get it? :(
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I am so glad I found this discussion. I just started my period yesterday and the smell was atrocious!!  I would have NEVER thought to look for a tampon stuck inside me. I got in the shower and inserted a finger. Just when I was convinced there was nothing inside me I pushed a little further and low and behold I FOUND AN OLD NASTY TAMPON!! I have no idea how long it has been inside me. How has it not made me sick?  How has it not been felt during sex?  How long will this smell persist?  So many questions!!  Thank you to everyone that has contributed to this conversation. I would never have looked had I not read all this.
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I've had this issue but if it was a tampon, wouldn't my OBGYN see it during my Pap? Plus I hardly ever use Tampons and only experience the foul smell during my menstrual.  I need a solution. Makes it so uncomfortable to be around people.
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973741 tn?1342346373
This is not uncommon.  They make scented tampons?  I'd try that.  good luck
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