How to Shower While on Your Period

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Showering during your period may be alarming at first since you will notice blood flowing out into the water on heavier flow days. However, it’s safe and healthy to take showers every day while you’re on your period. There are some special strategies you can use to prevent irritation, odor, and infections when you shower on your period. There are also some additional ways of keeping your vagina clean between showers.

Preventing Irritation, Odor, and Infections

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    Remove your pad, tampon, or cup before you shower. It’s fine to let your vagina bleed in the shower. The blood will run right down the drain. If you wore a pad, the brown or red tinged water that you see going down the drain will likely be old blood that was stuck to your pubic hairs. It’s important to rinse this off. Not cleaning off this old blood will cause an odor and it may also increase your risk of infection.[1]
    • Don’t worry about the blood staining the shower. It will not make contact with it long enough to do this. Just keep the water running until your shower is over and then check to see if there’s any blood that you need to rinse down the drain.
    • If you’re showering at a gym or in another public place, you may leave a tampon or menstrual cup in during the shower if you prefer.
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    Shower or bathe at least once per day during your period. Regular showers during your period are necessary to prevent odor and reduce your risk of infection. Take a shower or bath at least once per day. Some medical professionals even recommend bathing twice daily during your period, such as in the morning and at night.[2]
    • Always make sure that the bathtub is clean if you want to take a bath. Soaking in a dirty bathtub may lead to an infection in your vagina. Clean your bathtub with a disinfectant cleaner, such as bleach, before you take a bath in it.
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    Use plain warm water to wash your vagina. Avoid using any scented or harsh soaps or other intimate care products to cleanse your vagina. These are not necessary and they may cause irritation. Plain, warm water is the best cleanser for your vagina.[3]
    • If you want to use soap, opt for a mild, unscented soap and use a small amount to gently clean the outside of your vagina.[4]

    Tip: If the sight of blood bothers you, don’t look at it! Focus on a spot on the wall or ceiling of your shower instead.

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    Rinse from front to back to prevent infections. Rinsing from front to back, just as you would wipe after using the bathroom, is important to prevent the spread of bacteria and fecal matter to your vagina. While standing in the shower, let the water flow down the front of your body and over your vagina. If needed, you can also spread apart the labia to allow the water to flow over the inside of your vaginal lips.[5]
    • If you have a handheld shower head, only angle it so that it sprays your vagina from front to back. Don’t rinse from back to front.
    • Avoid using a high-pressure setting on your shower head. Keep the shower head on a low-pressure setting to gently rinse the vagina.
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    Cleanse the outside of your vagina only. Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so there is no need to clean the inside of it. Doing so may disrupt your vagina’s natural pH balance, which can result in an infection. Don’t aim the flow of water inside of your vagina. Only rinse the outer areas of your vagina.[6]
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    Pat the outside of your vagina dry with a clean, dry towel. After you finish your shower, use a clean, dry towel to gently pat the outside of your vagina dry. Don’t rub the skin around your vagina to dry it. Just pat it gently.
    • If you’re bleeding heavily you may want to dry off the other parts of your body first, and then dry your vagina last.
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    Put on clean underwear and a new padtampon, or cup right away. Your period won’t stop after cleansing your vagina, but it may seem like the flow has slowed if you took a bath. This is likely due to the counter-pressure of the water.[7] Still, you will need to put on a fresh pair of underwear and a feminine hygiene product right away to catch the blood.

Keeping Your Vagina Clean Between Showers

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    Use pH balanced vaginal wipes as needed during the day. You can purchase special disposable cleansing wipes that are meant for your vagina. These are pH balanced to ensure that they won’t cause irritation or promote an infection. Wipe the outer areas of your vagina with a wipe going from front to back.[8]
    • If you don’t have any wipes, you could also use a washcloth with plain warm water to wipe your vagina. Then, rinse the cloth in warm water several times and place it with your dirty laundry.
    • Make sure that the wipes are unscented. Perfumes can cause irritation.
    • These wipes are usually available in the feminine hygiene section in grocery and drug stores.
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    Change your pad, tampon, or cup frequently to avoid leaks and odor. Not changing your feminine hygiene product often enough can result in leaks, which can stain your underwear and clothing and may also cause an odor. Check your pad, tampon, or cup every time you sue the restroom and change it as needed.

    Warning: Don’t leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours. Leaving a tampon in for too long can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS).[9]

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    Avoid douches and feminine deodorants. These products can disrupt the pH balance of your vagina, which may lead to an infection. It’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odor to it. However, if the odor is strong or if it bothers you, see a gynecologist.[10]
    • A strong, fishy odor can sometimes indicate an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis.
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    Wash your hands before and after changing feminine hygiene products. Dirty hands can introduce harmful bacteria into your vagina, so it’s a good idea to wash them before you check your pad, tampon, or cup. Then, wash your hands after changing your feminine hygiene product to avoid spreading the bacteria to other areas.[11]

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