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Started getting irregular menstruation with foul smelling. Should I consult a doctor?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 828 Questions
Dear Doctor,
I am a healthy 53 year old female. My period for over a year has heavy flow for 2 days then tapers off to hardly needing a tampon (just a couple of thin pads was sufficient till it ends around the 4-5th day.

This is the first time that I noticed that my menstrual blood colour has a brownish colour after the 3rd day and the tampon has a foul smell and there's just a little brownish coloured blood at the tip of the tampon while the rest of it has a very very faint brown colour. The tampon is definitely soaking up something but not red blood. Today is the 6th day and I still need to use a tampon although flow isn't heavy (probably 3 tampons in a day and 1 more throughout the night till morning).

This time the flow isn't heavy and blood isn't of the usual darkish red colour neither were they any red tissue bits on the tampon or when I wipe myself when cleaning.

I'm not sure if this is part of the menopausal end to me having periods or is it something that I need to see a doctor to have checked.

Please advise and thank you for our time.


my email is YYYY@YYYY
Posted Fri, 22 Feb 2013 in Menstruation and Miscarriage
Answered by Dr. Nilofer AR 50 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

Menstrual irregularities are very common in perimenopausal age group. You need not worry about it. Only concerning symptom is foul smelling menstrual blood.

Could you please give more information so that I can come to a more probable diagnosis and suggest you good treatment.

1. Was DCIS diagnosed on colposcopy or Biopsy? Could you please scan the report and attach it?
2. Did you get your pap done subsequently? If so, what does the report say?

Waiting for your reply.

Dr Nilofer
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started getting irregular menstruation with foul smelling. Should I consult a doctor? 54 minutes later
Hi Dr Nilofer

Thank you for your prompt response. The DCIS (breast cancer)was diagnosed by biopsy and subsequently I had surgery to remove it and the result was benign, thank God!

I have pap smears regularly every 2 years and result has no major issues, just need to keep an eye on some small sized cysts (so the doctor advised).
I think I have solved my problem when I went to an online forum for women's health and posted my situation.

There were numerous responses that suggested it could be a case of 'forgotten tampon'. I then went to the toilet and dug around and indeed felt something soft way up inside and it did take me awhile and I finally got it out. That was indeed the cause of the foul smell.

Since I have now removed the old tampon (it looked yucky, dark nearly black slimy and smell horrible). So I am concerned whether this old tampon could have done any harm to me and do I need to take any medication/antibiotic to make sure that this had not caused anything bad later on.

And if you were to recommend me to have anti-biotics, how am I going to buy some without a prescription?

Awaiting your response.

Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Nilofer AR 11 minutes later

Thank you for the detailed answer.

Good that you removed forgotten tampon. Otherwise it would have definitely caused lot of problems.

You need to take antibiotics for 7 days as foul smell is associated after consulting your doctor. This will treat foul smelling part of menstrual discharge.

I also recommend you to get pap screening every 2 years and mammography yearly.
Good that everything is fine till now.

Hope I have answered all your queries. I will be glad to answer if you need further clarification.

Get well soon and regards,
Dr Nilofer

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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