Whats Considered Normal Vaginal Discharge
What is a normal discharge during the menopause? It varies a lot between woman to woman, so this is just a rough guide.
Colour-wise, it tends to be transparent, it may be a slightly egg-white colour or just a slight yellowy tinge to it. The consistency, it should be quite runny but not very runny, if you know what I mean, and it should flow quite easily.
The volume of mucus you produce, this is different for every woman. Some women will produce quite a lot. Other women will produce very, very little. It can also depend on what time of the month it is, so especially if you’re in the peri-menopause and you’re still getting periods of some kind, then depending on where your hormonal balance is, then the amount can be quite different sort of day-to-day and week-to-week.
We talk a lot about smell. Now, a normal smell would be a mild smell, I mean, most of us are used to our own smells anyway, so you wouldn’t really notice any difference. But it would not be an unpleasant smell.
What Happens At Your Gp Appointment
The GP should refer you to hospital or a special postmenopausal bleeding clinic. You should not have to wait more than 2 weeks to see a specialist.
What happens at your hospital or clinic appointment
A specialist, who may be a nurse, will offer you tests to help find out what’s causing the bleeding and plan any necessary treatment.
The tests may include:
- a small device being placed in your vagina to scan for any problems
- an examination of your pelvis and vagina a speculum may be inserted into your vagina to hold it open, so the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen
- a thin, telescope-like camera being passed up your vagina, through the cervix and into your womb to look for any problems and to take a tissue sample for testing under local or general anaesthetic
- the specialist may press on your tummy and inside your vagina to check for lumps, tenderness or other abnormalities
When To See A Doctor
It is important to remember that perimenopause signs and symptoms will be different for each woman.
When you start paying attention to your vaginal discharge, you may notice it subtly changes in color and/or texture before, during and after your menses. When your period becomes more irregular as perimenopause continues, this pattern can also get disrupted.
Rather than let this disruption become worrisome, it is always wise to talk with your doctor if you see changes that you dont understand.
There are also certain times when it is important to consult your doctor without delay. Anytime you notice a strong or foul odor, this can be an indication of infection that may need medical treatment. Seeing bright red discharge outside of what feels normal or after menopause should always prompt a call to your doctor.
As well, if you experience any unpleasant symptoms such as burning, irritation, itching or pain during urination, contact your doctor right away.
It is important to remember that perimenopause signs and symptoms will be different for each woman. Your family history can give you some indication of what to expect, but your experience of perimenopause is likely to be different than even what your mother or sister experiences.
Keeping a daily record of your vaginal discharge colors, odors, increase or decrease and other changes can help you track your vaginal health and spot any warning signs as early as possible so you can talk with your doctor as needed.
What Are Some Symptoms Of Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer usually occurs after menopause, typically between the ages of 60 and 70. It also may occur around the time that menopause begins. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. Bleeding may start as a watery, blood-streaked flow that gradually contains more blood. Women should not assume that abnormal vaginal bleeding is part of menopause. A woman should see her doctor if she has any of the following symptoms:
- unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation, most commonly postmenopausal bleeding
- thin white or clear vaginal discharge after menopause
- extremely long, heavy or frequent episodes of vaginal bleeding after age 40
- difficult or painful urination
- pain during intercourse
- pain in the pelvic area
These symptoms can be caused by cancer or other less serious conditions. Most often they are not cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure.
What Percentage Of Postmenopausal Bleeding Is Cancer
Most cases of postmenopausal bleeding can be attributed to conditions that are not usually serious and can be treated easily.Bleeding, for instance, might be the result of polyps or genitourinary syndrome of menopause , both of which are non-cancerous.However, 10 per cent of postmenopausal bleeding cases may be symptomatic of endometrial or cervical cancer, so it is vitally important to get it checked by a doctor.5 Research suggests that around 90 per cent of women with endometrial cancer experience vaginal bleeding .By assessing bleeding, medical professionals have a greater window to catch cancer early, when it is most treatable.
Don’t Miss: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause
How To Manage Vaginal Odor After 50
While its normal for your vaginal smell to change as you age, there are ways to minimize the odor.;
Wash your outer genital area. Use a mild, unscented soap to wash the outside of your genital area. This should be done regularly during baths or showers.;
Avoid douching. Douching is unhealthy for your vaginas bacteria levels. A healthy vagina needs bacteria and yeast. Douching eliminates all good bacteria and upsets the balance.;
Take a probiotic. Probiotics help balance your bodys bacterial ecosystem. This can be a good start at managing your vaginal smell. However, you should talk to your doctor about other products that can help.
Estrogen therapy. Your bodys estrogen levels postmenopause will reduce. Taking estrogen will alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause.;
Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy . This is a combination therapy that uses estrogen and progesterone. Boosting hormone levels can balance out your vaginal health.;
Is Changing Vaginal Smell After 50 Normal
During menopause, your estrogen levels start to decline. This causes the vaginal walls to thin, which means theres less exfoliation in the vagina. With dryness and less glucose in the vagina, pH levels rise. This can make you more susceptible to vaginal infections and inflammation.;
Thats why its important to monitor the smell of your vagina and vaginal discharge. Its normal for your vagina smell to change as you age, but lingering odors that are overwhelming can be a sign of infection.;
Also Check: Can Heavy Lifting Cause Spotting After Menopause
When To See Your Doctor
Vaginal smells change as you get older. But some smells are not normal and can be a sign of an infection or another medical condition. If the following odors are coming from your vagina, you should contact your gynecologist:;
- A persistent fishy odor that smells like dead fish. This could be a sign of a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection.;
- A rotten meat smell. This foul-smelling odor is a sign that something is wrong inside your vagina. This smell may come with other symptoms like colorful discharge and pain when urinating. Youll want to see your gynecologist immediately.
Along with an overwhelming vaginal odor, you may have other symptoms that indicate a serious condition. Other things to look for include:;
- Bleeding when not on your period
The Only Constant Is Change
When it comes to female hormonal health, it can seem like change is always present. And just when you think you know what’s going on, it can often change again!
But by being aware of the subtle clues, many women can see the signs that their body is showing them and appreciate the greater cycle at play.
Read Also: How Long Does A Woman Go Through Menopause
Signs And Symptoms Of Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence all women experience that usually appears as a white or clear fluid on underwear. Some women have discharge daily and others on occasion. The discharge is made up of fluid and cells that shed through the .
The amount, color, and consistency of discharge may change based on the stage of your menstrual cycle. But discharge is different from;menstrual blood.
Discharge fluid can be several things, including:
Cervical mucus A clear liquid or gel-like fluid that is produced by the cervix and changes over the course of your menstrual cycle or during pregnancy
Arousal fluid;Produced from glands in and around the vagina when sexual arousal occurs. The fluid lubricates the vagina and dissipates usually within an hour of arousal.
Seminal fluid A man’s sperm along with other fluids. It can appear as vaginal discharge if you had intercourse within the last day seminal fluid can stay in the vagina for hours after intercourse.
When abnormal discharge is present, other symptoms may also be depending on what’s causing the discharge. Other symptoms might include:
What Are The Hormonal Treatment Options
Luckily, for women who are only having vaginal atrophy symptoms, there are several options that allow estrogen to be delivered only to the vagina. These options can help to avoid high hormone levels in the rest of the body. Women who are having multiple other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and difficulty sleeping may choose to use hormone therapy at higher doses to treat all of their symptoms . The local vaginal hormone options will not treat any menopausal symptoms besides the vaginal ones.
Mild symptoms can usually be managed with over-the-counter options. Prescriptions are available for moderate to severe symptoms.
Sexual activity should not be avoided if you have vaginal atrophy. A lack of sexual activity actually worsens the condition. Sex stimulates blood flow in the vagina and aids in the production of fluids so, therefore, sex actually keeps the vagina healthy.
You May Like: Do You Lose Pubic Hair During Menopause
Egg White Discharge: What Does It Mean
Vaginal discharge that has the consistency of egg whites is usually completely normal. Having an egg white discharge that is odorless or with a mild sour odor is part of the normal cyclic functioning of your reproductive system.;
But a change in color or smell may be a sign of an infection. If you notice that your discharge has taken on an unpleasant smell and a different color, you should make an appointment with your health care provider.
Why Does My Clear Discharge Have An Odor
Odor associated with vaginal discharge can be a sign of problems with the vagina. Infections, irritation, and inflammation of the vagina can result in changes to the amount, color, and odor of discharge. STDs and vaginitis are both known causes of odorous discharge. Depending on the cause, avoidance of irritating health products and maintaining good hygiene may also eliminate the odor.
Don’t Miss: Can Menopause Cause Fever And Chills
Can Vaginal Atrophy Be Prevented
A womans body naturally secretes less estrogen with age. This cannot be prevented. Without intervention, its unlikely that the ovaries will make more of the hormone.
However, there are ways to keep vaginal atrophy from getting worse. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, panty liners, perineal pads and any of the following that you may find irritating to your vagina:
What Does Egg White Discharge Look Like
Pregnant people tend to experience changes in their vaginal discharge as well, which is a result of hormonal changes in the body.
The changes in color and consistency occur because vaginal discharge, or mucus which is a mixture of secretions from the cervix, vaginal squamous epithelial cells, and secretions from sebaceous, sweat, and Bartholin’s glands has a complex mix of viscoelastic properties. These properties experience structural changes throughout the cycle.
So, what does it mean when you have egg white vaginal discharge? It could suggest a few different things:
Also Check: Do You Still Have Eggs After Menopause
Early Signs Of Pregnancy
- Pink spotting just before you expect your period. This is called implantation bleeding and may be mistaken for the start of your period.
- Frequent urge to pee
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine products have been extensively studied in the treatment of hot flashes, but less information is available on their use in VVA. One study found that Vitamin E and phytoestrogen applied locally as a gel improved the symptoms of VVA. An evaluation of VVA was undertaken in a cross-sectional study of 60 women, half of whom had taken 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D orally for at least 1 year and half of whom had not. The prevalence of vaginal atrophy was significantly higher in the group who did not use vitamin D, as measured by VMI and symptoms.
In a separate study, soy supplementation for the treatment of VVA was investigated. Phytoestrogens such as soy bind to ERs in the vagina and bladder. A randomized controlled trial evaluating dietary supplementation with 12 to 20 mg/d of soy showed no improvement in VMI.
Currently, well-established effective complementary and alternative medicine treatments for VVA are lacking.
Also Check: Can You Get Pregnant During Menopause
Recognizing Normal And Abnormal Discharge
Normal vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky and may have a subtle scent that is not unpleasant or foul smelling. Changes that may signal a problem include an increase in the amount of discharge, a change in the color, smell or texture of the discharge. You may also experience other symptoms with a change in discharge, such as; irritation, itchiness or burning in or around your vagina. The combination of these factors can help reveal what may be going on in your body.
Thick White Discharge With No Odor
Thick white discharge that doesnt smell may or may not be connected with your menstrual cycle.
White discharge that is thick and sticky with no other symptoms is usually due to ovulation or pregnancy.
Thick white discharge with symptoms like vaginal itching, burning, redness, and chunks in the discharge is usually due to a yeast infection.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of A Menopause Belly
What Changes To Expect As You Age
As you get older, your estrogen levels decrease, causing an imbalance in your pH levels.;
But, when hormones change during menopause, you may experience changes to how your vagina feels and smells. This includes:;
Vaginal irritation. Itching and burning in your vagina can happen because of all the hormonal changes your body is going through. To relieve this discomfort, you can try vaginal lubricants and creams, estrogen cream, and natural oils like jojoba or coconut.
Dryness. This can happen when your vaginal secretions are decreased. It can also make sexual intercourse painful or uncomfortable. You can ease these symptoms with lubricants and gels.
Inflammation. This can cause infection or pain when urinating. If you have an infection, you may notice an overwhelming unpleasant vaginal odor. You may need to see a gynecologist to get antibiotics for your infection.
Discharge with bad odor. This odor may seem different and unpleasant to you. This happens when your vaginal alkalinity increases. A changing pH level in your vagina is normal during and after menopause.;
If you have concerns about your changing vaginal smell or overall health, its best to consult with your gynecologist. They can help guide you through these changes and prescribe products that can ease your symptoms.;
How Is Uterine Cancer Diagnosed
The ideal method for screening asymptomatic women has not yet been devised. If a woman has symptoms that suggest uterine cancer, her doctor may check general signs of health and may order blood and urine tests. The doctor also may perform one or more of the following exams or tests:
- Pelvic exam – the doctor checks the vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum for any lumps or changes in their shape or size. To see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix, the doctor inserts an instrument called a speculum into the vagina.
- Pap test – the doctor collects cells from the cervix and upper vagina. Because uterine cancer begins inside the uterus, it does not usually show up on a Pap test. However, postmenopausal women with endometrial cells on a Pap, particularly if they are atypical, need further evaluation.
- Transvaginal ultrasound – the doctor inserts an instrument into the vagina which aims high-frequency sound waves at the uterus. The pattern of the echoes creates a picture. If the endometrium looks too thick, the doctor can do a biopsy.
- Biopsy – the doctor removes a sample of tissue from the uterine lining. This usually can be done in the doctor’s office.
Recommended Reading: What Antidepressant Is Best For Menopause