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What Causes Vaginal Odor After Menopause

Essentials For Older Women

4 unexpected vaginal problems during menopause

After menopause, estrogen levels decrease markedly. As a result, the amount of normal discharge usually decreases. However, because the lining of the vagina thins and becomes drier , the vagina is more likely to become irritated, often resulting in an abnormal discharge from the vagina. This discharge may be watery and thin or thick and yellowish. Atrophic vaginitis may make sexual intercourse painful.

Thinning also makes certain vaginal infections more likely to develop. The thin, dry vaginal tissues are more easily damaged, allowing usually harmless bacteria from the skin to enter tissues under the skin and cause infection there. Such infections are usually not serious but can cause discomfort.

Older women are more likely to have treatments that can reduce estrogen levels and thus make the vagina more likely to become irritated. Such treatments include removal of both ovaries, radiation therapy directed at the pelvis, and certain chemotherapy drugs.

Problems that make good hygiene difficult, such as being incontinent or bedbound, are more common among older women. Poor hygiene can result in chronic inflammation of the genital area due to irritation by urine or stool.

Older women should see a doctor promptly if they have a discharge, particularly if the discharge contains blood or is brown or pink . A discharge that occurs after menopause can be a warning sign of a precancerous disorder or cancer and should not be ignored.

What Symptoms Occur With Changes In Vaginal Health

  • Irritation, burning, itching, chafing, or other discomfort.
  • Dryness due to decreased vaginal secretions, which may also mean sexual intercourse becomes uncomfortable or painful.
  • Light bleeding, because the vagina may injure more easily. Any vaginal bleeding needs to be investigated by your medical practitioner.
  • Inflammation, known as atrophic vaginitis, which can lead to pain on urination and infection.
  • Persistent, smelly discharge caused by increased vaginal alkalinity which is sometimes mistaken for thrush. Any vaginal discharge needs to be investigated by your medical practitioner.

Should I Be Concerned About A Fishy Vaginal Odor During Pregnancy

While pregnant, a fishy odor either in your urine or vaginal discharge is a potential sign of a urinary tract infection or BV. Left untreated, the condition could lead to preterm birth or low birth weight.

Following childbirth, the development of a fishy vaginal odor may be from a postpartum infection. Please make an appointment to see your health care provider to follow up.

Also Check: How To Deal With Menopause Symptoms

Why Does My Vagina Smell 8 Causes Of Vaginal Odour

Tue, Jun 1, 2021

Vaginal odour might not be something you feel comfortable talking about, but getting to know your body can help you identify whats normal for you and when you may need to seek help.

Everyone with a vagina has a natural bacterial flora thats there to keep a good balance, explains Dr Rosén. Its because of this natural bacteria that the cervical mucus in the vagina always has a smell. You may also experience changes throughout your menstrual cycle as the pH balance in your vagina changes.

So, what does a vagina normally smell like? Dr Rosén says that it usually ranges from a slightly tangy or sour smell to a more metallic smell around or after your period. Generally, if youre feeling well and your vaginal odour or discharge isnt unusual for you, theres no reason to worry.

Here are 8 common causes of vaginal odour and when to talk to a doctor:

We Can Help You Manage Body Odor

Is Vaginal Discharge Normal After Menopause

The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.; Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is just menopause can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev’s telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.

Recommended Reading: What Causes Period Pain In Menopause

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We women on the Helpline Team are big fans of Salt of the Earth Crystal Deodorants.

This natural deodorant works by leaving a thin layer of mineral salts on the skin. These natural minerals are odour inhibiting and provide long lasting protection but dont stop the skin from breathing, which is very important.

It is also free from Aluminium cholorohydrate, which is present in most of the chemically based antiperspirants.

The deodorants are normally used for the underarm area getting hot flushes generally can make you anxious about how you smell here and the deodorants really do stop whiffy armpits, the added bonus being that they dont leave a white residue. For underarms, you can use either the stick or spray. There is no added perfume in these two but you can also get a lavender and vanilla scented spray if you prefer a subtle perfume.

What Treatments Are Available

  • Cool washes or compresses may help itching and mild discomfort. Dissolve half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre of water and apply gently with a cloth a few times a day. Softly pat dry. Avoid scratching and keep the genital area cool and dry. See your doctor if symptoms persist or if they get worse with this treatment.
  • Vaginal moisturisers can temporarily increase the water content of the vaginal cells. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about available products.
  • Water or silicone based vaginal lubricants may reduce friction and make intercourse more comfortable. Some products containing alcohol/preservatives may cause irritation. Water-based or silicone-based lubricants can be used safely with latex condoms. However oil-based lubricants should never be used with latex condoms.
  • Natural oils may help, but some oils and creams can cause contact dermatitis, increasing itchiness and discomfort.
  • Vitamin E, either taken orally or applied topically can reduce symptoms.
  • Phyto-oestrogens are used by some women but there is a lack of evidence for their effectiveness and safety, and they are not recommended for women who have had breast cancer.
  • Pelvic floor relaxation exercises may help and seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist who may offer advice on the exercises and techniques to make penetration during intercourse easier.

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Menopause And Sense Of Smell

One of the first things that women seem to notice when it comes to smells is that their sense of smell becomes heightened.

You start to pick up on scents and odors that you never noticed before. Whether its things in your home, at work or outdoors, you become more aware of the smells around you.

Unfortunately its not just the pleasant ones you start to notice but the nasty ones too.

Your perception of what you can smell may change. You might start to dislike the scent of your favourite perfume or deodorant. Or develop a liking for a particular smell that you hadnt really noticed much before.

Youll also become more aware of your own body odors. Both the pleasant and the not so pleasant ones. And its likely to be the unpleasant ones that you notice most.

Vaginal Infections From The Premenopausal To The Postmenopausal Period

Vaginal Atrophy, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Vaginitis and vaginosis are defined as separate vaginal conditions. The important characteristic of the former condition is inflammation, whereas the latter reflects abnormal changes in the vaginal ecosystem due to reduced concentrations of dominant lactic acid-producing Lactobacillus spp. and excessive growth of aerobic or anaerobic bacteria that are normally found in the vagina. When premenopausal woman complain of vaginal symptoms such as itching and smelly vaginal discharge, a differential diagnosis among the three most common types of vaginitis, namely BV, trichomoniasis, and vaginal candidiasis, is needed. Among these three diseases, BV is the most prevalent , followed by vaginal candidiasis and trichomoniasis . Although itching and irritation are symptoms of vaginal candidiasis, and foul odor indicates BV, pruritus of the vagina is typically found in fewer than 50% of women with VVC.

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When To See Your Gynecologist About Vaginal Odor

Its the particularly stinky vaginal odors you need to pay attention to and bring to your doctors attention, especially when those odors are accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Vaginal discharge that is an unusual color or consistency
  • Bleeding not associated with your period
  • Itching
  • Vaginal swelling
  • Genital rash or redness

If you notice any of the symptoms above with an abnormal vaginal odor, its in your best interest to contact your doctor and schedule an appointment. You might even be able to schedule avirtual care visit with your provider!

How Is Vaginal Atrophy Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. A pelvic exam will be done to examine your vagina and cervix. Your healthcare provider will place a speculum into your vagina to open and examine it. A sample of discharge from your vagina may be collected and tested. A urine test may also be done.

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Use Internal Menstruation Products

Some females might notice a stronger vaginal odor during menstruation. Hormonal changes can cause an odor similar to iron or ammonia. Some menstrual products can trap odor, compounding this effect.

To reduce vaginal odor due to menstruation, try using internal products. The moisture of maxi pads and reusable cloth pads can contribute to odor. Sitting on a wet pad can also give rise to infection.

It is also important to change menstrual products frequently.

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.;

Read Also: Can Menopause Cause High Iron Levels

It May Be More Likely To Tear Or Bleed During Sex

Because the skin in the vaginal area becomes thinner and more fragile during menopause, tearing and bleeding during sex can occur, says Monique May, MD, a family and emergency room doctor based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ironically, more frequent intercourse and masturbation can make the vagina less prone to tearing since it increases blood flow and moisture to the area .

Vaginal Smell During Menopause

Women suffering from the more feminine symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and vaginal odor, during menopause may feel as if they can find no reprieve from their intimate distress, quickly turning to search for their causes and how to effectively overcome them. Luckily, there is hope.

Continue reading to learn all you need to know about vaginal smell during menopause, including its causes, management techniques, and treatment options, so that you can have intimate comfort once again.

Read Also: What Is The Male Version Of Menopause

When To See A Health Care Provider For Fishy Vaginal Odor

If you have a fishy vaginal odor that wont go away even after trying the techniques above, its time to see a health care professional. This is also true if the fishy vaginal odor comes with any itching, burning, or bleeding.

Still have questions about fishy vaginal odors? Never fear, because Flo is here to answer them all.

Why Does My Vagina Smell Like Onions Perimenopause And Vaginal Odor

What are the causes of vaginal odor and how to get rid of it? | Cloudnine Hospitals

If youre wondering, Why does my vagina smell like onions? youre not alone. You could be experiencing changes in your body in the transition to menopause. These changes can impact the chemistry of your vagina, which can result in some unexpected vaginal odor. Some mild vaginal odor is healthy and normal. That said, a strong smell or odor coming from your vagina might indicate an infection, or may simply be due to a change in what we call the vaginal biome: the unique mix of friendly bacteria and other organisms that colonize our bodies.;

In our fertile years, estrogen levels are higher, meaning that the body stores sugar in the cells of the vaginal tissues. When the cells naturally turn over, the dead cells provide the perfect food for the friendly bacteria known as lactobacillus. Though it can feel strange to consider that we work in perfect harmony with the bacteria that live on and in us, the lactobacilli are our vaginas best friend. They produce a chemical called lactic acid which helps keep the vaginal environment at a healthy, slightly acidic pH. This is the main way our bodies fight infection and overgrowth of other, less friendly bacteria.

Going into the menopause transition means that our vaginal cells change and we no longer provide so much food for the lactobacilli: that means that the make up of our biome changes. And with it – so can our vaginal odor.;

Apart from these hormonal changes, a few common other causes of vaginal odor include:

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Tips To Reduce Vaginal Odours

You can’t eliminate all smells, but you can reduce the intensity of an odour by practising certain hygiene protocols. If you’re experiencing a change in your vaginal scent, try a few of these recommendations to see if you can take care of it on your own. But know that if you have recurrent issues with odour and/or infections, it’s best to see your GP for proper diagnosis and treatment.

A Tampon Youve Forgotten To Remove

  • Smell: very obvious and unpleasant

There have been instances of people seeking help for a bad vagina smell and finding its caused by a tampon thats been left in for days, sometimes longer, says Dr Rosén.

If this happens, the smell will get worse quickly and be extremely obvious and offensive so if youre experiencing vaginal odour that escalates, its always best to just check.

Read Also: Can You Have Night Sweats After Menopause

Menopause And Body Odor Changes: Get A Whiff Of This

Yup, you can add body odor to the list of weird stuff that happens at menopause. But take heart, this may be one of the more easily managed symptoms.

If youre at or approaching menopause, you may have noticed your body smells differently. The deodorant and anti-perspirant you’ve used for years, even decades, may no longer work, making you more self-conscious. Even the feeling in your armpits may be differentstickier and heavier. While these changes may not be pleasant, they are normal.

Is This Embarrassing Odor Normal For Older Women

Is my vaginal discharge normal or abnormal? ~ JPEEI CLINIC

Wednesday, March 9, 201689 CommentsShare This:

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Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email

Im a 64-year-old woman, and I have two issues. After orgasm, my clitoris is hypersensitive, and I cant stand to be touched for quite a while. This isnt a new problem, but its worse now that Im older.

I also have an odor problem: Oral sex and manual clitoral stimulation used to be my favorites, but now feminine odor which my gynecologist says is normal has me too embarrassed to even engage at all.

For the odor problem, Im now trying a vaginal gel called RepHresh that eliminates odor for three days at a time. Its working so far. Is there anything else you recommend? Embarrassed

A Really Bad Genital Odor
Just a Different Genital Odor

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What Your Body Goes Through Around Menopause

Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg each month and the menstrual cycle totally stops.;

This event happens after a natural decline in reproductive hormones, usually around 4555 years of age. The exact timing of menopause varies based on personal factors like genetics, previous pregnancies, physical activity, and body weight.;

As you experience the changes of menopause, your monthly periods will eventually stop. According to the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop , a few years before a person undergoes menopause, the length of the menstrual cycle becomes more irregular, leading to cycles that can be 60 days or longer. This time is known as the menopause transition or premenopause.

Menopause is a one-time event that is marked by a persons final menstrual period. It becomes clear that this menstrual period was the final one only after 12 months without periods. It also signals the end of perimenopause, a term that means the time around menopause. Perimenopause begins at the menopausal transition and ends 12 months after the final menstrual period.;

The time after the final menstrual period is called postmenopause.;

Menopause occurs in a few different ways. Here are some of the most common:

  • Naturally around the age 4558 years
  • Because of surgery to remove the uterus
  • In response to chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Due to primary ovarian insufficiency

Some of the physiological changes around menopause can involve the following:


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