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.
Causes of Vaginal Smell during Menopause
As ovarian hormone production winds down with the transition into perimenopause, decreased estrogen levels compromise the health of the vagina. This can lead to change in levels of healthy bacteria, pH, lubrication, and feminine odor during menopause.
However, this change in vaginal smell should not be foul, just different from what a woman has been accustomed to throughout her reproductive life.
Foul vaginal odor during perimenopause could be attributed to other causes, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs); bacterial vaginosis that also brings an unpleasant discharge; mild urinary leakage; concentrated urine from dehydration; and more.
Nonetheless, if the vaginal odor is not accompanied by other vaginal symptoms, such as itching, burning, or discharge, there is generally no need for concern, and you can consider the smell part of the hormonal aging process.
How to Manage Vaginal Odor during Menopause
There are several steps women who are suffering from vaginal smell during menopause in order to relieve the symptom. They include:
Washing only with gentle soap and water. This will ensure that you do not wash away the healthy bacteria from external genitalia, thus provoking further irritation.
Avoid douching. Douching upsets the balance of healthy bacteria and yeast, which control normal vaginal acidity.
Drinking more liquids. Dehydration makes urine more yellow in color and more concentrated, evoking unpleasant smells.
Consuming foods with vitamin C. This will help improve the pH balance of the vagina and urine. Good options are oranges, cantaloupe, papaya, watermelon, kiwi, strawberries, and mango.
Performing vaginal massages. This will help promote blood flow to the vaginal wall and encourage skin cell regeneration, thus fostering healthy pH levels.
Doing pelvic floor exercises. This will also stimulate healthy levels of blood flow to the vaginal area and strengthen pelvic floor muscles, an added bonus for those suffering from incontinence.
Nevertheless, long-term relief from that horrid vaginal odor during menopause will only be found by treating the underlying cause.
How to Treat It
Pinpoint the underlying cause of the feminine odor during menopause in order to effectively treat the symptoms. In most cases, the culprit will be hormonal imbalance.
Menopause symptoms treatments focus on non-invasive, holistic measures to encourage optimal endocrine system and - consequently - hormonal imbalance. Women are first encouraged to revamp their diets to include balanced proportions of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein that are rich in phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogen; calcium; vitamin D; and B vitamins to begin with.
Alongside this menopause diet, women should aim to participate in regular exercise for improved blood circulation, decreased stress levels, and weight management. Likewise, choose wholesome habits conducive to endocrine system health, including quitting smoking and excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.
For optimal results, pair these efforts alongside the use of alternative medicine such as phytoestrogenic herbal supplements or hormone-regulating supplements.
Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, such as dong quai and black cohosh, contain high concentrations of phytoestrogens that will fill the hormonal gap and directly increase low estrogen levels, thus encouraging a healthy vaginal environment and allaying any vaginal odor during perimenopause.
On the other hand, hormone-regulating supplements, such as Macafem, encourage natural hormone production from the thyroid and pituitary glands, thus alleviating the majority menopause symptoms - such as vaginal smell - without the need for introducing external hormones into the body.
However, women who are suffering from vaginal smell for non-hormonal reasons should work with their gynecologists to find an effective treatment, such as over-the-counter creams.
Feminine odor during menopause is characteristic of declining estrogen levels as ovarian hormone production comes to an end. If it is not accompanied by irritation, burning, discharge, or other vaginal symptoms, there is generally no need to assume it is caused by other factors. Management techniques for vaginal odor during perimenopause include avoiding douching, drinking more liquids, upping vitamin C intake, and performing vaginal massages, among others. Whereas, treatment for long-term relief will be focused on promoting hormonal balance within the body for optimal health and well-being. With a little bit of initiative, vaginal smell during menopause will soon be a concern of the past.
- Mayo Clinic. (2018). Vaginal odor: Causes | When to see a doctor. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-odor/basics/causes/sym-20050664 | https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-odor/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20050664
- Senior Planet. (2016). Is this Embarrassing Odor Normal for Older Women? Retrieved May 7, 2019, from https://seniorplanet.org/is-this-embarrassing-odor-normal-for-older-women/