Well, here’s something we don’t talk about every day; vaginal odor change. Yes, yes, ladies, that’s right. As we age, we have to deal with the reality of odor change that may occur in our…undercarriage. First, before we go any further, let’s clarify a couple of things. I’m not assuming you don’t already know this, but just for clarity’s sake, the inside is considered our vagina and the outside is the vulva. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin!
In terms of the vagina, there are a couple of reasons why our odor may change as we draw closer to menopause and one of the reasons why is a decrease in estrogen production. Because of this lack of estrogen, the creation of mucus in the vagina is affected, leading to dryness that can cause everything from irritation to infection. When this happens, the needed bacteria our vaginas create is disturbed, throwing off our pH balance, resulting in a sometimes, fishy odor. If you notice this happening, it is imperative that you consult your physician to rule out any signs of infection, and proceed from there.
We’ll discuss healthy alternatives in a second. Regarding the vulva, despite what anyone tells you, it shouldn’t smell like a field of fresh flowers. The reality is, your vulva is covered all day in a couple of layers of clothes, and it’s a dark area, so just like any other creased part of your body, there’s going to be some moisture there. Because of this, you will experience normal odors that may occur from sweat, etc. There is another reason you may experience a changing scent in the vulva area as you age, and unfortunately, this is due to urine leakage. As we age and our pelvic muscles weaken, the slightest cough or sneeze or trip to the trampoline park, not speaking from experience or anything, can cause this to happen. While these experiences can be unpleasant if and when they occur, there are things you can do at home to keep your pH balance intact or to reduce urine leakage.
Here are just a few tips!
Avoid using harsh soaps or chemicals – The truth is, our vaginas and vulvas only need to be washed with lukewarm water. Of course, most of us use mild soap, but the heavily perfumed soaps and shower gels can do more harm than good. The same goes for products used after the shower. Sprays and powders can clog the pores, resulting in more odor or irritation of the skin.
Perform kegel exercises – Kegel exercises increase the muscles’ strength located underneath the uterus, bladder, and bowel. There are plenty of professional medical guides online that show how to perform these exercises.
Increase your consumption of probiotics – This can help restore the pH balance in your vagina, especially if you’ve taken antibiotics. I would love for you to join my kombucha making class this Friday, July 17th at 6:30 pm. homemade kombucha is a great and inexpensive way for many people to increase their probiotic consumption and balance their gut flora (good bacteria vs. bad bacteria in your colon). To register for this class, click here.
A change in vaginal odor may be one of the most uncomfortable or embarrassing complications of menopause. Still, there are ways to address it that don’t have to be as uncomfortable. It’s normal, and it happens to the best of us, so know if this happens to you, you are not alone, and there are things that you can do to offset what nature is doing!