By Lemetria Whitehurst RN
Why Does My Vagina Smell? How do I get rid of the odor down there? My discharge smells bad but not fishy?!
We hear those questions in our perry community very often. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re concerned about vaginal odor during perimenopause. It’s a common problem that many women face, and it can be tricky to figure out how to deal with it. As any woman who’s gone through perimenopause knows, all sorts of new and interesting changes happen during this time.
But others, like vaginal odor, are some of the worst inconveniences. Since there are many myths and misconceptions about what causes vaginal odor, we’re here to set the record straight for you. Let’s dive into this latest hot topic: changes to vaginal smell during perimenopause.
Why Does My Vagina Smell During Perimenopause?
For starters, the vagina does not directly develop an unpleasant odor during perimenopause. However, hormonal changes that begin in perimenopause might affect the vagina’s typical smell and general state of health.
For example, declining estrogen levels might cause changes in the pH and glucose levels of the vagina during this time. These hormonal shifts, which are entirely normal, could lead to altered bacterial populations and increased itchiness in the vagina.
Also, perimenopausal women sweat more due to increased body temperature from hot flashes and night sweats. Approximately one out of three perimenopausal women experience moderately severe hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms. Sweat and moisture around your vagina throughout the day or night will cause smelly discharge.
What To Do About Vaginal Odor?
You may wonder, “how to get rid of vaginal odor at home?” Well, first and foremost, it’s essential to keep your vagina clean and as dry as possible. So, make sure you steer clear of underwear that traps moisture and stick with breathable fabrics like cotton or culprit underwear.
Additionally, there are a ton of vaginal odor remedies, including washing with mild soap and water regularly and avoiding scented products. As tempting as that peach lavender wildflower vaginal wash may seem, stay away from it.
It’s also crucial to clean your vagina after sex. You don’t want bacteria or other irritants lingering there for too long since pH and vaginal smells can be significantly affected by intercourse.
I Shower Everyday And Still My Vagina Smells. Are There Any Home Remedies For Fishy Odor?
In 2022, a groundbreaking study published in Frontiers In Cellular And Infection Microbiology moved the needle on probiotic-driven health solutions.
Researchers found an association between vaginal microbiota diversity and female reproductive tract wellness. They explored using probiotics to manage Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) with compelling results: Lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and lactobacillus reuteri were shown to play a vital role in improving women’s gynecological health while bolstering local immunities within the vagina as well.
The study joins countless other studies which point towards using probiotic supplements for improved holistic care – opening up exciting possibilities where we can learn more about how this beneficial bacteria works its magic across the female body.
Take a trip to the grocery store and try these probiotic-rich fermented foods:
- Raw sauerkraut (refrigerated, not jarred on the shelf)
Alternatively, you can take a well-formulated probiotic supplement with refrigerated varieties offering the best quality of live cultures. However, if your vagina smells “off” after taking these measures, reach out to your gynecologist. They can help you determine what your scent can reveal about your health.
And while a fishy odor isn’t always cause for alarm, it’s crucial to speak with a healthcare provider if you are concerned about the underlying causes. Left untreated, certain conditions like STIs can lead to significant issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease. If your vaginal discharge is frothy, green, yellow, or smells foul, consult your gynecologist before using home remedies.
Related: Am I In The Menopause Transition? Take Our Quiz
Remember, you’re not alone if you’re experiencing vaginal odor during perimenopause. Many women go through this and feel embarrassed and ashamed. But there’s no need to feel that way. Join Perry, a community of women going through the same thing. Here, you can discuss your symptoms, get tips on how to cope, and find support. Our free app is available in the App Store or Google Play Store. Let us help you through perimenopause and beyond!
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
- Makwana N, Shah M, Chaudhary M. Vaginal pH as a Diagnostic Tool for Menopause: A Preliminary Analysis. J Midlife Health. 2020 Jul-Sep;11(3). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718934/
- McCarthy, M., Raval, A.P. The perimenopause in a woman’s life: a systemic inflammatory phase that enables later neurodegenerative disease. J Neuroinflammation 17, 317 (2020). Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12974-020-01998-9.\
- Santoro, Nanette. “Perimenopause: from research to practice.” Journal of women’s health 25.4 (2016): 332-339. Available from: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jwh.2015.5556.
- Mei, Z., & Li, D. (2022). The role of probiotics in vaginal health. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 12, 963868. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2022.963868
- Angelou, K., Grigoriadis, T., Diakosavvas, M., Zacharakis, D., & Athanasiou, S. (2020). The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: An Overview of the Recent Data. Cureus, 12(4), e7586. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.7586
- Cribby, S., Taylor, M., & Reid, G. (2008). Vaginal microbiota and the use of probiotics. Interdisciplinary perspectives on infectious diseases, 2008, 256490. https://doi.org/10.1155/2008/256490