Posted by: Betty on: June 6, 2012
Menopause is a one of the most common vaginal odor causes in older women, but for the most part is overlooked. Approximately 50% of women over the age of 40 report increases in vaginal odor, and are frustrated by lack of effective management techniques.
Although for the most part menopause as one of the vaginal odor causes is normal and a part of female transition, it may disguise true states that warrant worry. Menopausal age women are just as susceptible to the effects of odor caused by infections, and can be considered even more likely to have abnormal scents emanating from the vaginal area.
Methods that can provide moderate relief for these embarrassing symptoms may include frequent changing of underwear and application of scented feminine deodorant products. The use of douches and feminine washes is highly discouraged since this may encourage development of other vaginal odor causes such as infections.
Vaginal odor causes in menopause include may be due to following reasons:
Decreased Estrogen Levels
Estrogen plays an integral role in female body chemistry, lack of which will produce changes to libido and vaginal receptiveness. Also a possibility resulting from decreased estrogen levels is thinning of the vaginal wall mucosa. Altering the normal flora (bacteria and fungi) that live there and paving the way for infections to occur.
Use of Pantyliners
Not to discourage the use of feminine hygiene products, but one of the most common vaginal odor causes during menopause is frequent use of the panty liner. The problem arises not from the use of these products, but from keeping them on for extended periods of time. Most women on average will use 1-2 panty liners daily, but in the case of menopausal women much more frequent change is required. Menopausal women still seeing their menstruation are advised to follow this advice especially, since the scent of blood discharged is known to be significantly more offensive.
This is the furthest thing on the mind of most menopausal women, but the risk for cancer development increases significantly during and after menopause. Small undetected tumors of the Bartholin Glands (that produce the normal secretion which helps to flush out the vagina), may occlude the opening of the gland and cause abscesses with a very foul smelling odor. Regular cancer screening is advocated especially in post menopausal women.
Infections remain the most common vaginal odor causes across all age groups. Menopausal women are more likely to develop infection due to decreases in vaginal pH (acidity) and moisture content, which facilitate normalcy of organism concentrations. Many infections are attributed to an acidic vaginal environment, such as yeast infections, caused by overgrowth of vaginal fungi. Acidity is known to kill the beneficial lactobacilli living within the vagina.
Vaginitis is another possible source of odor, and occurs with increasing frequency in menopausal aged women since the vaginal surface more prone to tears and infections.
During menopause there are many other vaginal odor causes that may play a part in causing symptoms. Most women will pass through this phase and regain normalcy, but if the odor continues indefinitely or with an abnormal discharge, consult your doctor.