A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash: Sense of smell and body odour changes during menopause

Hello and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Flash. Today I’m going to talk about your sense of smell and smells in general.


Mackie Vadacchino

18 April 2018

This is little bit of a strange one, but it’s really common during menopause. There are two main parts to it, but they both stem from the same thing: falling estrogen levels. As usual, it’s behind most of the things that go on here.

Changes to your sense of smell

The first thing that can happen is that you become more aware of smells around you. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but you may find that your sense of smell becomes a lot more acute and you start to smell things you never noticed before. You might be walking down the street or sitting in your backyard and suddenly you smell the flowers or other things in the air.

It can also mean that you start to dislike some smells or that they become too strong for you. And it’s amazing how many women actually say, “I can’t stand my perfume anymore. I can’t stand my body creams. I can’t stand the smell of laundry detergent.” So there can be a point where things that you used to really love and enjoy are now making you feel a bit nauseous or you think, “Wow, that’s horrible!”

Changes to your own body odour

The other thing that can happen is that you become much more aware of your own body smells, which can be quite disconcerting because it’s amazing how many women say, “I feel as if I stink all day and it’s upsetting me and making me feel really uncomfortable because I feel that everyone else must be thinking that I smell too.” That’s the first thing.

Vaginal changes

The second thing that can happen is that some of your body fluids can start to smell. The main change often takes place in the vaginal area. Estrogen triggers the cervix to produce mucus in the vagina, and as your estrogen levels fall during menopause, mucus production can change, which can either cause dryness or, for some women, actually increase lubrication. As a result, they get really worried because they feel as though they’re having little mini periods or wetting themselves a lot.
The other thing that can happen is that this change in vaginal mucus changes the balance of friendly bacteria in the vagina, which can in turn change the smell. When it comes to your vaginal fluids, you might find that the amount, colour, smell or consistency changes. Very often, there is a bit of an underlying infection because during menopause, women become much more vulnerable to infections such as thrush (a.k.a. yeast infections).

If your vaginal mucus changes quite quickly, especially if there’s an odour or a significant change in colour, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by your doctor. But in most instances, a specific vaginal probiotic usually does the trick, so it’s worth trying that to start with.

Underarm sweat

The other main place we sweat from is the underarms. And this is the one that often causes a lot of discomfort and distress because we can be sitting there quite happily, doing our job and then think, “Ooh, is that me? I can smell my sweat.” Remember that during menopause, especially if you’re getting hot flashes or night sweats, you’re going to sweat more anyway, but a few other things can happen.

One of them is that falling estrogen affects the balance of bacteria on your skin, which can affect the odours your armpits produce. One of the other interesting facts is that menopause can stress the liver. It can also slow down your digestive system: your bowels could become a little bit sluggish or you might end up constipated. And when these things happen, your body has to find other ways of getting rid of toxins, and one of the places it does that is through your underarms.

If you’re detoxing a bit more under the arms, you’re giving those bacteria an extra feeding or two during the day. That’s why even if you’re using antiperspirants or deodorants, you can get a little smellier than usual, and it can happen a bit faster.

What you can do to reduce underarm odour
If you’re getting a bit smellier under the arms and you haven’t changed deodorant or antiperspirant, if you’re getting bloating, digestive discomfort or even a little constipation, you might find that taking something like Boldocynara for a month or two can make a difference, because supporting your liver can help with detoxification and elimination, which can in turn help relieve all these issues.

The important thing is not to go washing your armpits three or four times a day because that can seriously disrupt the balance of friendly armpit bacteria. On the other hand, you might find that you need to use a slightly stronger deodorant.

The problem with antiperspirants
The really important thing here is that your underarms are one of the primary areas where your body sweats in order to maintain your body temperature. So if you’re going through menopause and getting hot flashes and sweats and you use antiperspirants, you’re preventing your armpits from doing the job they’re supposed to do, which can cause problems elsewhere.

And it’s quite interesting in that if you completely block your underarms, you can end up with smelly feet! Using a gentle natural deodorant can very often make a huge difference, because you’re allowing your underarms to breathe and sweat properly, which in turn can help control the level of underarm bacteria that cause all the smells.

Smelly feet

The other thing that can happen is that you get smelly feet without having any problems with your underarms.

So it’s important to allow your feet to breathe: if you can, try to go barefoot at some point during the day. If you sweat a lot through your feet, especially if they’re a bit smelly, try our digestive aid complex Boldocynara. Also make sure that you’re not wearing socks made with nylon or other artificial fibres because they too will prevent your feet from sweating.

Vaginal freshness

And remember: for vaginal freshness, remember to always wear cotton underwear and don’t wash down there too often. Some women literally wash themselves every time they go to the toilet, but this is a bad idea, as it disrupts the friendly bacteria in the vaginal area. So don’t go overboard with it!

And I really recommend against using any of the vaginal deodorants being marketed: a lot of them contain chemicals that can make things a lot worse.

Remember, changes in smell are really common

A changing sense of smell is really common. Your ability to smell your own body functions more than before is common too, but very often, you’re the only one who can smell it. So if you find that you’re getting a bit paranoid about your smells, try asking someone you trust to sniff you a bit; very often the answer will be “No,” in which case you’ll know that it’s just your newly hypersensitive nose.

And remember that sweating is a natural body process that is necessary to maintain the right temperature, which is hugely important during menopause, and helps with detoxification too.