Throughout the various stages of life, women experience normal changes in vaginal discharge. During perimenopause and menopause, many women begin to notice changes in their bodies they’re not quite sure about. Visible vaginal discharge can leave you worrying about what’s normal and what is cause for concern. In this blog, I’ll explore everything you need to know about discharge with menopause and why it might happen.
Discharge with Menopause: Why It Happens
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), about 60% of women experience genital or urinary systems during or after menopause. Discharge with menopause may be associated with other symptoms, such as vaginal atrophy, urethral atrophy, dryness, itchiness, or painful intercourse.
Although these changes may seem like cause for concern, discharge with menopause is often a normal occurrence linked to changing hormone levels. During menopause, estrogen levels drop, leading to a variety of vaginal symptoms.
What does Normal Discharge with Menopause look like?
Vaginal discharge will vary from woman to woman. However, there are a few easy ways to tell if your vaginal discharge is normal. Healthy vaginal discharge should be white or clear in color. The consistency may be creamy or even watery, but discharge with menopause should not have a strong smell.
You might notice visible discharge in your underwear when you go to the bathroom. This discharge with menopause is normal and is not cause for worry! After all, you’ve got enough to worry about during menopause. It’s good to pay attention to your discharge though, as discharge can sometimes indicate the presence of an infection.
Abnormal Discharge with Menopause or After Menopause
As levels of estrogen drop during and after menopause, vaginal atrophy can cause the walls of the vagina to become thinner. If your discharge appears clumpy or has a foul odor, it might indicate that medical treatment is needed.
Thin discharge or yellow discharge also suggests an overgrowth of bacteria or inflammation. If you notice discharge with menopause that seems questionable, it’s always a great idea to visit your doctor. Abnormal discharge may present at the same time as other symptoms, like redness, irritation, or burning. These are also signs that your discharge be may abnormal.
Reasons for Discharge with Menopause
Normal discharge may occur in any stage of menopause, including perimenopause. Over the course of the menopausal stages, decreasing hormones of estrogen and progesterone can cause vaginal changes. For some women, this may result in less vaginal discharge, while others may experience more normal discharge.
Vaginal dryness is common during each stage of menopause. Remember, our bodies are smart! When dryness occurs, our bodies often respond by producing extra vaginal discharge as a coping mechanism. This normal response is nothing to worry about.
What Can I Do about Discharge with Menopause?
Most vaginal discharge with menopause requires no intervention, as it is a normal part of the body’s processes. To prevent irritation, choose loose, cotton underwear and skip tight-fitting underwear that does not leave you room to breathe. Some women like to use thin panty liners to help keep their underwear dry and discharge-free. When showering or bathing, never use body soap or body wash inside your vagina.
Understanding Menopause Bodily Changes
During menopause, we’re faced with so many changes that can be difficult to cope with. Vaginal discharge is just one of the many bodily changes that occur from perimenopause onward. Navigating these bodily changes on your own can be tough. You don’t have to do it alone. Whether you’re struggling to manage uncomfortable menopause symptoms like hot flashes or insomnia or struggling to lose weight, dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way.
Learn more by joining the @menopausetheprimalway community on Instagram and Facebook for more helpful resources and tips to guide you through each stage of menopause. You’ll find everything from health tips to recipes to help you navigate menopause with ease. Plus, sign up for the free e-Newsletter to receive the latest information and updates on the release of free resources and guidance on all things menopause.