“If you are worried about the odour of your vulva
and vagina, and/or have symptoms such as itching,
burning, irritation, soreness, painful sex or painful…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Vagina Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Vagina
  • Vulvovaginal
  • “Down Below/There”
  • “Lady Parts”
  • “Private Parts”
  • “Privates”
  • “Things That Go Wrong Down There”
  • “Women’s Bits”

Definition

What is the vagina?

DotS the definition of the vagina may vary. The (United States) MedlinePlus’ definition is:

“The vagina is the female body part that connects the womb (uterus) and cervix to the outside of the body”.2

In Vagina: Information the MedlinePlus also explain:

“The vagina is a muscular tube lined with mucous membranes. Its opening is between the urethra (where urine leaves the body) and the anus.

Menstrual blood leaves the body through the vagina. The vagina also allows for sexual intercourse, and it is the passageway a baby goes through when it is born”.3

Vaginitis

What is vaginitis?

DotS the definition of vaginitis may vary. MedlinePlus’ definition is:

“Inflammation of the vagina is known as vaginitis”.4

Menopause Symptoms

What vaginal symptoms can menopause cause?

In Symptoms of Menopause: Bladder, Vaginal & Vulval Problems the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“As you move into perimenopause and menopause, low oestrogen levels can change your vulval, vaginal and bladder tissues. These changes may affect up to half of postmenopausal women”.5

In Symptoms of Menopause: Bladder, Vaginal & Vulval Problems the JH also elaborate on:

Vagina“Declining oestrogen levels causes bladder and vaginal tissue to become thin. This can affect areas such as your:

  • Vaginal lining
  • Vulval skin
  • Bladder
  • Urethra (tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body)
  • Pelvic floor muscles.

These changes are commonly known as vulvovaginal atrophy”.6

Vulvovaginal Atrophy

What are vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms?

In Vulvovaginal Atrophy the European Menopause and Andropause Society note:

“Symptoms include:

  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Chafing
  • Discomfort
  • Uncomfortable or even painful intercourse
  • Passing urine more frequently
  • More frequent urinary tract infections
  • Greater discomfort with cervical smear tests”.7

Not Menopause

What types of vaginal discomfort are not directly related to menopause?

In Vaginal Discomfort: Discomfort Not Directly Related to Menopause the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“Other types of vaginal discomfort are not directly related to menopause but can and do occur in peri- and postmenopausal women, making sex painful or difficult:

  • Vaginitis…
  • Vaginismus…
  • Urinary Tract Infections…”.8

The NAMS also note:

“Because vaginal discomfort can arise from so many different sources, persistent symptoms of dryness, irritation, burning, itchiness, or pain should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to determine their cause”.9

Odour

After menopause may vaginal odour change?

In Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour [+ Image] the JH elaborate on:

“After menopause, odour may change as the bacteria in the vagina also changes. The odour will be different compared to when you were still having periods”.10

Vaginal Health

What can women do to keep their vagina healthy?

In Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not – What Can I Do To Keep My Vagina Healthy? the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“You can take steps to protect your vaginal health and overall health. For example:

  • Be sexually responsible…
  • Get vaccinated…
  • Do Kegel exercises…
  • Know your medications…
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and don’t smoke…”.11

Health Care Provider

What if I am unsure about what is going on down there?

If you are unsure about what is going on down there, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

On page two in Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Options the NAMS explain:

“Note: Vaginal symptoms not related to menopause include yeast infections, allergic reactions, and certain skin conditions, so consult your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment”.12

The JH also note:

“If you are worried about the odour of your vulva and vagina, and/or have symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation, soreness, painful sex or painful urination, see your doctor”.13

The Mayo Clinic explain:

“Consult your doctor if you notice:

  • A change in the color, odor or amount of vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal redness or itching
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex or after menopause
  • A mass or bulge in your vagina
  • Pain during intercourse”.14

The Mayo Clinic also note:

“While not all vaginal problems can be prevented, regular checkups can help ensure that problems affecting the vagina are diagnosed as soon as possible. Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from talking to your health care provider about concerns you have about vaginal health”.15

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Vagina?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Vagina?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 25 October 2022
  2. Vagina. Review Date: 04 November 2021. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002342.htm Accessed: 25 October 2022
  3. Vagina: Information. Review Date: 04 November 2021. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002342.htm Accessed: 25 October 2022
  4. Vagina: Information. Review Date:04 November 2021. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002342.htm Accessed: 25 October 2022
  5. Symptoms of Menopause: Bladder, Vaginal & Vulval Problems. Last Updated: 12 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms Accessed: 25 October 2022
  6. Symptoms of Menopause: Vulvovaginal Atrophy. Last Updated: 12 September 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms Accessed: 25 October 2022
  7. Vaginal Discomfort: Discomfort Not Directly Related To Menopause. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/vaginal-discomfort Accessed: 25 October 2022
  8. Vaginal Discomfort: Discomfort Not Directly Related To Menopause. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/vaginal-discomfort Accessed: 25 October 2022
  9. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 25 October 2022
  10. Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not – What Can I Do To Keep My Vagina Healthy? 18 January 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/vagina/art-20046562 Accessed: 25 October 2022
  11. Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Options. 2018:2. North America Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/for-women/mn-vaginal-dryness.pdf Accessed: 25 October 2022
  12. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 25 October 2022
  13. Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not – What Are Signs or Symptoms of Vaginal Problems? 18 January 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/vagina/art-20046562 Accessed: 25 October 2022
  14. Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not – What Can I Do To Keep My Vagina Healthy? 18 January 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/vagina/art-20046562 Accessed: 25 October 2022
Topic Last Updated: 25 October 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 25 October 2022

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