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What Is The Connection Between Menopause And Body Odor?

Body odor can change during menopause and this can be due to different reasons. There are many factors, which can also contribute to your perception of how you smell and the variation in the body odor. These changes in the body odor are often not a cause for an alarm; however, it can prove to be a nuisance. In this article, we will discuss about the changes in the body odor during menopause, why it occurs and how to prevent these unwanted odors.

What Causes Change In Body Odor During Menopause?

The primary cause for increased or change in body odor during menopause is hormonal fluctuations or imbalances (1, 2).

More so, the increase or decrease in estrogen, cortisol and testosterone. These hormones fluctuate at different times in life; however, the change is more drastic during puberty, menopause and pregnancy.

Mild changes in body odor are usually temporary. However the presence of strong and persistent body odors can be an indication of some significant problem, such as infection, and medical consultation should be sought.

More than the body odor, vaginal odor changes are a cause for concern, especially if the smell is rotten, fish or yeast like.

Why Does The Body Odor Change During Menopause?

Changes in the smell perception: Changes in smell can occur because of aging and this can lead one to perceive as if there is a change in the body odor. Presbyosmia is a condition where there are gradual changes and decline in the sense of smell with age and it consists of:

Dysosmia: distorted sense of smell

Hyposmia: lost or dulled sense of smell.

Phantosmia: smelling things that aren’t there or smell hallucinations

“phantosmia or dysosmia can cause people to think that they smell very bad even when that is not the case.

Increase in Perspiration Caused By Night Sweats or Hot Flashes

Menopause is a phase where a woman’s body goes through many hormonal changes with one of the main being decrease in the estrogen levels. The elasticity of the blood vessel changes according to the estrogen level and with its decrease the vessels don’t expand like before (3). The decrease in the widening of the blood vessels means that menopausal women are not able to sufficiently release the excess body heat, which causes an increase in night sweats and hot flashes. This increase in perspiration along with increase in bacterial diversity in the sweat itself can cause more body odor or changes in the body odor.

A testosterone increase causes increase in bacteria also. Testosterone is also associated with production of androstenol, which is chemical that causes a musky smell.

Increased Anxiety during Menopause; Ergo Increased Perspiration and Body Odor

According to analysis in 2023, it was found that around 25% of menopausal women experienced anxiety during this stage in their lives (4). Increase in symptoms of menopause was linked with increased levels of anxiety.

Eccrine sweat glands release the regular sweat; whereas, stress sweat is released from apocrine sweat glands. Apocrine sweat glands have more fats and proteins than the other types of sweat glands and this causes more bad smell in the body odor. So, with the increase in the anxiety levels during the menopause, it is normal for the sweat to smell different or worse than before.

The reduction in the estrogen levels also disrupts the overall hormone balance of the body. This change in the estrogen is the primary reason for the changes in the vaginal odor. Estrogen also helps the vaginal and vulvar tissues self-lubricate. When there is decrease in the estrogen levels, the lubrication levels also go down.

These changes in the estrogen and lubrication also affect the pH of the vagina and cause change in the overall bacterial composition in the uro-genital area. There is decrease in the concentration of Lactobacilli bacteria, which is the “good bacteria” and they support the vaginal health.

Reduction in the Lactobacilli is often associated with increase in other bacterial strains and this causes a change in discharge and its smell.

Increase in Urinary Incontinence

Menopause also sees many changes in the pelvic floor of the women where there is change in the tone of the muscle and its overall function. This reduction in estrogen causes substantial thinning of the tissues and muscles surrounding the urethra.

This weakness in pelvic floor can cause incontinence or urinary leakage.  Urine has a distinct smell and its leakage causes a change in how one perceives the smell of the body odor or vaginal odor.

How to Get Rid Of Body Odor during Menopause?

Unwanted and bad body odor causes negative effect on a person’s confidence, quality of life and social interactions. However, there are many things one can do to change the bad smell to a better one.

Change Your Hygiene Routine

During menopause, one needs to practice a new system of hygiene habits. It is better to take a shower after a workout or after exertion, so the smell of the sweat does not linger. After going through a bout of hot flashes, a quick shower helps a lot with the body odor

Apply Antiperspirant or Deodorant Frequently

Application of deodorants or antiperspirants at the beginning of the day and when you start to feel stinky is recommended (1). Many deodorants have an antimicrobial effect which helps in reduction of bacteria. Antiperspirants block the sweat glands to disrupt the sweat flow to the skin where it gets metabolized by the bacteria. Use of the both can help in body odor related with sweat. 

Douching in the Private Parts is a big No-No

If you feel there is a different or bad vaginal odor, do not douche the area or use harsh soaps or fragrances, as this can cause more problems by removing the good bacteria and cause recurrent infections. Just wash your vulvar and vaginal area with mild soap and water.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drinking lot of water and other fluids prevents the sweat from getting concentrated. When the sweat is less concentrated, the lesser it will stink.

Keep a Food Diary

Jot down the times and the amount of food you take along with alcohol, drug and medication use. There are some medications and foods that contribute to body odor and logging all the entries of what you are consuming helps in figuring out the culprit responsible for bad body odor.

Implement Stress-Relief Strategies

Stress is also a major contributing factor to body odor. For this reason, one should practice different relaxation techniques, such as practicing yoga, especially before going to sleep, performing deep breathing exercises and cutting down on the blue light exposure helps in keeping you calm and relaxed.

Taking a Probiotic

Taking a daily probiotic helps in increasing the good bacteria in the vaginal canal and this helps with dealing with any bad odor.

When should you consult a doctor?

 If the unwanted or unusual body odor persists despite taking the above mentioned measures, then consult your healthcare professional for managing the body odor during menopause. The change in the body’s smell could be due to some underlying health issue. Medical conditions involving the kidney or liver can cause increased production of metabolites, which in turn changes how the body smells.

If there is genital odor which does not go away, then the cause could be a sexually transmitted infection or a vaginal infection. Immediate diagnosis and treatment helps in reducing any long-term complications.

If the cause of bad odor is urinary leakage, then consulting a pelvic floor therapist helps dealing with this problem.


Menopause can commonly cause mild changes in the overall body odor.  While it can take some time to get used to this change, it is rarely a cause for concern.

If there is a drastic change in the body or vaginal odor, then it is highly recommended to consult your physician to rule out other medical conditions and get the correct treatment for reducing body odor.



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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 1, 2024

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