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Menopause Guide

Alison Beaver

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ask: Do women smell different after menopause?

By Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter
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Do any of you who have gone through menopause think you smell different than you did before? By that I mean the way your body smells to you, not that your nose is working differently. I always thought it was just me that felt this way, but tonight I read an article about someone else who thinks she also smells different now that she's post-menopausal.

Add a Comment86 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

after reading this I think we should all just DIE or get a good DR who can take some of this nightmare away

January 14, 2012 - 9:20pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Oh where is your want for adventure? Life is a great big journey. Enjoy the ride.

January 17, 2012 - 3:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I've totally noticed a change in aroma since I started with the hot flashes, etc. My sweat smells... manly. My armpits reek like those of a hefty bloke who's just won a wrestling match unless I constantly wet-wipe and spray after every little bit of exertion; my hair is falling out (for anyone else who's having this, Lush's 'New' shampoo is helping a bit) and although evening primrose helps with the flashes, it's causing massive bloating which coupled with the hormonal weight gain is making me look like Jabba the Hutt. Also! Migraines! Panic attacks! And no sleep. What fun. But whatever, I won't be taking HRT, because really not fancying cancer much. And I'll be doing my utmost to find other things that might work and talking to as many other women having all this stuff as possible, because we need to NOT passively accept this. It was 'natural' for all sorts of things to happen to women until relatively recently in the West - like dying in childbirth, or having constant pregnancies, or having all your teeth fall out before the age of 50. 'Natural' doesn't always mean 'good'.

January 8, 2012 - 2:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Try soy products for the hot flashes. I have been doing the soy thing for about 7 years now. It helps. Time will also make it help. Try and breath slowly when a hot flash comes. I had cluster of the little things. It has gotten better. Just be easy with your self.

January 14, 2012 - 3:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

It seems strange to be grateful for what I see as bad news (yes, I smell differently that I did before), but at least there are concrete actions I can take to address the issue. It has really been bothering the heck out of me.

November 14, 2011 - 9:31am
EmpowHER Guest

While I haven't noticed any new smells, deodorants stopped working for me during peri-menopause and my body seems to jump at the chance to embarrass me with odor. Thank goodness, I was able to find Liquid Rock by Kiss My Face. It worked really well during peri-menopause but lost some of its staying power after. At first, I could skip a day (the deodorant, not the bath, and not intentionally) and still not smell. Now, I have to be sure to put it on every day. BTW, I'm really active physically. I had a friend when I was younger, who liked to say that old people smell bad. Now, I find myself vigilant in keeping odors away and it's a good thing, too. The worst thing about aging (other than wondering who that person is looking back at you in the mirror) is keeping up with the constant flow of changes. On the other hand, menopause (after 12 years of peri-menopause hell) is every bit the paradise I hoped it would be: no PMDD roller coaster and a serenity found only in dreams. Of course, I still have to deal with insomnia (soy protein helps tremendously), but it's a good trade-off.

November 10, 2011 - 11:52am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I don't stink or sweat as much as my mom did. But I do notice changes in my body. Like my food allergies have gone nuts. All milk products, pineapple, shellfish to name just a few. I can't ware any thing with a smell. After 7 years of medopause the hot flashes and night sweats are going away. At least I can talk to my hubby with out wanting to kill him.

November 13, 2011 - 12:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi - I've just found this discussion. I hope this helps somebody.
I noticed a strange smell during the latter stages of perimenopause - I've heard it variously described as like soy sauce, or salt & vinegar potato crisps, etc.
At first I thought it was a hygiene issue and I was mortified as nothing I did seemed to help. It went on for months and months. I used antibacterial soap, showered/bathed at least twice a day (paying OCD-like attention to cleaning my genital area!), but nothing helped. I knew I smelled weird and I knew other people could smell it too. It was horribly embarrassing, whether at work or in the supermarket.
One day, while shopping, I decided to try changing my washing powder and fabric conditioner. I could hardly believe that it worked! It really did.
I am 51 and haven't had a period for a year now, so I guess that means I've officially reached full menopause. I changed my powder and conditioner around 4 months ago and the result was almost instant. (I had to wash everything a couple of times to get rid of any residues from the previous products.)
Last week, my 'new' fabric conditioner was out of stock so I bought some of the old one. The smell came back immediately. This time I paid a lot more attention to what was happening and it was clear the odour was from all over, not necessarily the genital area. If I sat with my arms crossed for a short while (so that my hands were in contact with my cardigan) I found the backs of my hands smelled really strongly of the weird/bad smell. Especially during hot flushes.
I drove out of my way to buy some of the other brand and re-washed everything. The body smell went again.
I am a scientist, working in the field of chemical risk assessments and toxicology. It is my opinion that, for some of us at least, an adverse chemical reaction occurs between the chemicals on our skin during/after menopause, and the chemicals used in some brands of fabric conditioner.
My hormone balance has changed (obviously!) and the reaction is certainly adverse! The smell was soooo embarrassing!
I am in the UK. The fabric conditioner I was reacting to is sold here as Lenor, and is made by Proctor & Gamble. The conditioner I changed to is made by Unilever and called Comfort Pure. I found ingredient lists for each and they differ by a surprising amount. I can only surmise that one of the chemicals used in making Lenor is 'clashing' with the chemicals/hormones I emit these days, where it did not before.
If any of you recognise the description of the smell, please try doing this. I wouldn't wish the horrible smell on anyone. Everyone else thinks it's a hygiene issue and you get some strange looks from people and some people can even be heard commenting behind your back when they think you can't hear them.
I continue to use antibacterial soap to help deal with the sweaty smell from... well... sweating! These hot flushes are driving me nuts! But I'll stop as soon as I can because we are not helping ourselves by using too many antibacterial products.
Anyway - I hope someone else finds relief by changing products like I did. Remember to go for a different manufacturer, to increase the chances of the ingredients being different. In the UK, Comfort is a more expensive brand, but I can't begin to put into words how much it's worth paying the extra.
Good luck
From Helen

July 2, 2011 - 6:22am
EmpowHER Guest

I had vowed that, being of the hippie generation, I would take menopause naturally. It hit hard and sudden. Not sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time because of 'hot flashes' was ruining my love life, my personality, and my job. If you know anything about sleep cycles you'd know why. It was NOT imagination or over reacting. I've always been a pretty mellow person. After 4 years of decreasing quality of life I was glad my gynecologist suggested hormone replacement therapy. It helped for a while and then my body adjusted and things were bad again. So, with the study that said HRT (with progesterone) led to breast cancer, I stopped taking it. Four years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. No family history whatsoever. No other risk factors except being female and over 50. And HRT. You do the math.

May 26, 2011 - 8:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

It is not as simply nor as easy to adjust to, as some persons appear to have been able to. Yes, I do agree that it is a change one has to learn to take into perspective, and accept as another phase of life. It sure would help to be able to help everyone around to understand just how it feels each day. Some days, all I want to do is just sit around with nothing to do, some days I just feel like pulling all my hair out! I does really get crazy and I can't yet deal with the body odor changes. I wish i could find those products that really help.

May 22, 2011 - 7:43pm
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