Menopause and increased vaginal discharge
Changes to your vaginal discharge are a common and sometimes annoying part of menopause. However, some forms of discharge could be a sign that something else is going on, or that HRT could be helpful to you.
Read on to learn more.
FIND WHAT YOU NEED QUICKLY
Vaginal discharge definition
How likely is vaginal discharge during menopause?
Signs of vaginal discharge
Tips to help with vaginal discharge during menopause
Can hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help?
Vaginal discharge and menopause FAQs
The latest vaginal discharge and menopause research
VAGINAL DISCHARGE DEFINITION
It is normal to experience vaginal discharge throughout your life. This is a combination of mucus or fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean and healthy.
Start your free online menopause assessment to see if HRT is right for you
HOW LIKELY IS INCREASED VAGINAL DISCHARGE DURING MENOPAUSE?
Most women have daily vaginal discharge. However, over 50% are affected by menopausal changes to the vagina known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).
GSM is often associated with changes to your discharge. Most sufferers will experience dryness, although some find that they have much more discharge than previously.
Other symptoms of GSM include vaginal tightness, painful sex and urinary symptoms among others.
Sound familiar? Read more about painful sex, UTIs and menopause.
SIGNS OF INCREASED VAGINAL DISCHARGE
Sticky or watery discharge
Dampness in your underwear
Other symptoms of GSM, including occasional uncomfortable dryness, vaginal tightness, painful sex and urinary changes
TIPS TO HELP WITH VAGINAL DISCHARGE DURING MENOPAUSE
See your doctor
Increased discharge has many different causes. These include thrush and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among others. Many of these can be treated easily and quickly, so check it out!
Keep an eye out for unusual bleeding
Changes to your bleeding pattern and increased discharge sometimes go hand in hand. Any bleeding between periods or after sex needs checking out as it could be a sign of something more serious. The same goes for any discharge that is bloody or has a pink tinge. See your doctor as soon as possible if this happens to you.
Think about HRT
If your increased discharge is due to GSM, HRT can be a highly effective treatment. Ask your doctor if this could be an option for you.
If you have heavy discharge, you may find that your underwear is often damp. Try to keep your underwear clean and dry if possible in order to prevent infections and irritation to your vulva. You may want to try using a panty liner or changing your underwear more regularly.
Avoid perfumed products and chemicals
Products like bubble bath and vaginal washes can irritate your vagina and lead to a further increase in discharge. If you are really struggling, try switching baths to showers and see if it helps. Vaginal washes and douches are unnecessary – at any point in your life, not just menopause. Believe it or not, your vagina is self-cleaning!
CAN HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (HRT) HELP?
If your increased discharge is caused by GSM, HRT can be very helpful.
GSM is typically treated with topical HRT. This is an effective and proven treatment for all symptoms of GSM including tightness, dryness, painful sex, urinary symptoms and of course increased discharge.
Topical HRT comes in the form of vaginal creams, gels and pessaries (vaginal tablets). From here it is absorbed directly into the vagina and surrounding tissues.
Because the hormones stay in and around the vagina, they are not absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that this form of HRT comes without the risks associated with so-called systemic HRT – including pills and patches.
Considering if this might be for you? Read more about the different types of HRT.