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Dr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist
The menopause is the period in a woman’s life when she is going through physical changes that mark the end of her reproductive years. The average age in the UK for this is 51, although the symptoms can begin developing a good few years before periods actually stop, and continue for a long while afterwards. The most common symptoms are well known – your period slowing and stopping, night sweats, hot flushes…. The impact on your vaginal discharge during menopause is not as frequently discussed however, even though it too is going through a period of change.
A decrease in oestrogen levels can lead to a reduction in the production of discharge. This means that many women will suffer with vaginal dryness, You might find that your vagina is less elastic and has a thinner wall, which can be uncomfortable and irritating. If you do still produce some liquid, it may be watery, clear discharge after menopause, which is generally absolutely normal, unless combined with any other unusual symptoms.
Due to the lack of vaginal lubrication, pH levels get disrupted, and you might find you are more susceptible to infections during and after the menopause. Yellow discharge after the menopause may mean that you have developed a bacterial infection, particularly if combined with a strong fishy smell. Unfortunately yeast infections are also more likely, so if you find you have lumpy white discharge after menopause, it is worth seeing a doctor for advice. Pink discharge may appear as your periods slow down but haven’t yet stopped. They can be quite sporadic in the perimenopause (the period leading up to the menopause) so it is a good idea to wear an Always Dailies liner at this stage to stop you getting caught unaware. As they have been dermatologically tested, it is safe to wear one each day.
Because a lot of the problems associated with discharge during menopause and afterwards, are due to a lack of oestrogen, there are some steps you can take that may offer some help.