Symptoms of menopause can include an increase in sweat production, which can lead to changes in body odor. Hot flashes and night sweats have a strong effect, although psychological symptoms such as depression, panic attacks, or anxiety can lead to an increase in the incidence of sweating as well. More sweat leads to changes in body odor.
During menopause, hormones fluctuate and are the leading cause for increased body door. When estrogen levels drop a false message is sent to the hypothalamus telling it that the body is overheated. The hypothalamus then causes an increase in sweat production and changes in body odor.
Tips for helping with body odor during menopause:
Bathe every day, this will remove bacteria from your skin.
Wear looser fitting clothes during menopause and stay away from synthetic fabrics.
Consume less meat, onions,garlic, coffee and alcohol, as these foods can increase body odor.
Try drinking less coffee and eating less spicy food, dress in layers, always have water with you.
Sweating is a big deal during menopause, those hot flashes are fast and furious.
At night try wearing cotton pyjamas and use cotton sheets.
Lastly put your head in a cool freezer !
You are probably thinking “this is great but I need a good deodorant for when I am out and about!”.
At 51 my body is not as sweaty as a couple of years ago, but I still get pretty stinky without a deodorant. I have been using a natural deodorant that I now make and sell. I love my natural deodorant as it has kept me smelling fresh during both peri-menopause and menopause. It is an all natural deodorant without any aluminum, parabens or chemicals.
I like knowing I am using a product that is healthy for me and my pits.
After all armpits have a lot of lymph nodes around them and everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body.
Have a good sense of humour during menopause!
If you’d like to try an all natural deodorant
- Sense of smell & body odour changes during menopause
- Read the full video transcript below
- Changes to your sense of smell
- Changes to your own body odour
- Vaginal changes
- Underarm sweat
- What you can do to reduce under arm odour
- The problem with antiperspirants
- Natural deodorants I recommend…
- Smelly feet
- Vaginal Freshness
- Remember, changes in smell are really common
- Why does it Happen?
- How do I Prevent Body Odor?
- Where Do I Get Help?
- When should I worry?
- OK, it’s not serious, but what can I do about it?
- Menopause Symptoms That May Surprise You
- Vaginal Odor and Menopause
- Molasses to Pennies: All the Smells a Healthy Vagina Can Be
- 1. Tangy or fermented
- 2. Coppery like a penny
- 3. Sweet like molasses
- 4. Chemical like a newly cleaned bathroom
- 5. Skunky like BO or a smoked herbal, earthy scent
- 6. Fishy or that fillet you forgot about
- 7. Rotten like a decaying organism
- When you should see a doctor
- Smells change, and that’s OK
- Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline
- What is normal vaginal discharge?
- What is abnormal vaginal discharge?
- Does discharge change during the menstrual cycle?
- Discharge after menopause
- When to see a doctor
- Not sure what to do next?
- Deodorant or Antiperspirant?
- Is Perimenopause Making You … Smelly?
- Body Odor after Hysterectomy
- HysterSisters Articles for Hysterectomy
- Do you have a question?
- HysterSisters Articles
- Find a Surgeon
- Mysterious body odor after surgery easy to treat
Sense of smell & body odour changes during menopause
Read the full video transcript below
Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I am going to talk about smell and smells.
Now this is little bit of a strange one, but it is really common in the menopause. And there’s two kind of main parts to it. The main reason for this though is that your falling oestrogen is to blame. It’s behind most of the things that go on here.
Changes to your sense of smell
The first thing that can happen is that you can become more aware of smells around you. Your sense of smell can become a lot more acute. Now this can mean that you start to smell things that you never noticed before. You might be walking down the street or in your back garden and suddenly, you can smell the flowers or smell other things in the air.
It can also mean that you start to dislike some smells or they become too strong for you. And it’s amazing how many women actually say, “I can’t stand my perfume anymore. I can’t stand my body creams. I can’t stand the smell of washing powder.” So there can be a point where things that you used to really love and enjoy, are now making you maybe feel a bit nauseous or you just think, “Oh, that’s absolutely horrible.”
Changes to your own body odour
The other thing that can happen is that you can become much more aware of your own body smells, and this can be quite disconcerting because it’s amazing how many women say, “I feel as if I’m smelling all day and it’s really upsetting me and it’s making me feel really uncomfortable because I feel that everyone else is thinking that I smell too.” So that is the first thing.
The second thing that can happen is that some of our body liquids, if you like, can start to smell. So the main change is often in the vaginal area. Now, your estrogen actually triggers the cervix to produce the mucus in the vagina, and as your estrogen levels fall in the menopause, the production of mucus can change, and that change can either cause dryness or for some women it can actually increase the lubrication, and they get really worried because they feel they’re almost like having little mini periods or they’re wetting themselves quite a lot.
The other thing that can happen is that this change in vaginal mucus can change the balance of friendly bacteria in the vagina, and that can then change the smell. So with the vaginal fluids, you might find that the amount changes, you might find the color changes, the smell changes, and the consistency changes as well. Very often, there may be a little bit of an underlying infection because in the menopause we become much more vulnerable to infections such as thrush.
So if your vaginal mucus changes quite quickly, especially if there’s an odor or there’s a real big change in color, it is a good idea just to get this checked out by your doctor. But in most instances, a specific vaginal probiotic usually does the trick, and it’s worth trying that to start with too.
The other main area where we sweat from is under the arms. And this is the one that very often causes us a lot of discomfort and distress because we can be sitting there, quite happily, doing our job, and then think, “Oh, I can smell myself. I can smell my sweat.” Now remember, in the menopause, especially if you’re getting hot flushes or night sweats, you’re going to sweat more anyway, but in the menopause, certain things can happen.
One is that falling estrogen can affect the balance of bacteria on our skin, so that can have an effect on the smells that we produce under our arms. And one of the other interesting facts is that the menopause can stress the liver. The menopause can also slow down our digestive system, so our bowels can become a little bit sluggish or we can end up with constipation. And when these things happen, the body has to find other ways of getting rid of toxins, and one of the places happens to be under the arms.
So if you’re detoxing a bit more under the arms, you are giving those bacteria there an extra feed or two during the day. And that’s the reason why even if you’re using antiperspirants or deodorants, you can start to smell a bit more, a bit quicker, in the day.
What you can do to reduce under arm odour
So, what do you do in this particular instance? If you’re getting a bit more smelly under the arms and you haven’t changed your deodorant or your antiperspirant, if you’re getting bloating, digestive discomfort or even a bit of constipation, you might find that taking something like Milk Thistle Complex for a month or two can make a difference, because by supporting your liver, you can help with detoxification and elimination, and it can make things a bit easier in that way as well.
The important thing here is not to keep washing yourself three or four times a day because that can seriously disrupt the balance of friendly bacteria under the arms, but you might find that you need to use a slightly stronger deodorant.
The problem with antiperspirants
Now, the really important thing here is, the underarms are one of the primary areas where our body sweats in order to maintain our body temperature. So if we’re going through the menopause and we’re getting hot flushes and sweats and you use antiperspirants, you are stopping that area, underarms, from doing the job it’s supposed to do, and that can lead to problems elsewhere.
And it’s quite interesting, in that if you seriously block the underarms, you can end up with smelly feet. So there is a link between the two. So using a nice natural deodorant can very often make a huge amount of difference because you are allowing the underarms to breathe, to sweat properly, and that in turn can very often help to control the level of bacteria under your arms that tend to cause all the different smells.
Natural deodorants I recommend…
If you are looking for a natural deodorant to try I highly recommend the Salt of the Earth range from Crystal Spring, which I use myself. They contain natural minerals which are odour inhibiting and provide long lasting protection.
As well as their popular unscented deodorant spray and classic crystal stick, they also have several scented deodorants, including their Pure Aura deodorants, which are available in two fragrances – Lavender & Vanilla and Melon & Cucumber.
Now, the other thing that can happen here is that, as I mentioned before, sometimes you can just get smelly feet on their own. You might not necessarily have any problems with your underarms.
So it’s important to allow your feet to breathe, and I have talked about this before. It’s important to try and go barefoot at some point during the day, if you can. If you are sweating a lot with your feet, especially if they are smelling a little bit, then again, try the Milk Thistle Complex. Also make sure that you’re not wearing nylon socks or man-made fibers because they will stop your feet from sweating as well.
Oh, and one thing which I forgot. For vaginal freshness, remember to always wear cotton underwear. And again, don’t wash yourself too often. We get ladies who are literally washing themselves every time they’ve been to the toilet. This will really disrupt the friendly bacteria in the vaginal area. So it’s important not to go overboard here.
And I really would not recommend any of the vaginal deodorants that you can get. A lot of them have chemicals in them which might actually make things a lot worse.
Remember, changes in smell are really common
So, just to remind you, the change in sense of smell is really common. You being able to smell your own body functions more, is common. And very often, you might be the only one to smell this. So if you start to find that you’re getting a bit paranoid about smelling, maybe ask your nearest and dearest if they can smell you too, and very often, they’ll say “No,” and in which case you know that it’s just your nose being that little bit more sensitive.
And remember too, as I mentioned before, that sweating is a natural body process and we do need to do it to keep our temperature in balance, which is more than important during the menopause and also to help with detoxification too.
So I hope you find this an interesting one. I mean, I must admit it’s one of my most favorite ones. And I will look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.
Don’t let body odor kill your confidence – you can smell and feel great!
If you haven’t experienced smelling odd for the past years, you may be wondering why your body odor is a bit off at your age now.
Knowing you smell can be uncomfortable, but you are not alone. Everybody experiences body odor at some point in in their lives – even those who think they always smell fresh and fragrant. Women even have their own unique “menopause scents”!
B.O. affects common areas in your body such as the hands and feet, vaginal area and armpits. Your hair can also release a different smell and don’t forget about bad breath. The good news is you can stop the stench and feel like yourself again. Let’s talk about everything body odor in this article!
If you want to get specific information about body odor, you can directly go to the section of your choice. Follow the guides below:
Why does it happen?
How do I prevent body odor?
Where do I get help?
Why does it Happen?
When we think of body odor, we usually consider perspiration as the root cause. In reality, sweat doesn’t have any odor. However, natural body changes and environmental factors may affect sweat characteristics which causes odor.
During menopause, hormonal changes affects how the body digests food. Menopausal women tend to have difficulty when it comes to metabolizing some food. Examples are egg, onion and garlic. If this happens, your body will smell much like what you just had for dinner.
The drop in estrogen levels can also be the culprit of this condition. Estrogen helps the brain with temperature control. However, during menopause the brain perceives the hormonal change as an increase in body temperature. The brain then tries to lower body temperature by sweating. Sweat itself is odorless. However, when sweat dissolves the bacteria or dirt in your pores and skin this causes body odor to occur.
Another cause of body odor is increased sugar consumption. The bacteria and fungi that often cause odor feed on sugar. If you have very high sugar levels in your body, you are prone to that stinky smell. Smoking will cause body odor* as well. The toxins that you inhale with it may also cause changes in the body.
Body odor associated with perspiration affects many of us. But there are plenty of remedies to prevent it. You can arm yourself with the right knowledge, tips and tricks to maintain your natural fragrance.
How do I Prevent Body Odor?
Empower yourself to treat your menopausal symptoms, because you certainly can! Avoid having that icky feeling and smell great with the following tips:
You want to follow a normal diet, but you also need to minimize some food choices.
- Fill your meals with oyster, crab, shrimp and fish. You may want to choose white meat over red meat. Red meat actually contributes to odorous sweat.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Food items like mint, parsley and lemons usually help promote good smell.
- Eat food with healthy fiber content. Feed your body with more broccoli, spinach, cabbage and lettuce. You may also consume wheat grass. It is known to be a natural deodorant because of its rich chlorophyll content.
- Reduce your consumption of spices, coffee and alcohol. These things usually cause odor.
Drink lots of water. Water helps in flushing the toxins out and cleanses your body. It also helps keep you cooler and prevent excessive sweating.
Aside froom keeping you hydrated, water makes you feel better by reducing hot flashes and night sweats. These symptoms usually arise with other changes during menopause. It is good to drink at least eight glasses of water daily, as professionals suggests.
Say No to Smoking
Smoking does add a different tinge to your body’s smell. Smoke is an environmental factor, and its smell can stick to your skin, mix with sweat and cause odor. Even if you don’t smoke, you may want to avoid second-hand smoke. Don’t stay in areas where smokers dwell.
Maintain Good Hygiene
We may be stating the obvious here, but it’s good reminder that keeping yourself neat and clean is important. Showering before you sleep is recommended to prevent night sweats. However, if night sweats are bothering you, it is also good to take a shower in the morning. You want to get rid of the bacteria mixed with your sweat as you slept the night before.
When bathing or taking a shower, concentrate on areas that may become odorous. Use mild soap and water. When brushing your teeth, make sure to also brush your tongue!
Gear Up Right
Choosing the right clothes will not only make you look good but also smell good! That’s right. Always wear clean clothes, and choose ones that are loose. They don’t have to be baggy. To avoid body odor, you want to wear something that is not too tight. Your clothes should allow you and your skin to breathe. Clothing made of cotton is a good option during menopause.
Make sure that you feel relaxed most of the time. Find ways to be stress-free! This will help avoid excessive sweating. Sweat may cause bacteria to form, which in turn causes you to smell bad. So stay calm and smell good!
Keep Your Body Cool!
You can use the following items to keep you cool wherever you go! You can also choose to use the right type of bed sheets to keep your body cool. Choose bed linens that are made of cotton material, which makes it easy for your skin to breathe.
Smell Great with Good Supplements
Phytoestrogenic food and supplements may also help. You can check out a list of phytoestrogenic herbs from this website! Experts suggest taking zinc and magnesium supplements to revive your natural smell. Some reputable labels for these supplements include the following:
Alternative Choices for Smelling Good!
- Alternative treatments including aromatherapy and acupuncture may also help. A simple yoga technique may keep your mind and body calm and avoid excessive sweating.
- Relax with a detoxifying bath using Epsoak Epsom Salt, Pure Dead Sea Bath Salts or Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes! These items will help you calm down and flush out toxins from your body.
Where Do I Get Help?
Not all parts of your body may smell a little bit off. Some woman may experience regional odor, so you can treat them separately. Here are some tips to help you manage your smelly armpits, feet, breath, hair, and groin.
Fight Off Smelly Armpits!
- Sage Tea – brew some organic sage tea and apply it to the underarms. The antibacterial property of sage will fight off the bacteria that may cause odor in the armpits. Sage teas like Sage Tea, Organic and Sage Leaf Tea are generally effective.
- Use Organic Deodorants – Green Tidings All Natural Deodorant Lavenderand Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant – Lavender + Sage will keep you smelling fresh all day!
- Wash your armpits and rub with a soft washcloth to remove any residue from your deodorant. Brooklyn Bamboo has very soft, organic baby washcloths that you can also use as an armpit scrub.
Say Goodbye to Stinky Feet
- Avoid wearing nylon socks, because they contribute to odor. Choose cotton socks or those that are made with natural fiber. Socks like Flora & Fred Organic and HUE Women’s cotton shoe liner are actually good.
- You can keep your feet dry by soaking them in strong black tea. Strong tea can kill bacteria, and it also helps in keeping pores closed to maintain dryness.
- Talcum powder and baking soda are also excellent resources in maintaining dry feet. Just sprinkle the powder on your feet, especially the soles and between toes.
- Dry your feet thoroughly before wearing socks and shoes. Avoid wearing plastic shoes. They often trap moisture and don’t allow your feet to breathe.
- Wear different shoes alternately. That pair of shoes that you wore today, allow them to fully dry before you wear them again. Choose a different pair tomorrow while the other pair is drying.
- Wash your feet with Sea Salt Soap.
Freshen Up your Breath
- Make it a habit to brush and floss your teeth. Experts recommend using organic toothpaste like Redmon´s Earthpaste Natural Organic Tooth paste . Some organic floss, like RADIUS Natural Silk Floss and Tom’s of Maine Flat Floss , are also good.
- Use mouthwash, but choose alcohol-free products. Mouthwashes like TheraBreath Oral Rinse and Nature’s Answer Alcohol-Free Mouthwash are actually highly recommended by experts.
- When brushing, include the tongue and the walls of your mouth. Once finished brushing, you can swish some alcohol-free mouthwash to cleanse the mouth and help remove sediment.
Flip Your Hair ‘Coz It Smells Good’
- Use gentle hair products. As much as possible, you want something that’s organic or raw like products from Morocco Method*. Synthetic chemicals may harm your scalp and hair, and the results may be unfavorable.
- Shampoo your hair well. Choose shampoos that have tea tree oil, as it helps in retaining a pleasant smell to your hair and scalp. Check out Maple Holistics Natural Hair Treatment.
- You can find your hair’s best friend in Aloe Vera! You can purchase a fresh aloe vera plant and remove the gel. You can then apply it directly to your washed hair and rinse after 15 minutes. Or mix a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of aloe vera to your favorite shampoo. Apply it well to wet hair and rinse. You can check out Insta Natural and Earth’s Daughter for natural aloe vera gels.
- Apple cider vinegar can be great too! It removes built-up dirt from your hair and makes your hair shiny as well. You can use just half a cup of the apple cider vinegar and mix it with two cups of water. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Use the mixture as a spray and leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Organic apple cider vinegar, such Bragg´s is a good option.
Smell Good Everywhere!
Vaginal odor is a problem that many women experience but feel shy addressing. We understand you! See if some of the tips below will work for you. Smell fresh and clean and feel more confident all day long!
- Stuff your food list with probiotics! Good bacteria help regulate your vaginal health! The good bacteria in probiotics help you to have normal pH levels and keep you smelling fresh down there!
- Apple cider vinegar (again) can play as your hero too! This vinegar can help normalize your vaginal flora and get rid of infection-causing bacteria. Pour a cup or two of apple cider vinegar into your bath water, and rinse with it as well.
- Remember to wipe from the front to the back. When you go to the bathroom and wash, wipe from your urethra, to the vagina and finally to the anus. This method allows you to wipe from the cleanest to the dirtiest regions and avoid infection and pooling of bacteria.
- You can use natural or organic vaginal emollients and soaps as well. Check out a great post about this topic on this website!
- Get a V-steam*! This is a good method to treat vaginal issues in general. A V-steam basically helps you detoxify your vagina and your body in general. The process involves sitting on a steam chair that brings medicated steam to your vaginal area. The steaming liquid below the chair has an infusion of different herbs including basil, rosemary and mugwort.
Of course, it is good to remember that what works for me may not work well for you. That’s why there are so many options that you can choose from, to see which ones work best for you. In general, you only need to pay attention to your own unique lifestyle, and everything else will work out. In severe cases where body odor is accompanied by profuse sweating that seems uncontrollable, you may need to see a doctor.
Are you also bothered with body odor? What did you do to get rid of it?
If you enjoyed this article, please share it!
*) REFERENCE LIST:
cause body odor – www.health911.com
Morocco Method – www.morroccomethod.com
V-steam – natural-fertility-info.com
vaginal steaming – www.medicaldaily.com
Coming in at #19 on the list of “Weird stuff that happens at menopause” is….changes in sweating and body odor!
Honestly, who knew hormones dictate so much of what goes on in our bodies?! But they do, from mood to heart health to metabolism to body odor.
If you’re at or approaching menopause, you may have noticed your body smells differently. Of course, this can be hard to know for sure as menopause and sense of smell/taste can be a complicated relationship, but for many women it is a reality. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as with all changes, you should be aware of what’s happening, what you can do about it, and whether or not to be concerned.*
There are a couple of explanations for changes or increases in body odor: first, dips in estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, meaning you simply sweat more, which in turn can result in more odor. Hormone imbalance and body odor often go together.
Second, sweat caused by anxiety or stress is produced differently than sweat from exercise. Anxiety sweat is formed in the apocrine glands and is a sort of fatty sweat (ew) that bacteria love to lounge in. Growth of this bacteria causes a different and often more pronounced odor. And since menopause can cause a rise in anxiety, voilà!
When should I worry?
A change in body odor during the years around menopause is normal. But it’s true that changes in your natural scent can also be caused by more serious issues.
Graves’ disease, unfortunately, mimics a lot of what women experience in menopause, which can result in a misdiagnosis. In addition to increased sweating, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, sleeping problems, irregular periods and irregular heartbeat are common to both. Graves’ sufferers can also experience enlarged thyroid, bulging eyes, and vision problems. If you think your sweating indicates you’re at risk of Graves’, for sure get ye to a doctor and get checked.
Diabetes. Excessive sweating can be an indicator of diabetes. Diabetes can cause body odor to have a fruity smell, so if you notice that change, definitely see a doctor.
There are other causes that can underlie excessive sweating and changes in body odor, so if increased sweating and odor are interfering with your life, of course, don’t hesitate to see a doctor to get treatment and to rule out more serious concerns.
OK, it’s not serious, but what can I do about it?
For many women, it may not be necessary to do anything at all, but if your scent or sweating are making you uncomfortable, there are things you can do:
- Lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are nearly always our first line of defense, since they tend to be the least invasive. And what benefits one menopause symptom tends to benefit your body in general!
- Rethink your diet. Shift your diet to include foods rich in zinc and magnesium (oysters, shellfish, broccoli, pecans, cashews, tofu). Consumer Health Digest also recommends adding wheat grass, as the chlorophyll-rich food is “nature’s natural deodorant.” Eliminate or reduce red meat, white flour, sugars, caffeine, and deep-fried foods to reduce toxins that can contribute to odor.
- Reduce stress. Yeah, we can never type this with a straight face either, but if you can lessen stress, obviously you’ll sweat less and you’ll produce less of the anxiety sweat that’s stronger in odor. Meditation and yoga are great ways to quiet the mind, and an easy walk in a natural setting can ease anxiety.
- Be prepared. Being anxious about being anxious seems counterproductive; being prepared is better. If you tend to sweat a lot from hot flashes or you’re just more aware of your body’s odor, carry some wipes like our Cleansing Cloths to refresh and reduce body odor whenever you feel you need it. Just be sure any wash you use is gentle enough for frequent application, particularly if you’re using it on your intimate area.
- Supplements. Adding specific supplements has helped many women control body odor better. Some women report managing menopause symptoms with phytoestrogens such as black cohosh, dong quai and soy, but do be careful with these as they can interfere and interact with other medications. There are other, non-estrogenic supplements as well, such as Macafem, that may help reduce body odor. As always, talk to your doctor before introducing new treatments!
- Medical interventions. Somewhat more dramatic routes require treatment by medical professionals. You can get prescription-strength deodorants which contain more aluminum chloride. There’s also Botox (yup), which can paralyze sweat glands and reduce excessive sweating, but this requires repeat treatment in a few months.
The good news is, if the cause is menopause, increased body odor and sweating generally subside over time.
Your turn! Have you noticed a change or increase in sweating and body odor as you approach menopause? What did you do/are you doing to handle these symptoms? Your sisters want you to share, so leave us some knowledge in the comments here or on Facebook or Twitter!
*The information in this blog is not intended to replace the expert advice of a medical professional. If you’re concerned your symptoms might be serious, stop reading this, for crying out loud, and go see a doctor.
Menopause Symptoms That May Surprise You
Most women experience some physical or emotional symptoms when they reach menopause, which is typically in their early fifties, though it can occur at any age between 35 and 59. Hot flashes are the most common of these symptoms — at least two-thirds of women going through menopause experience them — but there are many other uncomfortable signs to watch for, too.
For example, the most noticeable signs and symptoms at menopause include:
- Body odor
- Breast tenderness
- Burning mouth syndrome
- Dry mouth and dental problems
- Dry skin
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Inability to concentrate
- Irregular periods
- Loss of breast fullness
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Skipped periods
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Vaginal dryness and itching
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
Menopause symptoms, including missing or late periods, are different for every woman. Most women tell of having irregular periods before they stop menstruating altogether.
While almost all women at menopause will complain about hot flashes or menopause itching, many do not notice more serious menopause symptoms that can increase the risk of heart disease and require a doctor’s attention, including increases in:
- Blood pressure
- Blood-clotting proteins
- Glucose intolerance
- LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Total cholesterol
According to the Mayo Clinic, menopause is diagnosed after your body goes 12 months without a period. While menopause can happen in your late 30s, 40s or 50s, the average age is around 51.
After menopause, it is important to get regular physical exams and checkups with your physician, because a woman’s risk of certain more serious health conditions may escalate with the loss or decline of estrogen, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases (heart and blood vessel)
- Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
- Sexual dysfunction (vaginal dryness and low libido)
- Urinary incontinence (menopausal vaginal and urinary tract changes)
- Weight gain (slower metabolism and inactivity)
Many women relied on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in the past to manage menopause symptoms like hot flashes; however, doctors hesitate to prescribe HRT today. Many scientific studies link HRT to the increased risk of chronic diseases, including cancer. Now many women at menopause take prescription drugs or use different self-care strategies to manage uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Alternative and complementary therapies such as acupuncture
- Exercise regimens like yoga and low-impact aerobics
- Herbal preparations like black cohosh
- Lifestyle modifications (smoking cessation, improving sleep)
- Phytoestrogens (plant-derived chemicals such as soy that have estrogenic action)
- Over-the-counter preparations
- Relaxation techniques like meditation
If you are wondering what unusual menopause symptoms you may experience at this time of life, read on.
Vaginal Odor and Menopause
Most women entering midlife today expect to feel some physical changes associated with menopause. Almost every woman has heard about the dreaded hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Few women, however, are expecting to experience physical changes in the vagina.
When puberty begins and the ovary starts producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, menstrual cycles appear, and young women are forced, ready or not, to give some attention to their vagina. The majority of women that I have cared for in my thirty years of clinical practice (including myself) would much prefer to ignore this process. However, we all come to realize it is part of who we are.
As we mature, we begin to appreciate the many benefits of our vagina. It is not just a portal for menstrual cycles; it is the doorway to our fertility and sexual pleasure. It appears to work perfectly with little help from us. This is a good thing. We like that we don’t need to fuss over it.
Fast forward thirty five to forty years and now the ovaries are no longer producing the same amount of estrogen, our fertility has ended (which for most is accepted) but we notice that the vagina “feels” very different. At times it feels dry. We may also notice there is a different scent coming from the vagina. Vaginal secretions have lessened, but now many of us experience leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or trying to keep up with our friends in fitness classes. This is called urinary incontinence and is more prevalent than we once thought. Leakage of urine during menopause can cause an unwanted vaginal odor. In addition, a change of pH in the vagina, caused from fluctuating hormones, can also contribute to a vaginal odor.
When this happens we feel betrayed that fresh feeling has gone. We no longer feel like our self, the woman we have come to know. “What’s happening?” “Why now?” And “I can deal with the hot flashes but please don’t make me give up my sexuality”. These are all feelings you may have.
Don’t despair! In most cases, vaginal odor can be attributed to urine leakage or a change in the vaginal pH. A trip to your doctor is necessary if the odor is consistent, causing any vaginal discomfort, or is becoming worse. Soon you will realize, menopause or not , that you don’t have to give up any part of the woman you have come to love!
Molasses to Pennies: All the Smells a Healthy Vagina Can Be
Yeah, we’ve seen those scented tampons ads too. And it seems to us like all that flowery sunshine is another example of the world getting vaginas all wrong.
Just take a quick trip to your local drugstore. You’ll find a wall full of products promising to mask the natural way your vagina smells. Like douching. Widely acknowledged by the medical community as harmful to the natural balance of vaginal flora, this common tool that cleans the vagina might actually cause bacterial vaginosis instead.
Last year, the internet even suggested using Vicks VapoRub as a DIY treatment for vaginal scents.
The truth is, your vagina is home to billions of bacteria. And the precise makeup of this bacteria changes on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis.
Change is normal. These smell variations are likely a result of your menstrual cycle, your hygiene habits, or just you being you.
Plus, considering the groin contains a collection of sweat glands, is it really a wonder that your vagina isn’t odorless?
We called up Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, who has over 30 years of experience working in women’s health. She helped us get down to specifics with all the medical accuracy but less of the medical jargon.
Here is your medically accurate guide to vaginal odors.
1. Tangy or fermented
It’s very common for vaginas to produce a tangy or sour aroma. Some compare it to the smell of fermented foods. In fact, yogurt, sourdough bread, and even some sour beer contain the same type of good bacteria that dominate most healthy vaginas: Lactobacilli.
If it smells curiously similar to that sour IPA you had last weekend, don’t freak out.
Reasons for a tangy odor
- Acidity. The pH of a healthy vagina is slightly acidic, between 3.8 and 4.5. “The Lactobacilli bacteria keep the vagina acidic,” says Minkin. “This protects against an overgrowth of the bad kinds of bacteria.”
2. Coppery like a penny
Many people report smelling a coppery, metallic vaginal odor. This is usually nothing to worry about. Rarely, it signifies a more serious problem.
Reasons for a coppery odor
- Blood. Blood contains iron, which has a metallic smell. The most common reason for blood is menstruation. During your period, blood and tissue shed from your uterine lining and travel through your vaginal canal.
- Sex. Light bleeding after sex can be common. This is usually due to vaginal dryness or vigorous sex that can cause small cuts or scrapes. To prevent this, try using lube.
A coppery smell can also be due to less common, but serious, causes of vaginal bleeding. The metallic scent shouldn’t linger too long after your period is over. If your vagina has had contact with semen, this may change the pH level and cause a metallic smell.
If you’re experiencing bleeding unrelated to your period or the metallic smell continues with itching and discharge, it’s best to see a doctor.
3. Sweet like molasses
When we say sweet we don’t mean freshly baked cookies sweet. We mean robust and earthy. But don’t fret, a sweetish tinge is no cause for concern.
Reasons for a sweet odor
- Bacteria. Yep, bacteria again. Your vaginal pH is an ever-changing bacterial ecosystem. And sometimes this means you might smell a little sweet.
4. Chemical like a newly cleaned bathroom
An odor similar to bleach or ammonia could be a couple different things. Sometimes, this odor is reason to see a doctor.
Reasons for a chemical odor
- Urine. Urine contains a byproduct of ammonia called urea. A buildup of urine in your underwear or around your vulva could put off a chemical smell. Keep in mind, urine smelling strongly of ammonia is a sign of dehydration.
- Bacterial vaginosis. It’s also possible a chemical-like smell is a sign of bacterial vaginosis. “A chemical smell often falls under the category of fishy,” says Minkin.
Bacterial vaginosis is a very common infection. Symptoms include:
- a foul or fishy odor
- thin gray, white, or green discharge
- vaginal itching
- burning during urination
5. Skunky like BO or a smoked herbal, earthy scent
No, it’s not just you. Many people find a similarity between body odor and marijuana. Sadly, there isn’t a good scientific answer for this, although Vice did take a stab at it. But thanks to the sweat glands down there, at least we do know why vaginas and body odor can smell so similar.
Reasons for a skunky odor
- Emotional stress. Your body contains two types of sweat glands, apocrine and eccrine. The eccrine glands produce sweat to cool your body down and the apocrine glands respond to your emotions. These apocrine glands populate your armpits and, you guessed it, your groin.
When you are stressed or anxious, the apocrine glands produce a milky fluid. On its own this fluid is odorless. But when this fluid contacts the abundance of vaginal bacteria on your vulva, it can produce a pungent aroma.
6. Fishy or that fillet you forgot about
You’ve probably heard an abnormal vaginal odor described as fishy. In fact, fresh fish shouldn’t smell like much at all. Decomposing fish is the more apt comparison. Why? Trimethylamine, which is the chemical compound responsible for both the distinct aroma of rotting fish and some abnormal vaginal odors.
Reasons for a dead fish odor
- Bacterial vaginosis. “You get bacterial vaginosis when there’s an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina,” says Minkin. “And these anaerobic organisms are odorous.”
- Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable sexually transmitted infection and easily treatable with a course of antibiotics. It’s known for its pungent fishy odor. “The trichomoniasis infection can be quite smelly,” says Minkin. “It’s a more pronounced fishy odor than bacterial vaginosis.”
In rare cases, a fishy smell is indication of a more serious condition.
7. Rotten like a decaying organism
A rotten odor that makes your nose wince and your face contort is definitely not the norm. If the smell is putrid, like a dead organism, it may not be your vagina but something in your vagina.
Reasons for a rotten odor
- A forgotten tampon. Inadvertently letting a tampon go days, even weeks, inside a vagina is much more common than you’d think. “I can’t tell you how many tampons I’ve taken out of patients,” says Minkin. “This happens to lots and lots of people. It isn’t something you need to be embarrassed about.”
Fortunately, Minkin says it’s perfectly safe to remove a forgotten tampon on your own.
When you should see a doctor
In general, abnormal odors should be easy to spot. They’re the ones that make your face scrunch up. Rotting fish, dead organism, decay — these are all red flag odors.
If there’s a serious cause, often other symptoms will appear alongside the smell.
See your doctor if an odor is accompanied with:
- itching or burning
- pain during sex
- thick, cottage cheese discharge
- vaginal bleeding unrelated to your period
Smells change, and that’s OK
Subtle shifts in your vaginal fragrance is normal. Remember, the way your vagina smells has everything to do with its pH. And there are lots of things that affect your pH.
Take penile vaginal sex, for instance. Semen has a relatively high pH, so it’s super normal to notice a different kind of smell after you’ve had penile vaginal sex. Don’t worry though, this change is only temporary.
Menopause also has an effect on vaginal pH. “Due to a lack of estrogen, women in menopause end up with less vaginal mucosa,” says Minkin. “Vaginal mucosa lines the vagina and nurtures the Lactobacilli bacteria. So, without these cells you can end up with a much higher pH.”
Our advice? Don’t be afraid to really get to know your vagina, in all its fragrant glory. The better you understand the smells your vagina produces day to day, the more prepared you’ll be when something goes amiss. After all, vaginas do so many wonderful things for us. It’s about time we start understanding what they’re really all about.
Ginger Wojcik is an assistant editor at Greatist. Follow more of her work on Medium or follow her on Twitter.
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Normal vaginal discharge is mainly a combination of dead cells and vaginal bacteria. Normal discharge will change in appearance throughout your cycle.
What is normal vaginal discharge?
Typical vaginal discharge does not have an offensive smell and does not cause any irritation. It’s quite likely that you won’t even know you have any discharge until you see some in your underwear.
It is usually clear or creamy in colour. Sometimes there may be a slight yellow tint to it.
Discharge also increases during pregnancy and when you’re sexually aroused.
What is abnormal vaginal discharge?
Unusual discharge is often a sign of infection or inflammation, such as thrush or vaginosis. Vaginal discharge is abnormal if it:
- is thick and white, like cottage cheese
- smells fishy
- is greenish and smells very bad
- is pink or brown
- is irritating or causes your vaginal area to itch
Does discharge change during the menstrual cycle?
Vaginal discharge changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Everyone will experience different amounts of discharge.
In the first week after your period, a discharge is not usually present. If there is some discharge, it will probably be quite thick.
In the middle of your cycle, discharge is normally thin and clear. It may look slightly yellow or brownish if it has been in your underwear for a length of time.
Discharge after menopause
The vagina tends to lose its moisture after the menopause due to lower oestrogen levels. You will still produce small amounts of discharge after menopause.
However, if you are experiencing yellow-white discharge, it is possible you have an infection. Infection after menopause is common, as the vagina doesn’t produce as much anti-bacterial mucus.
When to see a doctor
If you are concerned about your vaginal discharge please consult your doctor.
Also, see your doctor if notice any related symptoms such as genital sores or ulcers, or if you start having pain in your abdomen or sex becomes painful. Abnormal discharge can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection, so it’s best to have it checked out.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your vaginal discharge, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Body odor occurs when sweat is exuded, and bacteria naturally becomes present and thrives in the sweat; it is this bacteria which causes an unpleasant smell. Considering this, one of the best methods of combating the problem is to address the sweat itself – this is where deodorantstackling body odor come in. There is an ever-increasing array of different deodorants available to consumers, but some of them are more suitable than others when it comes to tackling body odor
Deodorant or Antiperspirant?
Many of us use the words ‘deodorant’ and ‘antiperspirant’ interchangeably, but these are actually considerably different. While deodorants can provide strong scents, these will only mask the smell which is naturally emitted by the body. It is in fact antiperspirants which are successful for treating sweat, because these contain aluminum chloride – a chemical which works to limit the production of sweat. Read on to find out about some of the most popular.
Maxim prescription strength antiperspirant & deodorant
This is available in many pharmacies or online, and contains 15% of the active ingredient aluminum chloride. It is a roll-on solution, one bottle of which is thought to last between two and three months depending on usage.
Perspi-guard maximum strength antiperspirant
This is available as a spray, roll-on, wipes, and a body wash. It is available online and in many high street retailers. It is designed to be applied just once or twice a week before bed, before showering in the morning, and should not be used in conjunction with any other deodorant.
Driclor antiperspirant roll-on
More commonly available in Europe, Driclor can be harder to find in the Unites States aside from online. It contains 20% aluminum chloride, and so might be more irritant to those with sensitive skin. It is thought to stop sweating by creating a gel substance in the sweat glands thereby blocking them.
Certain dri prescription strength clinical
Containing 12% aluminum chloride, this antiperspirant is available as a roll on, for application to completely dry underarms before bed. It works by blocking the sweat glands, and the effects will last for the duration of the day.
Sweatblock antiperspirant towelettes
These are a less conventional, but nonetheless very popular form of deodorant for combating sweat. One pack comes with eight wipes, each soaked with an antiperspirant solution containing 14% aluminum chloride. The effects of application of one wipe to the desired area is said to last for one week on average. It can be used in conjunction with other deodorants.
These are just five of the best deodorants for women’s body odor, which can be bought over-the-counter or online. If they are not sufficient for your personal condition, it might be necessary to visit your doctor with a view to gaining a prescription for stronger, medicated deodorant.
Is Perimenopause Making You … Smelly?
People sometimes describe perimenopause, the period in which your body’s estrogen production gradually slows to a standstill, as “puberty in reverse.” Indeed, many of the symptoms — mood swings, acne breakouts, hairs popping up in weird places — can make you feel like you’re reliving your middle school years. And there’s one more delightful puberty symptom that can come roaring back in your 40s: intense BO.
That’s right, perimenopause could be making you smellier.
In large part, the odor is thanks to all the extra sweating you’re probably doing. “During perimenopause, your internal temperature control starts going kerflooey,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine and the founder of madameovary.com, an informational website about menopause and other reproductive topics. “It’s not just the hot flashes. Perimenopausal women tend to sweat more in general.”
Then there’s what’s happening below-the-belt. Estrogen is what keeps your skin moist and plump. When the hormone starts drying up, so does your skin — and we’re not just talking about crepey folds near your eyes or sandpaper hands.
“While hot flashes tend to ease up over time, vaginal dryness gets worse,” says Minkin. “At the same time, the cells that line the vagina lose glycogen, which is basically what feeds the good bacteria you need for a healthy vaginal pH.”
As your vaginal pH rises, you can end up with an overgrowth of nasty bacteria, leaving the door open for infections like bacterial vaginosis — infections that often come with a telltale odor. If you’re also experiencing bladder leakage (ever have a little bit of pee that comes out when you sneeze?), that only compounds the problem.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s time to start stockpiling Febreze and Chanel No. 5. If you feel you’ve become a bit more, er, pungent recently, there are things you can do to help clear the air.
As a first line of defense, Minkin suggests switching to a stronger antiperspirant and browsing the drugstore aisle for topical vaginal moisturizers (like Replens or Syren) and pH balancers (like RepHresh or Summer’s Eve). Still, she notes that over-the-counter treatments don’t always do the trick. Need something stronger to ban BO? Talk to your doctor about a prescription remedy.
“There are vaginal estrogens in many forms — suppositories, creams, rings — that can help ease symptoms related to vaginal dryness, including odor, itching or painful sex,” says Minkin.
If your doctor says you’re not a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, there are two other prescription products that could help keep things moist and fight the funk. A suppository called Intrarosa (prasterone) delivers a synthetic form of a different hormone called DHEA, which then gets converted into estrogen and testosterone by cells in your vaginal lining. Or your doctor might recommend an oral medication called Osphena (ospemifene), which acts like estrogen in certain parts of the body, including the vagina, where it can restore moisture and rebalance your pH.
The good news: all the night sweats, hot flashes and increased body odor will generally simmer down over time. In the stinky meantime, there’s always a relaxing bath and Chanel No. 5, right?
Today we’ll be covering the lovely topic of body odour. I suppose with all the temperature changes, hot flushes, night sweats etc we experience during the menopause, it’s no surprise that body odour can quickly become an issue. We tend to sweat more during the menopause as the lack of oestrogen can mess with the heat receptors in our brains, making us think it’s boiling even when it’s freezing out. The hotter our body feels, the more sweat gets produced, which can of course start to smell. This means we have to be prepared. I would recommend in our bags we all start carrying around deodorant sticks, some perfume or even a fan to stop us from sweating so much throughout the day. My personal preference for deodorants are ones without aluminium, such as Salt of the Earth or Dr. Hauschka. As many of you may know I’m a big advocate for the environment and more natural products for our lovely bodies. Another tip could also be to shave under your arms more, as the more hair you have means the more bacteria can accumulate leading to those foul smells developing faster. Lastly I would recommend wearing some nice breathable clothing to minimise sweating throughout the day.
Body Odor after Hysterectomy
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From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List
Since my hysterectomy, my body odor is much stronger. Is this normal?
Many HysterSisters have reported a change in body odor following their hysterectomy. Though medical information on the topic is scarce, here is what some HysterSisters have had to say about it:
“I’ve developed a body odor problem now that I’ve had a hysterectomy. I had a TAH/BSO and now deodorant doesn’t work anymore.”
“Before surgery, I rarely sweated and never had an odor. Since surgery, I have to use deodorant!”
“I thought I was the only one. My underarm odor has been so bad.”
“Previously, I would sweat a little but no smell. Now, I am sweating more and I can hardly stand my own smell when I am done working out.”
“I never had to use deodorant before my hysterectomy. Even though I kept my ovaries, I have noticed a body odor since my hysterectomy that requires me to faithfully use a deodorant.”
Emotional distress and stress can cause more perspiration. As surgery can be a traumatic event, you can expect to deal with more stress following a hysterectomy. The more you sweat, the more chance for body odor. The odor results from your skin’s bacteria metabolizing your sweat.
Other thoughts regarding the change in body odor involve a change in PH balance due to surgery. The skin can also undergo changes which could affect its bacteria and response to sweating. Medications and over-the-counter products may also affect body odor, so pay attention to any changes you have made regarding medicines, supplements, and vitamins since your surgery. Hot flashes and night sweats as a result of hormonal imbalance, sugar imbalance, and/or anesthesia could contribute to more sweating and, thus, more body odor.
Some doctors have suggested the issue is related to a change in hormones or which hormone replacement therapy (HRT) you choose. Some HysterSisters have noticed that as their hormones level out (whether naturally or with HRT), the odor does diminish.
The HysterSisters have found a few products to help with the odor:
- Pro Strength Secret
- Men’s Gillette deodorant
- Degree deodorant products
- Arm & Hammer antiperspirants and deodorants
- Mitchum deodorant
Others recommend products that include both an antiperspirant and deodorant, clinical strength deodorants, and body sprays. Some also suggest applying deodorizing products at bedtime and then again in the morning. Using feminine wipes or baby wipes to clean sweaty areas has been beneficial, too.
Because some serious health concerns can cause body odor, check with your doctor about any change in body odor. If there is an underlying health condition, it needs to be treated by a medical professional. Your physician may also be able to share product suggestions that may help address the body odor issue.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
04-12-2013 – 01:07 AM
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Mysterious body odor after surgery easy to treat
Dear Dr. Roach: I have a problem that you might not have heard about. I had shoulder surgery on my left shoulder two years ago and developed strong body odor on that side. A year later, I had surgery on my right shoulder and developed body odor on that side. I never had strong body odor before. I did an online search for this problem and found out that it’s not that uncommon. One article suggested not to use bar soap but to use shampoo instead. I tried this, and now I’m body odor free. What do you think about this? — B.C.
Answer: I have two thoughts about this, but I’m not sure either of them is right. The first is that after surgery, you are likely in a sling or, at the very least, less able to move your shoulder. You also may be bandaged. I suspect that has changed the bacteria that live on your skin, which is what causes body odor (sweat itself has an inoffensive odor in absence of bacteria).
The second possibility is that you may have had a nerve block at the time of the surgery. This can change the way you sweat, which in turn can lead to changes in your body’s normal flora (meaning the bacteria and yeast that live on healthy skin).
In either event, the goal is to get rid of the bad bacteria. Soap and shampoo have different abilities to kill bacteria. I sometimes recommend a topical antibacterial, chlorhexidine (sold as Hibiclens and other brands), which is very effective at reducing bacteria counts.
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“Do I stink?”
This thought goes through my head at least 10 times a day.
My menopausal boob sweat is making me paranoid. I know, that sounds gross, right? It kind of is.
If you haven’t begin to experience the fun of menopause or perimenopause, well … I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it kind of stinks. Literally stinks.
I’m 49 and I’ve been in the throes of full-on menopause for over a year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show signs of letting up, although I keep hoping and watching my body for signs that we’re almost done with this sideshow. I’m hot and not in a good way. I have hot flashes, night sweats, and day sweats. If we could find a way to channel the heat emitting from my body, we could save a ton on energy bills. I’m not just talking about my house, now. I’m pretty sure my crazy body temperatures could heat all the houses on my street this winter.
But the boob sweat is the very worst. Chesty girls know what I’m talking about … those telltale spots of sweat that appear at the top of your ribcage, usually during summer when everyone is hot. As a D-cup, boob sweat has been something I’ve dealt with all my life. It is what it is. My boobalicious sisters out there know that it’s just part of life that a well-endowed girl has to get used to.
But menopausal boob sweat is different. It smells really bad and it’s driving me crazy. I have this spot between my boobs that sweat collects in and it reeks. Really bad. I’m super paranoid that other people are going to catch a whiff of me and think I’m some kind of gross person who doesn’t bathe.
This wasn’t something I had to worry about when I was younger. I showered. I put on deodorant. I left the house. I did things. I didn’t worry about how I smelled or if I stunk. I certainly didn’t make periodic swipes down my blouse and sniff my fingers to see if that boob sweat odor was present. No one caught me pulling the neckline of my tee shirt up over my nose so I could get a really good whiff, but those self-checks are part of my everyday reality now.
I’m constantly sniffing and worrying about the B.O. that typically shows up by noon each day, regardless of whether I’ve overexerted myself or not. I carry perfumed body spray around with me. I have spares in every purse, in my car, and in my desk drawer. Sometimes I take more than one shower a day. Sometimes I take more than two.
I get nervous when I get too close to people. When I’m standing in line at the grocery store, I worry that other people can smell me. I imagine the person in line behind me is wrinkling their nose and whispering about me. I envision Facebook status updates like “OMG this line is sooo long and the old lady in front of me is a Stinky McStinkerton.”
People have started to notice my compulsive sniffing. I’ve been busted a few times. I’ve gotten weird looks from total strangers while trying to stealthily sniff down my shirt. I have no idea what people are thinking when they see me in the produce aisle trying to bend my body in half so I can stick my nose between my boobs. I can’t imagine what I would think if I saw someone else doing that. Actually, I can imagine. I’d think they were nuts.
Hopefully, my hot flash sizzling will simmer down. My doctor tells me that my internal thermometer will return to normal when my hormones stabilize … whatever that even means. There were a lot of things I expected from menopause but being constantly worried about that old lady sweaty smell was not one of them.
I’m gonna keep on sniffing. It might look weird, but I’d rather know, you know? If someone sees me with my nose down my shirt and comes to the conclusion that I have some weird habit of smelling myself, I can live with that.
I’ll take people thinking I’m strange over thinking I smell bad any day.
Jill Robbins Jill Robbins is a published author, and award winning writer, speaker and wine snob.