It is not uncommon to experience vaginal discharge, which hormonal shifts, infections, or other factors may bring on. Problems with vaginal discharge can be cured using a variety of medical therapies as well as home remedies. [1, 2, 5]
About Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is a clear, white, or off-white fluid from your cervix. It cleans and lubricates the vagina and aids in the fight against harmful germs and infections. It primarily comprises cells and bacteria produced by the uterus, cervix, and vagina. Although vaginal discharge is a natural and typical process, variations in the discharge can indicate infection or sickness. [1, 3, 5]
What is Considered to be Normal?
A healthy woman’s discharge from her vagina should be transparent or white, varying in texture from watery and sticky to gooey, thick, and pasty. It shouldn’t smell unpleasant, and its thickness may vary throughout the menstrual cycle. Some women experience heavy vaginal flow, while others experience a little less. Changes in the vaginal discharge that occur suddenly may indicate a problem. How much vaginal discharge you experience might vary depending on several circumstances, including ovulation, pregnancy, and the use of birth control tablets. [1, 2]
Types of Vaginal Discharge
Types of vaginal discharge are categorized by color and consistency.
- White: White discharge is common at the beginning or end of the menstrual cycle. This discharge is thick, sticky, and odorless.
- Clear and watery: Ovulation causes clear, wetter discharge. Sexually stimulated or pregnant women may also notice increased discharge.
- Clear and stretchy: Clear, stretchy mucous discharge indicates ovulation.
- Brown or bloody: Occurs during or after your menstrual cycle.
- Yellow or green: This may not signal a health concern because it might turn yellow in the air. Darker yellow or green discharge should be consulted with a healthcare professional, especially if thick, chunky, or odorous. [1, 2, 4, 5]
Causes of Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is a healthy biological function caused by natural changes in estrogen levels. Ovulation, sexual stimulation, birth control medications, and pregnancy can all cause an increase in menstrual flow.
Changes in the vagina’s bacterial balance can have a negative impact on the color, odor, and consistency of vaginal discharge. Such infections are more frequent when the number of dangerous bacteria increases around the genital area.
Here are some of the possible vaginal infections:
Bacterial vaginosis: Too many vaginal bacteria cause it, and it sometimes spreads through sexual contact.
Trichomoniasis: Sexually transmitted infection (STI) that you can get through sexual contact with an infected individual.
Yeast infection: It develops when a certain type of fungus (candida) grows unchecked in the vagina.
Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia: Common STIs you can get from having sex with an infected person.
Pelvic inflammatory disease: When sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are not treated, bacteria can spread from the vagina to the cervix and up to other reproductive organs.
Human papillomavirus or cervical cancer: This sexually transmitted disease can cause cervical cancer. [1, 3, 4, 5]
Signs of Vaginal Infection
A vaginal discharge does not necessarily indicate an infection. If you have any other symptoms of unprotected sexual activity (sexual activity without a condom), you should consult a doctor.
- Vaginal itching, burning, or irritation
- Thick, white vaginal discharge
- Change in discharge attributes
- Painful intercourse and urination
- Pain or tenderness in your lower abdomen
- Pelvic pain or pain while peeing. [1, 3, 4, 7]
Vaginal Infection Treatment
Most vaginal infections aren’t too bad and can be treated with the medicine you get from your doctor. If you don’t get help, these symptoms could worsen or make you more likely to have problems in the future. Each illness has its way of treating it. For example, yeast infections are often treated with antifungal creams or gels in the vagina; bacterial vaginosis can be treated by using antibiotic pills or creams. Most of the time, antibiotics and antiprotozoal medication treat trichomoniasis.
Depending on the examination, a diagnosis and quick treatment may be possible in a small number of instances. On the other hand, the doctor could advise waiting to start therapy until the outcomes of the physical examinations are available.
Treatment for white discharge issues is mostly risk-free. However, several medications used for this treatment can potentially cause unwanted side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, rashes or itching in the vaginal area, a terrible taste in the patient’s mouth, constipation, and diarrhea.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are contagious and might be more challenging to cure. Your healthcare professional must be aware of what to do because of this. Every woman who engages in sexual activity has to see her doctor at least once a year. [6, 7]
How can you prevent Vaginal Diseases?
Here are a few suggestions to avoid the chances of vaginal diseases:
- Gently wash the genital area with warm water. Cleaning chemicals within the vagina might upset its pH balance.
- Avoid scented cleaners and douches. To minimize vaginal infections, avoid scented sprays and bubble baths.
- Avoid tight clothing and wear 100% cotton underwear.
- Regularly bathe with light soap or water. No bubble baths.
- Avoid perfumed vaginal sprays.
- Use white toilet paper.
- Always wipe front-to-back after using the restroom.
- Before contacting your vaginal region, wash and dry your hands.
- Urinate after intercourse to avoid urinary tract infections (UTIs). [1, 2, 4, 5, 7]
Putting it All Together
The good news is that abnormal vaginal discharge can be treated in most cases. Vaginal infection can be partially diagnosed based on the discharge’s color, odor, and consistency and can be avoided with regular self-care. Monitoring your vaginal discharge can help you keep tabs on your body’s normal processes and spot any deviations promptly.
A healthcare provider should be consulted about anything out of the norm. Remember that the long-term consequences of most illnesses can be avoided if recognized and treated quickly enough.
When to See a Physician
Thick, white vaginal discharge is usually always an indication of the health of reproductive organs. Occasionally, though, the discharge may indicate an underlying health condition.
If you suffer any of the following symptoms together with an atypical vaginal discharge, you must contact a doctor:
- Bleeding, missed menstruation rashes or sores combined with vaginal discomfort, a burning sensation when urinating or engaging in sexual activity a strong and persistent vaginal odor.
- As long as your vaginal discharge does not match the healthy criteria, one must take effective measures to maintain vaginal health.
Avoid disrupting the vagina’s pH balance by avoiding soaps, perfumed washes, douches, and other things that remove the vagina’s natural moisture and defenses. The vagina is intended to prevent new infections and care for itself. Therefore, the importance of healthy vaginal discharge in this process is crucial. [1,2,4,5,7]
To help with urinary tract infections and related health issues, several dietary supplements and medications are available in the market. Among all dietary supplements that claim to maintain good urinary tract health, VitaPost Urinary Tract Support is the best and most efficient support for the health of both the urinary and immune systems that are backed by science.