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Why Keeping Track of Vaginal Discharge is Important for Women?

by Outlook Health
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Every day, a typical woman’s vagina secretes a clear, white fluid called vaginal discharge. This discharge is composed of mucus, a mixture of cells, and fluids from the inside of the vagina and the cervix. The vaginal or cervical fluids carry the dead cells and even bacteria that are passed out of the human body.

A vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence for women and is even healthy. It keeps the vagina clean, lubricated, or moisturized, and helps prevent vaginal infections. In a normal vagina, the moisture, pH, and bacteria are in balance. However, this balance is sensitive to outside triggers and internal body changes. [1]

A vaginal discharge even plays a role in promoting pregnancy. The increase in estrogen hormone results in watery and less acidic cervical mucus which can help nourish the sperm. At the time of ovulation, a vaginal discharge having fluids from the cervix can serve as a guide for the sperm, to help them easily swim through the cervix up to the uterus, where they get fertilized with the egg. This is when a woman has a slippery, stretchy type of vaginal discharge. A woman is said to be in her most fertile days when cervical mucus appears with a raw-egg-white texture. Following ovulation, this white discharge in women from vagina becomes thicker and drier which makes it hard for sperm to travel. Therefore, by keeping an eye on changes in vaginal discharge a woman and her partner can get to know when is ovulation taking place and what’s the right time to conceive a child. [1, 2]

Different Types of Vaginal Discharge, Their Causes, and What They Indicate

The vaginal discharge comes in different colors, odors, and consistency. Although a normal vaginal discharge is white or clear-ish, it’s not necessary that what’s normal for a woman will be the same for another woman. Some changes in vaginal discharge are normal, and there is various white discharge reason. There is no need to be alarmed if a woman is experiencing more vaginal discharge than normal as this happens when she is ovulating, lactating, or sexually aroused. Furthermore, the vaginal discharge may seem different when a woman is pregnant or has been unhygienic. Therefore, every woman needs to keep a track of their typical vaginal discharge color, consistency, volume, and odor, so that they can notice when something seems abnormal. Also, this way, the doctors can record their bodily changes and diagnose if there are any problems. [1, 2, 3]

Here are some of the unusual vaginal discharge colors, their reason for the occurrence, and what they mean:

  1. White and Lumpy- This type of vaginal discharge appears like cottage cheese. It could be a sign of yeast infection caused by an unbalanced pH level of the vagina. Women who have been taking antibiotics, have acquired STIs through unprotected sex, or have experienced hormonal fluctuations during their pregnancy or even menopause can get a white and lumpy vaginal discharge. Typically, such yeast infections are accompanied by itching and burning sensations around the vulva and vagina.
  2. Grey and Cloudy- This vaginal discharge color along with the “fishy” smell is likely an indication of bacterial vaginosis- a condition experienced by females due to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria inside the vagina.
  3. Yellow or Green- This is an indication of a bacterial infection or some sexually transmitted disease (STD). The STDs associated with symptoms of discolored vaginal discharge include Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, or gonorrhea. Typically, the yellow or green vaginal discharge has a foul smell and when there is this discharge, a woman would experience an itching or burning sensation in her vagina or vulva.
  4. Red or Brown- If this happens when there is no menstrual flow in women, this could mean irregular menses or spotting. The vaginal spotting or irregular menstrual periods could be linked to the formation of ovarian cysts, fibroids, or polyps and the occurrence of medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or even thyroid disease. An evaluation of this vaginal discharge by the healthcare provider could only help to identify the cause and determine its treatment. [1]

When Should a Woman See a Healthcare Professional?

If a woman experiences any change in their vaginal discharge that makes her worried, then she must talk with a doctor as soon as possible. This is when the vaginal discharge color, consistency, odor, or amount changes. A doctor visit must be made at the earliest if the abnormal vaginal discharge is observed alongside other symptoms such as:

  • Pain while urinating
  • Irritation around the vagina
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Pain during penetrative vaginal sex or in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain or discomfort between menstrual periods, after penetrative vaginal sex, or post-menopause. [4]

How can Unhealthy/Abnormal Vaginal Discharges be Treated/Prevented?

The treatment of abnormal vaginal discharge depends upon the reason behind its occurrence. For instance, a yeast infection is usually treated with an antifungal medication in form of cream or gel that is applied directly into the vagina. Antibiotic pills or creams/ointments can be prescribed for bacterial vaginosis or any other bacterial infection. Trichomoniasis (a parasitic infection) can be treated with drugs such as metro-nidazole or tini-dazole.

Unusual vaginal discharges as a result of vaginal infections can be prevented or even managed by following some tips:

  • Avoid douching (washing/cleaning inside of the vagina with water or a mixture of fluids), using feminine sprays, scented wipes, or toilet par; and having hot water baths or bubble baths.
  • Have protected and safe sexual intercourse through barrier protection methods.
  • Maintain overall hygiene of the vagina by regularly washing it with a gentle, mild, non-scented soap and warm water on the outer area. Do not put soap inside the vagina.
  • After using the washroom, always wipe from front to back to avoid bacteria entry into the vagina and causing an infection.
  • Do not use panty liners, wear 100% cotton underpants to ensure proper air circulation, and avoid wearing very tight clothing.
  • If urinary health does not seem right, take the VitaPost Urinary Tract Support supplement which is a natural probiotic and prebiotic. Probiotic helps ensure a healthy balance of pathogenic and naturally neutral bacteria. The supplement has three main ingredients Pacran, DE111, and PreforPro- all of which help in improving urinary health, digestive health, and immune system. Therefore, the chances of having vaginal infections can be less. [1, 2, 3]

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References:

  1. . https://axiawh.com/resources/vaginal-discharge-whats-normal-whats-not/
  2. https://embrywomenshealth.com/types-of-vaginal-discharge-causes-care/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginal-discharge-whats-abnormal
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-discharge#medical-attention

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