In most cases, vaginal discharge is our body’s way of cleansing itself. Some women experienced an increased discharge post using birth control, exercising, being stressed out or being sexually aroused.
Regular vaginal discharge comprises fluid and cells from your uterus, and which lubricates the vaginal tissue to keep them protected from infections and irritation. You will notice the amount and consistency of the discharge vary throughout your menstrual cycle. Also, every woman has a different smell for vaginal discharge.
What is normal vaginal discharge?
Usually, vaginal discharge is white or clear and sticky or watery. During ovulation, you may experience a thicker and mucous discharge. At the end of a period, you might see brown or bloody-brown discharge. There could be a slight scent, which is neither unpleasant nor foul-smelling.
Some women experience discharge almost every day, while others do so only during certain times of the month. As mentioned above, vaginal discharge varies with the menstrual cycle. However, you must note that all changes do not correspond to the presence of healthy bacteria in the vagina.
What is abnormal vaginal discharge?
Sometimes, women experience vaginal discharge that has an abnormal colour or consistency. Regularly check for inconsistencies in your discharge, and consult a gynaecologist if you find something concerning.
White discharge combined with itching and a cheese-like consistency
Brown or bloody discharge
Green or yellow discharge, with a thick or chunky consistency and a foul smell
These symptoms could be accompanied by inflammation, itching, burning and pain. White and thick, green or yellow discharge with a fishy or foul odour could signify health problems that must be treated. Other symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, increased urination, unexplained weight loss, rashes, swelling and redness around the vulva – which needs vaginal swelling treatment.
What are the common reasons for abnormal vaginal discharge?
There are several causes for abnormal vaginal discharge, which could range from unhealthy sexual habits, diet, hormonal changes, medication or surgery. Common reasons are the use of steroids and antibiotics, douching, menopause, surgery, pelvic inflammatory disease, birth control medication, labour and diabetes.
What are the types of abnormal vaginal discharge?
Now that you know the causes of abnormal vaginal discharge, you must know how to notice the signs of danger to get proper vaginal pain treatment. With our checklist below, you can get yourself checked for severe health problems in time:
The presence of yeast in the vagina is familiar, but unchecked growth can cause white and cottage cheese-like discharge. You are at a higher risk of yeast infection if you are diabetic, pregnant, stressed, use birth control medication or antibiotics for a long time.
A common bacterial infection, bacterial vaginosis, produces increases vaginal discharge with a fishy and pungent odour. This is common in women who have multiple sexual partners or receive oral sex and need vaginal itching treatment.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Often spread by sexual contact, women get PID when the bacteria spread up the vagina and into the other reproductive organs. It produces foul-smelling and heavy discharge.
Spread by sexual contact or shared bathing suits and towels, trichomoniasis causes foul-smelling yellow or green discharge. Inflammation, itching and pain are common symptoms.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea
These are sexually transmitted infections, which produces cloudy, yellow or green discharge.
Cervical cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV)
The HPV infection is spread by sexual contact, which leads to cervical cancer. Brown, watery or bloody discharge with a foul odour are typical symptoms – which is screened with HPV testing and pap smears.
How is abnormal vaginal discharge treated?
Women get infections if they have unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner; ideally, they must undergo treatment as well. Use condoms during treatment to avoid spreading the infection or re-infecting yourself.
At the doctor’s clinic, the gynaecologist will perform a pelvic examination, discuss your sexual activity, menstrual cycles and symptoms. They might perform pap smears and other tests for cervical cancer, HPV and other severe conditions. Once the cause is determined, they will put you on treatment.
How to prevent vaginal infections?
Practice good hygiene, wear cotton underwear, practise safe sex and do not use douches. Consume yoghurt with active and live culture, limit the number of sexual partners and use condoms.
Now that you know how to recognise the types of vaginal discharge, you can take better care of your reproductive and sexual health. If you are looking for vaginal discharge testing, contact us at Well Women Clinic.