Why am I having vaginal discharge
What does your vaginal discharge mean?
The human body is truly a medical marvel. There are so many checks and balances to help us maintain good health. Your vaginal discharge is one of these indicators. You can track your reproductive and sexual health by paying attention to your vaginal discharge.
Medically speaking, your vaginal discharge can be described as the fluid released from your cervix and vagina.
In order to ensure that you are healthy, you need to know what is normal and what is not. So if something seems irregular, you can get the medical attention you need as soon as possible. We have put together some commonly asked questions that might benefit women with the information they need in this area.
Is it normal to have discharge?
Yes, it quite normal to have a vaginal discharge. It is your body’s way of keeping your reproductive system clean and healthy. Every woman is different so the amount and the frequency may vary with each woman. This may also change during the course of a woman’s life.
What does normal vaginal discharge look like?
Normal vaginal discharge can appear clear or whitish at times depending on the point you are in your cycle. The consistency may vary as well. At times, you may see whitish specks or it may seem stringy. All of this is in the range of normal appearance.
There is no odor to speak of and it does not cause any irritation or discomfort to the vaginal area.
When should I be concerned about my discharge?
Your radar should go up if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Yellow or green discharge
- Fishy or foul-smelling odor
- Itchy discharge
If an abnormal vaginal discharge is accompanied by the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
- fatigue and weakness
- abdominal pain (severe or intermittent)
- a fever
- blisters or sores in the vaginal area
- Vaginal pain
- Vaginal rash
All these symptoms could be alluding to a more serious health issue. However, even if you are not experiencing any severe symptoms but your vaginal discharge looks different from what you are accustom to, you can make an appointment to see your doctor.
If there is nothing to worry about, your doctor will allay your fears and give you some peace of mind.
What are some of the diseases that can cause an abnormal vaginal discharge?
An abnormal vaginal discharge occurs when the balance of normal bacteria in the vagina has been changed. These are a few medical conditions that can lead to this, some conditions being more severe than others:
- STD’s (Sexually transmitted diseases) namely gonorrhea and Chlamydia
- Cervical cancer
- Diabetes- This condition prevents the body from processing sugars properly.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease -This disease is when a sexually transmitted disease causes your reproductive organs to become infected and inflamed.
- Trichomoniasis– This is an infection caused by a parasite and it is contracted during unprotected sex.
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Vaginal atrophy- This is the drying and thinning of the vaginal walls due to a decrease in estrogen in the body.
- Yeast Infection
What other factors can cause abnormal vaginal discharge?
Certain medications and practices may also change the PH balance in your vagina causing an irregular discharge. Here are a few of the culprits:
- Birth control pills
- Bubble baths
- Use of scented soaps
How do I get rid of a discharge?
If you want to get rid of an unpleasant discharge, you need to first ascertain the cause. Here is a list of possible causes of abnormal discharges and their corresponding treatments.
- Yeast infections- These can be treated by antifungal medications that are inserted directly into the vagina.
- Bacteria vaginosis- Antibiotic pills and creams can treat the infection and eliminate the irregular discharge.
- Trichomoniasis- It is treated with the drug metronidazole or tinidazole.
- Gonorrhea- If you need treatment for Gonorrhea, it is recommended that you take all the medication. You will be prescribed with antibiotics by your doctor.
- Chlamydia- It is treated by antibiotics as well.
- There are certain steps you can take to prevent vaginal infections:
- Wear cotton underwear- Cotton fabrics have a breathable quality that fosters good vaginal health.
- Avoid douches- Douching is a practice that upset the ph balance of the vagina and may lead to yeast infections.
- Wipe from front to back- This practice prevents bacteria from getting into the vagina.
- Use gentle soap – The vagina should be washed often with warm water and gentle soap
Stay away from scented soaps and sprays- These fragrances can cause irritation that may eventually cause infection.
What does ovulation discharge look like?
If you are thinking of starting a family, you will want to know when you are ovulating.
Discharge during or right before ovulation is a bit different from other times during your cycle. It is called fertile discharge or cervical mucus. Its consistency has been compared to egg whites. It feels wet, slippery, and sticky between the fingers. It is usually whitish, cream, or clear in color.
Of course, you should always seek to rule out changes in your discharge being linked to STDs since some symptoms can be attributed to more than one condition.
Why is my discharge white and thick?
You could have a thick white discharge for a number of reasons. Chances are the white thick discharge is normal if you have no other symptoms. If you have an actual complaint, your doctor will seek to determine whether it is STI related or non-STI related. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia often present with a white thick discharge. Another major cause is yeast infections. However, the discharge must be accompanied by other symptoms in order for your doctor to make a definitive diagnosis.
Why is my discharge yellow?
A yellow vaginal discharge is often a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infections. If it is accompanied by an unpleasant odor, it may be time to visit your gynecologist to get a diagnosis and a prescription.
Why is my discharge green?
There are two main causes of green discharge. Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection that is sexually transmitted. The telltale sign is usually a yellowish-green discharge. As Chlamydia and Gonorrhea worsen the discharge may change from white to green. A terrible case of Bacterial vaginosis can result in your discharge appearing green due to the overgrowth of bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis.
Why is my discharge brown?
This is usually an indication of irregular periods. However, if the discharge persists, you should see a doctor. Sometimes a brown discharge may be a sign of cervical or uterine cancer. Your doctor may suggest that you have a pap smear to screen for abnormal cells.
So, as discussed, your vaginal discharge can tell you a lot about your reproductive health. It can help you get a diagnosis and back to normal in no time.
- Zemouri, C., Wi, T. E., Kiarie, J., Seuc, A., Mogasale, V., Latif, A., & Broutet, N. (2016). The Performance of the Vaginal Discharge Syndromic Management in Treating Vaginal and Cervical Infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PloS one, 11(10), e0163365. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163365
- Venugopal, S., Gopalan, K., Devi, A., & Kavitha, A. (2017). Epidemiology and clinico-investigative study of organisms causing vaginal discharge. Indian journal of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, 38(1), 69–75. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7184.203433
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