All You Need to Know About Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
First of all we should say what is actually a normal viganl discharge: it’s totally fine when your body produces creamy milky-white or clear vaginal discharge. You should understand that the main function of discharges is to carry away bacteria and dead cells to keep the internals clean and prevent any kind of infections. Also each woman should understand that the amount, hue and odor of the discharge are various and directly depend on the menstrual cycle.
Also there could be some normal changes during the pregnancy. In that case thin or thick, milky white and smell-less vaginal discharge that increases during the second pregnancy trimester would be normal.
Note: if you have clumpy white or cottage-cheese-like discharge, and they carries a foul odor – it might be a symptom of an infection.
Now, when we know what normal is – let’s talk about possible abnormal discharge.
What Are the Symptoms That Can Tell You About Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
Symptoms that may indicate abnormal vaginal discharge:
- Changes in color, consistency, or volume.
- Constant, increased vaginal discharge.
- The presence of itching, discomfort or any rash.
- Burning during urination.
- The presence of blood not on the period of menstruation.
- Cottage cheese discharge.
- Unpleasant odor of discharge, which have a yellowish, greenish, gray or white color.
What Diseases Can Be Indicated By Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
- Atrophic vaginitis (typical for women in menopause with a low level of estrogen).
- Bacterial vaginosis: due to the active multiplication of bacteria that are constantly present in the vagina, the discharge acquires a grayish color and an unpleasant “fishy” odor, aggravated after sexual intercourse. Usually it is not sexually transmitted.
- Cancer of the cervix or vagina (in very rare cases causes secretions increase).
- Chlamydia. We have a special page, dedicated to this STD on our website. You can find it and read about chlamydia in details.
- Desquamative vaginitis and lichen planus (so-called Wilson lichen).
- Gonorrhea. This disease also has detailed description on our website. If you need more information, please, look for a separate page, dedicated to it.
- Trichomoniasis. We have detailed description on our website. You can use site-map or a search.
- Candidiasis. Same thing as in the previous diseas.
What Types of Vaginal Discharge Exist and What Do They Mean?
- Brown or brownish vaginal discharge – they could be the reason for irregular menstrual cycles, endometrial or in some rare cases cervical cancer.
- Orange vaginal discharge – mean vaginal infections.
- Pink vaginal discharge – infections, cervical or endometrial cancer or cervical erosion.
- Yellow vaginal discharge – could be a sign of STDs like trichomoniasis, chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
- Green vaginal discharge – mean that you’re having such STDs as trichomoniasis, chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
- Thick white, creamy or clumpy vaginal discharge – usually are the reason for yeast infection.
- And this is not a colour, but still – if you have vaginal discharge with a fish-like-smell that can indicate trichomoniasis.
How to Prevent and Cure Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- Watch for the purity and dryness of your genitals.
- Do not abuse taking the shower: a directional jet of water can aggravate vaginal discharge, washing off beneficial bacteria that protect the vaginal environment from infections.
- Use medicinal ointments or vaginal candles from yeast infections, do that only if you are sure at your diagnosis.
- Eat yogurts with live cultures or take preparations with acidophilic lactic acid bacteria, taking antibiotics to avoid fungal infection.
- Use condoms to avoid getting sexually transmitted diseases.
- Don’t use the means for intimate hygiene that have strong flavor or colour.
- Try not to wear tight clothes.
- You underwear should be made out of natural cotton. Refuse materials that do not absorb moisture and don’t let the air get in.
- Use sanitary napkins, not tampons.
Note: If the change in discharge is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, both partners should be treated – even if one of them has no symptoms. Refusal of treatment can lead to a re-infection and to inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs or infertility.
Frequently Asked Questions About Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Question: What should I do if I have abnormal vaginal discharge?
Answer: If you’re understanding that your vaginal discharge has changed and looks like abnormal thing, the most logical act you can do – make a visit to your gynecologist. Sometime it is difficult to make a diagnosis on your own, so it is better to ask for a qualified help.
If you had an STD – don’t forget that your partner also should be treated, even if he had no visible symptoms at the moment.
Question: Which type of vaginal discharge is normal?
Answer: We gave an explanation at the start of this article, but here is it, once again: creamy milky-white or clear vaginal discharge are normal. If you’re pregnant their amount could be increased. Also discharge may differ with approximation of the menstrual cycle and ovulation.
Question: What does a lot of vaginal discharge mean?
Answer: Such thing as ovulation, breastfeeding, exercise, sexual arousal, birth control pills and stress could influence the amount of vaginal discharge. Also it all depends on menstrual cycle. If you have something that worries you – it is always better to consult a specialist.
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