As you might have often heard, vaginal discharge is a completely normal occurrence of how the female body maintains a healthy vagina. But several changes can occur if the normal balance of healthy bacteria or pH balance in the vagina is upset. Several things which can disturb the healthy balance of the vagina, include:
● feminine hygiene sprays
● certain soaps
● certain bubble baths
● use of certain antibiotics
Types of vaginal Discharge
Different types of vaginal discharge include-
- Clear, white vaginal discharge
Clear, transparent discharge is usually normal and nothing to worry about. But, if the vaginal discharge is accompanied with itching or has a thick, cottage cheese-like appearance, it may be a sign of yeast infection.
- Clear vaginal discharge
Clear, watery discharge is mostly normal and may occur at any time during the month. If the vaginal discharge is clear and stretchy, it is also normal and indicates that the female is ovulating.
- Milky white vaginal discharge
Thick, milky white vaginal discharge, also known as leukorrhea normally occurs during the beginning or end of the menstrual cycle. Unless the female does not have symptoms such as pain, itching, burning while peeing, pain during sex, or rashes, you should make an appointment with your gynecologist.
- Brown or Bloody Vaginal Discharge
Brown or bloody vaginal discharge may come right after the periods. But, if you notice red or brown vaginal discharge after having unprotected sex, it may be implantation bleeding, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Brown or pink colored discharge just before the expected period date can also be a sign of pregnancy. In rare cases, brown or red vaginal discharge can be related to cervical cancer, fibroids or other abnormal growths.
- Green Vaginal Discharge
The most common cause for green colored vaginal discharge is usually sexually transmitted infections like trichomoniasis. A green vaginal discharge with a foul smell should always be reported to an expert gynecologist. Some of the common symptoms of STI along with green vaginal discharge include pain while peeing, itchiness and pain while having sex.
What can cause abnormal vaginal discharge?
Abnormal vaginal discharge can occur when the vagina’s microbial community gets imbalanced. This means that the amount of good microbes decreases and the amount of bad microbes increases. An imbalance of vaginal microbes can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is the most common cause of abnormal discharge and yeast infections.
Alarming Signs of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Changes which may indicate abnormal vaginal discharge are an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge, a change in the color or smell of vaginal discharge, and other symptoms like irritation, itchiness, or burning sensation in or around your vagina. This is known as vaginitis. Vaginal discharge that is stained with blood when you are not having your period can also be a sign of a serious problem. If you have any of such unusual signs, you should talk to an expert gynecologist.
Lookout for symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis. These are the 3 infections which can cause changes in the vaginal discharge.
Signs of yeast infections
- White cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge
- Swelling and pain around your vulva
- Intense irritation and itching
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
Signs of bacterial vaginosis
- White, gray, or yellowish colored vaginal discharge
- Fishy odor which gets very stronge after sex
- Burning sensation
- Slight redness
- Swelling of the vagina or vulva
Signs of trichomoniasis
- Watery, yellowish, or greenish colored bubbly vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant odor
- Pain and itching when peeing
- Severe symptoms after your periods
What should you do if you have abnormal vaginal discharge?
If you notice thick, white abnormal vaginal discharge along with symptoms like burning or itching, it is best you consult a gynecologist.
After diagnosis, the gynecologist might prescribe medications to treat the condition. The gynecologist may also prescribe a vaginal pill, suppository or cream. If symptoms do not go away, you may have recurrent infections. If you have any of such unusual signs, you should talk to an expert gynecologist.