Vaginal Discharge is a normal thing to happen in all females because of hormonal changes leading to secretions from the glands in the cervix and vagina. It is not that a female is completely dry all the time. However, one is often confused with what is normal and what is abnormal, and when is the time to visit a Gynaecologist.
The Checklist for Normal and Abnormal
Colour – Normal discharge is clear, whitish but if it is yellowish , blood tinged it is abnormal
Quantity– The amount of discharge may vary from every woman and it also varies from different phase of the menstrual cycle. The discharge increases pre-menstrually, post-menstrually and also in the ovulation phase. In pregnant women and women on Oral Contraceptives , the discharge may increase.
Smell – A healthy vaginal discharge will not have a odour.
Wetness– Slight wetness is okay to feel but if it increases too much, then it is a problem
When to Worry?
- if there is sudden increase in the quantity of discharge, frequent change of undergarments is needed
- if the colour of discharge changes from white to yellow, green, reddish
- there is bad odour
- there is associated itching
- your partner also starts developing symptoms
Why does abnormal discharge happen?
- Watery, white discharge with itchiness: A cottage cheese like discharge with slight smell indicates fungal infection or thrush.
- Green, yellow, frothy discharge: A parasite causes a common STI known as trichomoniasis in which the discharge is yellow or green, in large amounts, and is frothy with an unpleasant fishy odour. A course of antibiotics can clear the infection.
- Grey or white fish-smelling discharge: A strong fish odour, especially after sex accompanied by a grey-coloured discharge is a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). It is common, a result of imbalance in normal vaginal bacterial population, and is not sexually transmitted. It may go away on its own or may require a dose of antibiotics.
- Discharge with pain or bleeding: Abnormal discharge accompanied with pain during urination or sex or bleeding could be a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection (STIs). Left untreated, these can travel upwards can cause PID.
- Abnormal discharge with blisters around genitals: This is a sign of genital herpes, which is treated with antivirals that stop the virus from multiplying further.
How to prevent abnormal vaginal discharge?
The most basic thing to prevent discharge and vaginal infection is to keep yourself absolutely dry. Fungal infections are most likely to happen in damp places. Make sure you are wearing dry undergarments all the time. Practice safe protected sex, which helps in preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Do not douche or use any vaginal washes unless recommended by the doctor as it alters the ph of the vagina and leads to vaginitis.
Dr Amita Shah is a leading gynaecologist in Gurgaon with vast experience in treating all major and minor female problems. She is currently heading the Obs & Gynae department at Apollo Cradle and Miracles Mediclinic Gurgaon. For more information or appointment with Dr Amita Shah please call +91-8800188335 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org