Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

What is the difference between abnormal vaginal discharge and normal discharge?

Abnormal discharge differs in color, quantity, smell and consistency when compared to your normal white discharge.

Vagina discharge is the fluid that is produced by the glands in the lining of the vagina and cervix. The discharge or white fluids from the vagina functions to carry dead cells and bacteria out of the vagina. It is nature’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy and free from infection.

It is normal to have a daily teaspoon or two of milky white, clear and odorless vagina discharge.

This same type of discharge would seem to be abnormal when it increases. The increase of this whitish or milky discharge could be due to :-

  • Hormonal imbalance cause by mood swings
  • Menstruation (mid cycle of menses)
  • Stressful lifestyles
  • Sexual excitement
  • Medication
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Malnutrition

You should not worry too much if you are certain that the increase in vaginal fluid is due to the above reasons

It is a temporary problem. The discharge will return to its normal level when you are no longer affected by the above 8 conditions.  Meanwhile, you can use the vagina wand to reduce excessive vaginal  discharge.

But, you might be having a vaginal infection if there is:-

  • thick, white heavy vaginal discharge
  • green or cottage cheese vaginal discharge
  • smelly discharge
  • burning discharge - itching and burning sensation in the vulva. 

Vaginal Infections

A vaginal infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria in the vagina giving rise to an imbalance in the vaginal flora. Meaning the vagina is overpopulated by yeast and bad bacteria.

The most common form of infections are bacterial vaginal infection, vagina thrush and trichomoniasis.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginal Infection

Bacterial vaginal infection or (BV) is most common among women in the 15-44 age group. Vagina douching and not using condoms during sex increase the risk of imbalance of vaginal flora which leads to BV. Having new or multiple sexual partners can also upset the harmonious balance of bacteria in the vagina giving rise to bacterial vaginosis.

Symptoms to look out for in a bacterial vaginal infection are:- 

  • Watery, greyish and cloudy discharge with a "fishy smell". This fishy smell is more prominent after sex and during menstruation.
  • Itching when urinating. 
  • Burning around the outside of the vagina which is the vulva.

 Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms

Vaginal yeast infection or candidiasis is a common condition. It occurs when the harmonious balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is disturbed. This happens when the population of bacteria is overtaken by the growth of the yeast microorganism.

  • Vaginal yeast infection has a discharge that is whitish, foamy and clumpy (cottage-cheese like) consistency. 
  • Unlike bacterial vaginal infection, this type of abnormal vaginal discharge is odorless
  • There is an intense itching sensation and slight swelling around the vagina.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis. The symptoms are:-

  1.  Heavy and frothy vaginal discharge.
  2.  Smelly discharge that has a clear, yellowish or greenish color
  3.  Itching and pain during urination.

Other Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia do produce abnormal vaginal discharge. It is sticky with a yellowish to greenish color.

Other symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia include:-

  • bleeding between periods
  • painful urination
  • pain/bleeding during sex
  • bleeding after sex

Vagina Cancer

Vagina cancer is the growth of cancerous cells in the vagina - the muscular tube that connects the uterus to the outer genitalia. Its cause is linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Blood tinged, watery vaginal discharge might be signs of cancer of the vagina, cervix or lining of the uterus. This information is sourced from Medline Plus.

When To Get Medical Attention

Home remedies do help with cases of bacterial vaginal infection and vaginal yeast infections.

If symptoms persist, do not be shy to see an obstetrician to determine the cause.

Prompt medical attention can mean a matter of life or death if the abnormal discharge is STD or cancer related.

Is it alright to have sex while being treated for abnormal vaginal discharge?

It is not advisable to have sex if you are being treated for:-

STDs - the chance of the infection recurring increases especially if your partner has not been treated.

Yeast infection - Having sex can interfere with the effectiveness of the anti-fungal vagina cream. You run the risk of not being completely cured.

Discharge with pain - Be sure that you are completely treated and pain free before resuming sex. The chaffing from intercourse can worsen the pain.

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