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What is vaginal discharge? Everything you need to know about vaginal discharge


This is the discharge coming out of your vagina. Vaginal discharge is the medical term used for the fluid that comes out of your vagina. It can be thin or thick, watery or pasty. It is usually clear but may be bloody during menstruation. It can be odorless or with a bad odor, depending on your hygiene.

What is abnormal vaginal discharge?
Abnormal vaginal discharge means abnormal color (brown, green), and odor of your vaginal discharge. Most of the time it is accompanied by itching and burning in the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area (vagina).

What causes vaginal discharge?
It is produced by the glands in your vagina. When exposed to air, the color may change to white or yellow.

What causes an increase in the amount of normal vaginal discharge?
During ovulation (when your ovary releases an egg), hormonal changes will cause a higher amount of vaginal discharge. It also increases during pregnancy because your body has higher levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy.

Also, when you are sexually aroused, the amount of vaginal discharge increases and this is normal. This is your body’s response to preparing your vagina for intercourse. It has lubrication purpose and also helps in pregnancy by helping the sperms to move easily so that they can reach the egg to fertilize it.

What causes abnormal vaginal discharge?
There are many causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. The most common are infections. If you get a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea (GC), and trichomoniasis or a fungal infection, it will result in abnormal vaginal discharge. Sometimes the bacteria (friendly bacteria) that live in your vagina multiply. It can also result in abnormal vaginal discharge. The medical term used is bacterial vaginosis.

What are non-infectious causes of vaginal discharge and itching?
Your estrogen levels will drop during menopause resulting in dryness in your vagina. The medical term is atrophic vaginitis. It can cause itching.

Sometimes you can forget your tampon. This can cause vaginal discharge and itching. Some chemicals, such as those in contraceptive jellies, creams, detergents or fabric softeners, can irritate your vagina or the skin around it.

In extreme cases, cancer of the vagina, cervix or fallopian tubes can also result in abnormal vaginal discharge.

What can you do at home to prevent this?
The first thing you can do is to keep your vagina and the skin around it clean. Use only plain water without soap. You can use warm (not hot) water to clean the area which may provide relief.

Use a hairdryer instead of cleaning with a towel. Do not douche (this is a method of rinsing the vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar). There are many douches available in pharmacy stores. Douching will remove healthy bacteria from your vagina and increase the risk of infection. Not only this, it will also prevent you from getting pregnant. So if you are planning a pregnancy, you have one more reason to avoid it.

Another common cause of itching, especially in diabetic women, is that their blood sugar level is out of control. It is wise to keep your blood sugar level in the normal range. Consult your doctor and he will modify your medications to keep it under control.

Wear cotton underwear more than synthetic clothing to maintain good airflow and avoid moisture buildup. And finally, adopt safe intercourse practices. Use condoms and avoid multiple sex partners to avoid the risk of getting STDs.

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