Vaginal discharge: When should you be concerned about?
Vaginal discharge is fluid secreted from tiny glands in the vagina and cervix. This fluid leaks from the vagina each day to remove old cells and debris, keeping the vagina and reproductive tract clean and healthy.
The amount of vaginal discharge can vary significantly from person to person. The colour, consistency, and amount can also change from day to day, depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle.
It is common to wonder whether the colour or consistency of vaginal discharge is normal or needs to be checked out. Vaginal discharge can be many colours, and several indicate a healthy body.
Vaginal discharge colour meaning
Yellow dischargeYellow discharge is abnormal discharge, as this is a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection. There also may be an odor associated with it.
Brown dischargeBrown discharge may be caused by irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a doctor to be evaluated. This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. Additionally, during menopause, a woman should not have any type of vaginal bleeding, which is also a sign of uterine cancer.
Green dischargeHaving green discharge is not normal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis. Anyone experiencing green discharge should see her doctor. If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, you'll be placed on antibiotics.
Clear dischargeMost ordinary vaginal discharge is clear or whitish. It may be slippery or have the consistency of egg whites.A person is likely to experience more clear, slippery discharge just before ovulation, during sexual arousal, and during pregnancy.
Gray dischargeGray vaginal discharge is not healthy, and it can be a symptom of a common bacterial infection called Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
BV usually causes other vaginal symptoms as well, including:* itching
* a strong odor
* redness around the vulva or vaginal opening
Anyone with gray discharge should promptly see a doctor. Following diagnosis, the doctor will usually prescribe Antibiotics to treat the BV.Thick, white discharge
Yeast infection discharge is caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection discharge include a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, along with itching, redness, irritation and burning.
Roughly 90 percent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life. Yeast infections are not contagious, and over-the-counter anti fungal creams are available for a patient to use. But, if symptoms don't improve with treatment or she has more than four yeast infections in a year, she should see her doctor.
PreventionNormal vaginal discharge does not need to be prevented. However, taking the following precautions can sometimes prevent abnormal discharge:
* Wear cotton underwear, which absorbs moisture and may prevent a yeast infection.
* Practice safe sex by using a condom, limiting the number of sexual partners, and getting tested regularly for STIs.
* Use unscented soaps, tampons, and pads. Scented or strong products may disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, which can increase the risk of infection.
When to see a doctor
Abnormal discharge may be a sign of infection and may require medical attention.
Vaginal discharge is often nothing to be concerned about, but there are times when changes in discharge can indicate a problem.
Different types of infections can have similar symptoms, but they are treated differently. It is essential to see a doctor if any of the following develops:* green, yellow, or gray discharge
* vaginal itching or burning
* discharge that is frothy, foamy, or looks like cottage cheese
* a fishy or unpleasant odor
* pelvic pain
To determine the cause of abnormal discharge, the doctor may ask about any additional symptoms, a person's general health, and their sexual history.Treatment for the underlying cause of abnormal vaginal discharge will vary and may include antibiotics or anti-fungal medication.