Vaginal Discharges In Women | What Is Normal And What Is Not

When you talk about vaginal discharges, it is a normal phenomenon that occurs to women regularly. But certain types of vaginal discharges indicate a mild to severe infection. If you notice green or yellow discharge, or if there is a bad odor, or it has chunks in it, these signify an abnormal discharge. 

The most common types of Vaginal Discharges are bacterial or yeast infections. These generally become the source of an abnormal discharge. If you experience any abnormality in your regular vaginal discharge, it’s time to see the doctor and get the diagnosis and treatment done immediately.

Vaginal Discharges: Types of Discharges

There are different types of vaginal discharges that a woman faces in her day-to-day life. Some of these discharges are categorized based on their color, smell, and texture. Some of these discharges are considered normal whereas, others show an underlying health condition that needs a check-up.

White Vaginal Discharge

You get a white discharge when your menstrual cycle is about to start or end, and that is normal. If you get a white discharge along with itching and is of a thick consistency or texture, this is generally a case of yeast infection and you need to get a doctor’s treatment.

Waterlike Clear Vaginal Discharge

After a vigorous workout, you usually get waterlike discharge and it is absolutely normal. It can happen at any time of the month regardless of the onset or offset of the menstrual cycle.

Slimy And Clear Vaginal Discharge

During ovulation, the discharge generally changes its appearance from watery to stretchable and slimy. This is also a normal vaginal discharge that you shouldn’t worry about.

Brown Vaginal Discharge

When you get a brown vaginal discharge after the menstrual cycle has ended, it is considered normal. The last day of your menstrual cycle will show brown stains which are considered normal. If you experience small bloody discharge in between your menstrual cycles, this is known as spotting. 

If you experience spotting during the regular timing of your periods and you have had sex recently, this can be an early sign of pregnancy. If you notice spotting during your early pregnancy weeks, it can indicate a miscarriage. Consult your doctor as soon as possible in such conditions. 

In rare cases, it is seen that brown or bloody discharges can signify cervical or endometrial cancer. Get a yearly pelvic examination and a pap smear is done to check any fibroid formation or other abnormal inflammations. 

Green Or Yellow Vaginal Discharge

Generally, yellow and green thick and chunky discharges that come along with unpleasant odors are not considered normal. You might be experiencing infection trichomoniasis that is caused by unprotected sex.

What Causes a Vaginal Discharge?

Vaginal discharges are considered normal as long as it is white or clear and it is a part of healthy body function. The vaginal cleans itself through such discharges and it is okay if you get them regularly. Vaginal discharge increases with sexual arousal and when you are ovulating. 

Going through emotional breakdowns, stress, and using birth control pills can increase your discharges. Abnormal discharges are generally caused due to an underlying infection.

Trichomoniasis 

It is a type of infection that is caused by a protozoan. This single-celled organism gets into the vaginal passage by sexual contact but this also gets contracted with sharing towels or bath suits. This results in green or yellow vaginal discharge with a smelly odor. In some patients, it also causes symptoms like pain, itching, and inflammation.

Bacterial Vaginosis 

Bacterial vaginosis is the commonest type of infection in women worldwide. It increases the discharge with a strong and fishy odor with no symptoms. However, some women experience symptoms like itching and inflammation. Women who participate in oral sex or have multiple partners are at high risk of getting a bacterial infection.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection or a fungal infection causes white and cheese-like vaginal discharge accompanied by itching and burning symptoms. Yeast formation in the vaginal surface is normal but when the yeast grows and multiplies, it causes an infection. If you have diabetes, excessive stress, are pregnant, use birth control medicines, or are on antibiotics, your chances of developing a yeast infection increase.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

These are the two sexually transmitted diseases that cause abnormal vaginal discharges. It is mostly green, yellow, or cream in color with a foul smell.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

The HPV virus is an infection caused by sexual contact. The human papillomavirus, if not treated on time, can lead to cervical cancer. The infection comes with no symptoms and it produces brown, bloody, watery vaginal discharge with a foul smell. With an early pap smear and HPV testing, cervical cancer cases can be checked and treated.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

The PID infection is a sexually transmitted disease where the bacteria spread up to the vaginal walls and enters into the reproductive organs. This infection brings in a heavy discharge with an unpleasant odor to it.

When Should You Seek Doctor’s Help?

If you experience abnormal discharge accompanied by symptoms, consult your gynecologist immediately. Look for symptoms like 

• Fever

• immediate weight loss

• fatigue

• frequent urination

• abdominal pain

• excessive itching

if you have any questions regarding whether your vaginal discharge is normal, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Home Remedies for Vaginal Discharge

To stay away from vaginal infections, maintain good hygiene, and wear soft cotton underpants. Using douches can irritate the vaginal pH and remove useful bacteria from the vaginal surface. Make a habit to use protection and practice safe sex to prevent getting an STI.

To reduce yeast formation while taking medications and antibiotics, you can eat yogurt. You can also treat yeast infections with over-the-counter yeast infection ointments or gels.

Farha Naaz

Farha Naaz is a mother of a 10-month old baby.

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