Any fluid that comes from the vagina is called vaginal discharge. Generally, some discharge from the vagina is a part of body secretions. A normal vaginal discharge is without foul smell and not accompanied by itching. The vagina normally secretes fluids to keep the vagina clean, lubricated and moisturized, which prevent any infection from entering inside. It is normally thin, sticky, and elastic.
Every woman should know the following things about normal vaginal discharges (fluids):
- Girls may notice changes in their vaginal discharge at different times of the month.
- Every woman has a different smell of vaginal discharge; therefore, a woman must learn what is normal and abnormal for her.
- Quality and quantity of your normal vaginal fluid changes with the various stages of your normal menses. The fluid may be more when you are in the middle of the cycle.
- Near ovulation (the period of release of the egg from the ovary [woman’s reproductive organ]), you may sense some wetness or transparent/clear fluid in your vagina. At the beginning of ovulation, you may have slightly thicker vaginal fluids like an egg white.
- After pregnancy and childbirth, it is normal to bleed for the next 7-10 days and have lochia (red, yellowish, and whitish discharge).
How do you recognize unhealthy vaginal discharge?
You can easily recognize if there is a problem with your vaginal discharge. You may notice
- Unpleasant odor of discharge.
- Change in the color of the discharge.
- Change in the consistency of discharge.
- Itching in your vagina.
- Burning, swelling, or redness in your vagina.
- Heavy bleeding or spotting (slight bleeding) from the vagina in between your actual periods.
When should you be worried about vaginal discharge?
Only you can notice your vaginal discharge, and if it doesn’t seem normal to you and if you find any differences in consistency, color (greenish, yellowish, brownish, or greyish), or odor, then you must meet your gynecologist.
If you have had sex and had these above symptoms, then it is important to find out whether you have contracted any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Most of the time, unhealthy vaginal discharges can be treated easily.
What does it mean when vaginal discharge changes?
It is important to pay attention to your vaginal discharge because every woman is different. You must learn to recognize what is normal for you. Do not ignore what your vaginal discharges are trying to tell you. If you have different unhealthy vaginal discharges, it may mean you have some problems such as follows:
- Cloudy or yellowish discharge means you may have gonorrhea (clap).
- Frothy, yellow, or greenish fluid with a foul odor means you may have trichomoniasis (trich).
- Thick white cheesy discharge means you may have candidiasis (a yeast infection).
- White, grey, or yellowish discharge with fishy odor means you may have bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial infection), which is common in pregnancy or in the case of multiple sex partners.
- Bloody or brownish discharge or spotting may point to serious causes and may need an urgent medical opinion.
You may experience changes in your vaginal fluids due to some diseases or in certain conditions such as follows:
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CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/candidiasis.htm
American family physician https://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/1101/p1777.html
Kids health organisation https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/vdischarge2.html