White Discharge: Everything You Must Know
Talking about vaginal discharge is still considered as a taboo.
However, it doesn't hide the fact that in spite of all this shyness and hesitation, women still have a lot of questions revolving in their minds about them.
But these issues need to be answered correctly.
Fluid discharge from the vagina is felt and noticed by every woman and let's make it very clear, it's something which is not weird or bad. Most of all, it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
A normal vaginal discharge is quite normal and important bodily function.
The fluid which comes out of the vagina cleans it. It even helps to fight and prevent infections as well. Vaginal fluid moistens and lubricates the vagina ensuring that it is healthy.
However, sometimes this fluid discharge can cause discomfort (For e.g White Discharge). It can even become a cause of concern for many women.
So if you are worried because of your vaginal discharge lately, here is what you need to know.
What Causes Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal walls and cervical mucosa secrete vaginal fluids. These fluids are secreted in a small amount, help to clean the vagina and keep it healthy. It's essential to realise that vaginal discharge is a part of normal body function and is usually clear with no foul odour.
You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge if you are breastfeeding, ovulating or sexually aroused. A decrease in discharge may be noticed for 2-3 days after the end of your menstrual cycle.
What is a normal Vaginal Discharge?
Normal vaginal discharge is usually transparent. It can also be translucent, milky or even off-white in colour. It can be water like thin or sometimes it can also be thick and sticky.
It's normal for this discharge to change its amount, colour and consistency during a woman’s monthly cycle.
What is Abnormal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge indicates a lot about your vaginal and hormonal health.
If you notice any of these changes from what you normally see, then it can indicate towards an abnormal fluid discharge.
- Change in colour.
- Change in odour
- Change in texture.
- Heavy discharge.
- Vaginal itching.
- Burning sensation in the vagina
- Vaginal swelling.
- Vaginal redness.
- Presence of blood in the discharge. which is not menstrual blood.
What does abnormal discharge look like?
Abnormal discharge can occur due to a variety of reasons.
If there is a change in the pH or imbalance in the bacterial flora of the vagina, the colour, texture and the odour of the discharge can change.
Some of these changes may appear like this -
- Unpleasant odour.
- Green discharge.
- Foamy discharge.
- Chunky discharge.
- Cottage cheese like discharge.
- Pus-like discharge.
- Dark brown discharge.
What can cause an abnormal discharge?
Abnormal vaginal discharge can happen due to -
- Lack of hygiene.
- Having unprotected sex.
- Having multiple sexual partners.
- Use of antibiotics.
- Use of steroids.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Cervical cancer.
- Yeast infection.
- Bacterial vaginosis.
- Any underlying disease or disorder.
If you notice that your normal vaginal discharge has changed its colour, smell and consistency inform your healthcare provider or your gynaecologist about it.
What is White Discharge?
Instead of the usual transparent and clear discharge sometimes women may also experience a more milky and white discharge. White discharge from the vagina is usually nothing to be concerned about.
Many women experience this white discharge during following times -
6 Causes of White Discharge in Women
#1. White discharge before periods
White discharge before the periods is known as leukorrhea. It usually constitutes of mucus, fluid and dead cells that are shed from the vagina.
It can be compared to an egg white discharge. This discharge may also appear to be a bit yellow at times with a sticky consistency.
White discharge before periods occurs when the hormone, progesterone, peaks in the body. The usual clear discharge becomes a more sticky, cloudy and white one.
Vaginal discharge increases a few days before the periods when ovulation occurs.
A decrease in vaginal discharge is seen for a few days after the periods stop.
#2. White discharge during pregnancy
White discharge is normal during pregnancy. Increase in discharge during pregnancy is actually a good thing as prevents infection from travelling up to the womb through the vagina.
This discharge may further increase by the end of pregnancy. At the end of pregnancy, before going into the labour this discharge can become pink or jelly-like mucus called show.
Visit your doctor or inform your health care professional if your vaginal discharge during pregnancy is also associated with redness around the vagina, itching in the vagina, soreness or a strange unpleasant odour.
#3. Yeast Infection
Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called candida which is normally found in the vagina. Overgrowth of this fungus can lead to infections.
A thick white discharge is seen in yeast infection which resembles a cottage cheese-like appearance. This discharge is foul smelling and associated with itching and swelling around the vulva.
Sexual intercourse is painful during a yeast infection. Having multiple sexual partners and having unprotected sex increases the risks of developing a yeast infection.
Visit your gynaecologist and get an examination done if you experiencing such a type of discomfort due to your vaginal discharge.
#4. Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis presents with a discharge that is thin, sticky and grey.
It is also associated with a characteristic fishy odour.
Pain during sexual intercourse and urination is seen in bacterial vaginosis.
Maintaining hygiene and having protected sex reduces the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.
It is a sexually transmitted disease caused by Trichomonas Vaginalis.
In trichomoniasis, the discharge from the vagina is white, thick, and foamy. The discharge is foul smelling and can cause itching and discomfort. There can be pain during urination and sexual intercourse. In some cases, pain in lower abdomen is also seen.
Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of getting HIV.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted disease and its causative organism is Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Gonorrhoea is spread due to unprotected sexual contact and having multiple sexual partners. Unprotected anal sex, oral sex, vaginal sex, drug abuse and alcohol abuse increase the possibility of contracting STDs like gonorrhoea.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea in women are the occurrence of vaginal discharge which is usually cloudy with a yellow hue. It may also be creamy and slightly green.
Gonorrhoea can also lead to the development of other pelvic inflammatory diseases.
6 Other Types of Vaginal Discharge & Their Meaning
Other than the normal vaginal discharge other discharges which can also be seen are -
#1. Bloody or brown discharge
Bloody or brown discharge can indicate towards an irregular menstrual cycle. In some cases, it can also indicate towards cervical or endometrial cancer. Bloody / Brown discharge can also be accompanied by pelvic pain. Such a discharge should be reported to the doctor immediately.
#2. Cloudy or yellow discharge
Cloudy and yellow discharge is seen in Gonorrhoea which is a sexually transmitted infection. STDs are a huge threat to reproductive health. If you are experiencing cloudy yellow discharge then inform about the same to your doctor immediately.
#3. Frothy green discharge
Such type of discharge is seen Trichomoniasis which is an STD. This type of discharge is also foul smelling. Trichomoniasis is a threat to reproductive health. If you are experiencing such a discharge, inform your doctor immediately.
#4. Pink discharge
Usually happens at the end of pregnancy. Also called as “show”.
#5. Thick and cheesy, white discharge
Indicates towards the possibility of a yeast infection. If the discharge is accompanied by swelling, rashes and pain during urination and sexual intercourse, it's most likely due to yeast infection.
#6. Grey discharge
If the discharge is grey with a fishy odour, it's most likely due to bacterial vaginosis. Inform your doctor immediately if your vaginal discharge is grey and foul smelling.
If you are experiencing any kind of vaginal discharge mentioned above, kindly report the same to your gynaecologist/healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How can I take care of my Vaginal Health?
You can do the following things to ensure that your vaginal discharge is normal and healthy -
- Maintain proper vaginal hygiene on a regular basis.
- Wash and wipe your vagina from front to rear when you are cleaning it.
- Use cotton undergarments.
- Avoid tight clothes for a long period of time.
- Make it a habit to clean and wash your vagina after sexual intercourse.
- Pee after intercourse.
- Avoid using harsh soaps.
- Trim the hair around your pubic region regularly.
- Avoid douching.
- Maintain hygiene during periods.
- Change sanitary pads frequently.
- Use condoms during sex.
- Avoid having multiple sexual partners to reduce the chances of getting an STD.
- Visit your gynaecologist regularly.
- Make sure you eat a healthy organic diet.
- Say no to addictions and substance abuse as they increase the risk of developing STDs.
Precaution Routine for White Discharge
Add few drops of vinegar in your bath water and apply tea tree oil after taking a bath. Vinegar has antifungal properties and tree tea oil has antimicrobial properties. This will take care of your vaginal hygiene and health in the long run.
However, make sure that you are not over washing or applying a variety of products to your vagina. Just try to keep it clean and make sure you are visiting your gynaecologist for routine health checkups.
Treatment for White Discharge
Visit your doctor immediately as soon as you begin to experience any kind of vaginal discomfort.
If the vaginal discharge becomes heavy, changes its colour, odour and consistency then it should be brought into the knowledge of your gynaecologist and health care provider as soon as possible.
Don't be hesitant while talking to your doctor about your discharge.
Your doctor can prescribe you a course of antifungal or antibiotic treatment if you are experiencing excessive white discharge from vagina due to any fungal or bacterial infection.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is an indication towards many medical issues that need immediate attention and treatment.
When it comes to your reproductive health, don't be shy. Share your problems with your doctor and try to find a proper solution for them.
Abnormal vaginal discharge can have an adverse effect on your overall health and sexual life.
Take a notice of your vaginal discharges regularly and if you find anything that is discomforting and not normal, report it your doctor immediately.
A*****Hey Can you please tell me more about vaginal discharge! Because I am experiencing it more from past two days ! Nd I am really stressed about it!