Vaginal discharge in women is usually a normal thing to have. This fluid is a good thing – it helps carry away dead cells and bacteria from the vagina. The amount can vary, as can odor and color (which can range from clear to a milky white-ish), depending on the time in your menstrual cycle. For example, there will be more discharge when you’re ovulating, breastfeeding, or sexually aroused. It may smell different when you’re pregnant or you’ve been letting your personal hygiene slide.
None of those changes is cause for alarm. However, if the color, smell, or consistency seems quite different than usual, especially if you also have vaginal itching or burning, you could be dealing with an infection or other condition.
Abnormal discharge can be caused by MANY things –
Antibiotic or steroid usage
Birth control pills
Infections – sexually transmitted diseases like chlymadia, syphillis, trichomonas
Cervical or uterine cancer
Blood stained or brown discharge can be a sign of cervical or uterine cancer
Cloudy or yellow discharge can be seen in infectious cases like Gonorrhoea. Other symptons like abnormal vaginal bleeding, itching and burning sensation around the vaginal area, urinary incontinence
Frothy, yellow or greenish discharge with a bad smell can indicate another infectious and sexually transmitted disease called Trichomonas. Other symptoms are pain and burning sensation during urination
Thick white and cheesy vaginal discharge is seen in yeast (fungal) infections. Other symptoms are pain, itching and swelling of the vaginal area; painful sexual intercourse
If you have any of these symptoms and these kind of vaginal discharges – please contact your doctor as soon as possible. Infections have a course of drug therapy which will cure these illnesses.
Tips for preventing infections in the vagina-
- Keep the vagina clean by washing regularly with a gentle, mild soap and warm water.
- Never use scented soaps and feminine products or deoderants in the vaginal area.
- After going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing an infection.
- Wear 100% cotton underpants, and avoid overly tight clothing.
- Always use protection during sexual intercourse with a new person. Get you and your partner tested for any STDs before having unprotected sexual intercourse.