Well Vaginal discharge is in most cases a normal and regular occurrence in ladies. But, there are certain types of vaginal discharges that can indicate an infection. Abnormal discharges may be yellow or green, chunky in consistency, or foul smelling. You get any of those!, you know something isn’t right.
Now, there’s what we call yeast or a bacterial infection which usually causes abnormal discharges. If you notice any discharges that looks unusual or foul smelling, see your nurse or other medical personnel for diagnosis and eventually treatment.
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There are several different types of vaginal discharge. These types are categorized based on their color and consistency. Some types of discharge are normal. Others may indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment.
A bit of white discharge, especially at the beginning or end of your menstrual cycle, is normal. However, if the discharge is accompanied by itching and has a thick, cottage cheese-like consistency or appearance, it’s not normal and needs treatment. This type of discharge may be a sign of a yeast infection.
2. Clear and Watery
A clear and watery discharge is perfectly normal. It can occur at any time of the month. It may be especially heavy after exercise.
3. Clear and stretchy
When discharge is clear but stretchy and mucous-like, rather than watery, it indicates that you are likely ovulation. This is a normal type of discharge.
4. Brown or bloody
Brown or bloody discharge is usually normal, especially when it occurs during or right after your menstrual cycle. A late discharge at the end of your period can look brown instead of red. You may also experience a small amount of bloody discharge between periods. This is called spotting.
If spotting occurs during the normal time of your period and you’ve recently had sex without protection, this could be a sign of pregnancy. Spotting during an early phase of pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage, so it should be discussed with your OBs-GYN.
In rare cases, brown or bloody discharge can be a sign of endometrial or cervical cancer. It could be other problems such as fibroids or other abnormal growths. This is why it’s important to get a yearly pelvic exam and Pap smear. Your gynecologist will check for cervical abnormalities during these procedures.
A yellow or green discharge, especially when it’s thick, chunky, or accompanied by an unpleasant smell, isn’t normal. This type of discharge may be a sign of the infection trichomoniasis. It’s commonly spread through sexual intercourse.
Normal vaginal discharge is a healthy bodily function. It’s your body’s way of cleaning and protecting the vagina. For instance, it’s normal for discharge to increase with sexual arousal and ovulation. Exercise, use of birth control pills, and emotional stress may also result in discharge.
Abnormal vaginal discharge, however, is usually caused by an infection.
Is a quite common bacterial infection. It causes increased vaginal discharge that has a strong, foul, and sometimes fishy odor, although it produces no symptoms in some cases. Women who receive oral sex or who have multiple sexual partners have an increased risk of acquiring this infection.
Is another type of infection. It’s caused by a protozoan, or single-celled organism. The infection is usually spread by sexual contact, but it can also be contracted by sharing towels or bathing suits. It results in a yellow or green discharge that has a foul odor. Pain, inflammation, and itching are also common symptoms, although some people don’t experience any symptoms.
3. Yeast Infection
A yeast infection is a fungal infection that produces white, cottage cheese-like discharge in addition to burning and itching sensations. The presence of yeast in the vagina is normal, but its growth can multiply out of control in certain situations. The following may increase your likelihood of yeast infections:
4. Gonorrhea and Candida
Are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can produce an abnormal discharge. It’s often yellow, greenish, or cloudy in color.
5. Pelvis Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Is an infection that’s often spread by sexual contact. It occurs when bacteria spread up the vagina and into other reproductive organs. It may produce a heavy, foul-smelling discharge.
6. Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) Infection or Cervical Cancer
Is spread by sexual contact. It can lead to cervical cancer. While there may be no symptoms, this type of cancer can produce a bloody, brown, or watery discharge with an unpleasant odor. Cervical cancer can easily be screened for with yearly Pap smears and HPV testing.
If you have unusual discharge alongside certain other symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms to watch out for include:
If you have any concerns regarding whether a discharge is normal, make an appointment with us here. Fill in the bellow.
For abnormal vaginal discharge, you’ll be advised to have a physical exam, which will including a pelvic exam. We shall also ask you several questions about your symptoms, your menstrual cycle, and your sexual activity. In many cases, an infection can be detected by the physical or pelvic exam.
If we can’t diagnose the problem immediately, we may advise tests required, ask you to check for HPV or cervical cancer. Your discharge may also be examined under a microscope to pinpoint an infectious agent. Once a diagnosis is got, we may advise on the treatment.
To prevent infections, practice good hygiene and wear breathable cotton underwear. Don’t use douches, as they can make discharge worse by removing useful bacteria. Also, practice safe sex and use protection to avoid STIs.
To decrease the likelihood of yeast infections when taking antibiotics, eat yogurt yogurt that contains live and active cultures. If you know you have a yeast infection, you can also treat it with an over-the-counter yeast infection cream or suppository.
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Article Medically reviewed by Nurse Solomon BSN, Moris BSN and Dr. David Lubwaama.