Feeling that dampness in your underwear? Or that unusual smell coming from underneath? Well, welcome to womanhood and the issue of vaginal discharge.
Let’s face it women, vaginal discharge is not a myth. It is real and here to stay.
Many women have experienced it, and it won’t be surprising to find that it has caused them some worry, especially when accompanied by an unusual scent.
Hopefully, many women and some men will be enlightened after this passage.
The first step to understanding and identifying vaginal discharge is to know what a normal vaginal discharge is.
Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. The normal discharge may vary in terms of the quantity of discharge, odor or color. For instance, there is an increase in discharge quantity when a woman ovulates, breastfeeds or is sexually aroused.
Normal discharge changes based on the hormones produced throughout the menstrual cycle. During ovulation, the body can produce a thicker, white and stretchy discharge. This could vary from person to person. It is ideal to keep an eye on your monthly discharge so you know what is normal for you. Ideally, the normal discharge is about a teaspoon every 24 hours. It be can white, transparent, thick, thin and mostly odorless.
How can I know when something is wrong?
The vagina is a balanced ecosystem, with about 10 to 20 types of bacteria living in perfect harmony. The environment is maintained to be slightly acidic by the majority of bacteria (lactobacillus).
When the vagina is introduced to an infection, there is a change in discharge.
The following color change in discharge will help one know when something is wrong.
A whitish discharge could signal one or two common things. During ovulation, the body produces a thicker, white, stretchy discharge. If this is paired with a strong odor or has a different texture than usual such as cottage cheese, then it could be a yeast infection. Also, one will probably itch , which is a tell-tale sign. Yeast infection can be treated with over-the-counter drugs such as tioconazole, prescription drug called fluconazole or vaginal creams such as clotrimazole.
Dark yellow to green discharge
This is an indication of a sexually transmitted infection. Seek medical attention promptly if vaginal discharge is thick or clumpy, or has a foul smell.
This is not a normal discharge color. It is a sign of an infection known as bacterial vaginosis. This infection is the most common cause of vaginal discharge. Nearly thirty (30) percent of women of child-bearing age acquire it. It is associated with vaginal itching, irritation and a strong fishy smell. The discharge and odor are most notable after sex , or before and after menstruation.
Metronidazole gel and clindamycin cream can treat this type of infection. Oral forms of the drugs are also effective.
This color change in discharge could mean few things but generally, it occurs when there is a bit of blood mixed with normal discharge. Pink discharge most commonly occurs with spotting before a period. However, it can also be a sign of implantation bleeding an early pregnancy symptom. Some women or ladies experience a little bit of spotting after ovulation, which can also cause pink discharge.
After sexual intercourse, if the sex caused small tears or irritation in the vagina or cervix, discharge can be pink.
Vaginal discharge is something that every woman will experience at one point in time or the other. Women should be very particular about their vaginal health and the discharges they experience. Inasmuch as they vary from woman to woman, any discharge different from the ordinary should require medical attention. Be prepared to discuss the color, consistency and smell of the discharge, as well as any itching and whether it appears related to having sex or menstrual cycle.
1. Self, March 2016. Why should you actually worry about your lady fluids. Available at https://www.popsugar.com
2. Health essentials, February 2020. How to decode your vaginal discharge. Available at https://health.clevelandclinic.org
3. Waxon, October 2019. Decode your discharge. Available at https://waxon.ca
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