Abnormal Vaginal discharge is the most common complaint among all women. It is the fluid that is produced by the glands in the lining of the vagina and the cervix. A small amount of vaginal discharge, which is milky white and clear with no odor, is usually normal.
What is the purpose of vaginal discharge?
The vaginal secretion, which flows out of the vagina every day helps to maintain your vagina healthy and clean. However, it becomes abnormal vaginal discharge when the amount and appearance of discharge changes.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is a highly common phenomenon that can be identified through three main symptoms: excessive vaginal discharge, changes in discharge color and odor, itching, irritation, soreness or burning sensation of vagina and vulva.
How does abnormal vaginal discharge look like?
If you have an abnormal discharge then there will be an increase in the amount and thickness of discharge, white and clumpy (like cottage cheese), grayish, greenish, yellowish, or blood-tinged discharge, mucus and pus mixed in with discharge or frothy smell.
Causes for abnormal vaginal discharge
Abnormal discharge may be caused by the inflammation of vagina, usually known as vaginitis, which occurs due to an infection or chemical irritation. It mostly occurs in young girls with a discharge that may contain blood due to a foreign object in the vagina.
Irritation may result from spermicides, vaginal lubricants, diaphragms, and latex condoms. Also, certain detergents, natural allergens, soaps or lotions may cause a chemical irritation of the vaginal area.
Menopause induced sensitivity
The vagina becomes thinner and dryer after menopause where an inflammation of vagina may occur, thus increasing your chances of having excess vaginal discharge.
A change in appearance and odor can be caused by bacterial vaginosis. With this bacterium, normal vaginal discharge may turn into a white, gray, or yellowish cloudy discharge with a strange (fishy) odor.
A thick, white, and clumpy discharge (like cottage cheese), which is accompanied by itching, is generally caused by candidiasis, a yeast infection.
A protozoan infection, called trichomoniasis (sexually transmitted disease) changes discharge from vagina into a heavy, greenish yellow, frothy discharge that may have a bad odor.
Other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia can change the color of your discharge. A greenish or yellowish discharge may occur due to cervical infection, which is caused by gonorrhea, chlamydia.
However, cancer of the vagina, cervix, or lining of the uterus may cause a blood-tinged, watery vaginal discharge.
How to deal with abnormal vaginal discharge?
Once you find your normal vaginal discharge to be abnormal, it is better to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Remember, treating yourself with home remedies may improve your symptoms for few days but cannot completely eliminate your abnormal vaginal discharge.
Diagnosing and treating the abnormal vaginal discharge
For diagnosing the cause of the abnormal vaginal discharge, your doctor will perform a pelvic examination and also examine a sample of the discharge using a microscope.
Once the cause of the excessive vaginal discharge is identified, your doctor will start treating your problem. Oral antibiotics or antibiotic vaginal creams will be prescribed if the cause of abnormal vaginal secretion is a bacterial infection.
However, a specific oral drug or vaginal preparations will be prescribed if your abnormal vaginal discharge is due to a type of yeast infection or trichomonas. If it is caused by a tumor, then a biopsy of the cervix or vagina may be compulsory.
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