Vaginal discharge gives an indication as to what's going on in the body, where you are in your cycle, and if you have an STI or another type of infection. As we tend to be silent when it comes to vaginal discharge, we think it's time to tackle the subject head-on. Did you know? The purpose of the vaginal discharge is to keep the vagina healthy by cleaning, moisturizing, and preventing infections. Yes. You heard it right. Normal vaginal discharge has several uses like moistening the vagina and helping to prevent/ fight infections.
It's normal for the color, texture, and amount of vaginal discharge to vary during different times of the month for every woman. But you need to look out for some changes that mean there might be a health condition that needs to be addressed. What is white discharge, and how can you tell what is normal, or what may be an indication of an underlying problem?
White discharge can be normal or at times it could indicate some sort of abnormality like an infection. The role of vaginal discharge in keeping your body healthy is enormous. It varies in consistency, color, amount, and smell, and is essential in keeping the vagina healthy, as old cells and unnecessary bacteria are washed away every day with it.
Normal White Discharge
When it is a normal white discharge, it consists of the vaginal gland secretion, cervical gland secretion, endocervical mucus or the presence of good bacteria in the vagina inducing the discharge. Normal vaginal secretion is natural as it cleans up, lubricates and acts as a defense mechanism against various infections. The menstrual cycle also increases the amount of fluid secretion that comes out of the vagina. During the period of egg maturation and ovulation, there is normally an increase in white discharge, while the consistency thickens after the ovulation period.
How to know if it’s normal?
Basically there are several indications to find out if the white discharge is normal:
- White discharge is in liquid (aqueous) form
- Clear or slightly white in color
- Secretion in small quantities
- Discharge is odorless
- Does not cause any itching or pain
Causes for abnormal white discharge
Several conditions of a woman’s physical and psychological condition cause an abnormal white discharge:
- Poor hygiene of the vaginal region
- Prolonged use of drugs like antibiotics
- Continuous stress
- Infections caused by bacteria, Trichomonas parasite, Candida fungi, Viruses (HIV, Herpes), and sexual diseases like gonorrhea
- Due to cervical cancer
Features of abnormal white discharge
- Sticky consistency (viscous) form
- Milky white, yellow or light green in color
- Secretion in large quantities
- Blood spots
- Bad odor
- Causes genital itching and pain
When you see the above changes in the white discharge, you need to immediately approach a doctor. If not managed properly, the infection will spread to the upper reproductive systems resulting in inflammation, clogging of tubes and channels of the reproductive system, finally leading to health hazards, infertility and sterility.
How to treat abnormal white discharge?
The abnormal white discharge can be controlled by adopting certain steps like keeping the vaginal area clean and hygienic. Avoid common bathrooms and pools, use cotton underwear that fits instead of tight-fitting ones, and try to be as stress-free as possible.
If the above steps are not effective, then approach a doctor who will prescribe medicines based on the cause of the white discharge. Even after that if the white discharge continues, then it may be due to some serious underlying condition and requires immediate investigation.