Vaginas are a very important part of the body. The human race literally depends on the vagina for continuity. Vaginal discharge has been a part of the life of women since the beginning of time. But just like most other concerns with female reproductive health, its barely ever discussed.
Due to this lack of information and openness about the vagina, a great number of misconceptions are often attributed to it. One major misconception that has held for generations is the belief that the vagina needs to always be thoroughly scrubbed.
Once and for all, the vagina isn’t a dirty piece of the female body that must endure endless scrubbing. Recent studies have put to sleep this old-fashioned belief as it is known that the vagina is absolutely capable of self-cleaning. That means soaps, perfumed cleaners, douches, and specialized cleansers have no place down there.
If some apprehension still exists due to constant vaginal discharge, read further to understand how that works.
ALSO READ: WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT VAGINAL ODOR
What Is Vaginal Discharge All About?
Discharge is the substance, that is neither menstrual blood nor semen, which comes out of the female reproductive organ. It consists of mucous fluid secreted in the cervix, as well as shed cells from the cervix and vagina.
Vaginal discharge varies with the woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. Sometimes the food we eat and the weather conditions might affect the thickness or consistency of discharge. STI’s and yeast infection may also alter the smell, color and consistency of vaginal discharge.
Sex and arousal also affect the quantity and thickness of vaginal discharge.
Different Types Of Vaginal Discharge
As earlier mentioned, discharge will vary with different individuals and times of the month. Typical discharge is usually clear white or milky depending on your body.
Texture may also vary from very thin and watery to some really sticky gooey discharge. This consistency is also affected by the time of the month or cycle you are in.
One thing to always remember is that normal discharge should not have a foul odor. Let’s check out some landmarks for ‘NORMAL’ vaginal discharge.
- Thick white discharge: This is a normal discharge that usually occurs towards the beginning of the menstrual cycle.
- Clear Discharge: This is like a default setting for your vaginal discharge. The quantity might increase after a vigorous workout or after sex. Quantity might also vary from one day to another but usually reduces after your period.
- Stretchy discharge: This might be a good sign if you are looking to have kids. The estrogen level increases before ovulation. Increased estrogen gives rise to more discharge that is also quite thick and gooey.
- Pinkish discharge/Spotting: A mildly bloody discharge might be a sign of an impending period if it comes close to your period. The endometrial lining shedding can give rise to this color. Also, implantation at conception causes similar spotting.
Having reviewed NORMAL circumstances, here are red flags that should get you seeking medical help.
- Fishy Odor: A possible sign of bacterial vaginosis.
- Yellow colored discharge: Possible bacterial infection or STI.
- Brown discharge; Brownish discharge indicates period irregularities. If It continues over a long period of time, best consult a physician. Uterine or cervical cancer also causes brown discharge.
- Green discharge: Is absolutely abnormal, a possible harbinger of bacterial infections or STIs.
- Thick, White, Cheesy smelling discharge: If your discharge smells and comes with redness, burning and irritation this could be a sign of yeast infection. Can be treated with antifungal vaginal cream prescribed by the doctor.