Vaginal discharge is a mixture of fluid and cells in the vagina that ranges from whitish and sticky to clear and watery, possibly associated with an odor. Vaginal discharge can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include menstruation, intercourse, or certain hygienic methods such as douches and bidets.
What is Vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a combination of fluid, cells, and microorganisms that lubricate and guard the vagina. This combination is constantly produced through cells inside the vagina and cervix and leaves your body via the vaginal opening. Although vaginal discharge is a constant process in menstruating women. It may start a few months before your teen period starts. It generally decreases after menopause. However, candidiasis or bacterial infection usually causes the abnormal discharge. If you notice any discharge that looks unusual or smells bad, visit the doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
The glands of the vagina and cervix produce small amounts of fluid that leave the body every day and carry away old cells.
Things that can upset your vagina's natural pH balance and lead to vaginal infections include:
Signs of abnormal discharge
- Changes in color, consistency (sometimes similar to cottage cheese)
- Itching, discomfort, or rash
- Vaginal burning when urinating
- The presence of blood when it is not the time for your period
- A foul odor accompanied by yellowish, greenish, or grayish-white vaginal discharge
Types of vaginal discharge
For most people, infections or hormonal imbalances are liable for unusual changes in vaginal discharge. Medication may be necessary.
A person should see a doctor if they notice irregular changes in vaginal discharge or other symptoms that could indicate a reproductive health problem.
Any changes inside the balance of ordinary microorganisms inside the vagina can affect the smell, color, or texture of the discharge. Here are some things that can upset that balance:
- Use of antibiotics or steroids
- Bacterial vaginosis, a more common bacterial infection in pregnant women or women who have multiple sexual partners
- Birth control pills
- Cervical cancer
- Chlamydia or gonorrhea, sexually transmitted infections
- Scented showers, soaps or lotions, bubble bath
- Pelvic infection after surgery
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection that is usually contracted and is caused by unprotected sex
- Vaginal atrophy, the thinning and drying of the vaginal walls during menopause
- Vaginitis, irritation in or around the vagina
- Yeast infections
The doctor will start by asking about your medical history and asking about your symptoms. Questions can include:
- When did the abnormal discharge start?
- What color is the discharge?
- Is there an odor?
- Do you have itching, pain, or burning in or around your vagina?
- Do you have more than one sexual partner?
- Do you take a shower?
The doctor may take a sample of the discharge or do a Pap test to collect cells from your cervix for a more detailed exam.
The treatment you receive will depend on the cause of the problem. For example, yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal medications that are inserted into the vagina as a cream or gel. Bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotic drugs or creams. Trichomoniasis is normally treated with the drug metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax).
Here are some tips to prevent vaginal infections that can lead to abnormal discharge:
- Keep the vagina clean by washing it with mild soap and warm water on the outside. It is not necessary to use soap directly in the vagina.
- Don’t use scented soaps and feminine products or douches. Also, avoid feminine sprays and bubble baths.
- After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina and causing an infection.
- Wear 100% cotton underwear and avoid clothing that is too tight.
When to visit a Doctor?
See a physician in case your vaginal discharge has an uncommon scent or appearance. A person should also seek medical attention if they experience vaginal symptoms such as:
- Pain or discomfort
- Frothy or cottage cheese-like discharge
- Bleeding between periods or after menopause
- Spotting after sex regularly
- Gray, green, or yellow discharge
- Strong smell from vaginal
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Feeling weak, fatigued, or unwell
- Any sore or blister in the vaginal area
The doctor will perform a pelvic exam. They may also need to collect a discharge sample for testing.
Abnormal vaginal discharge can be treated with the help of simple home remedies:
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal properties. A review of the research on this essential oil confirmed its ability to kill a variety of yeasts and fungi. Tea tree is an essential oil and must be mixed with a carrier oil.
Yogurt is a natural probiotic, which means it contains a lot of healthy bacteria. Eating yogurt can help bring healthy bacteria back into the body. This helps establish a balanced vaginal environment and could help fight bad bacteria. To get the full benefits, eat one serving of yogurt every day.
Coconut oil has antifungal properties to fight fungal yeast. And raw organic coconut oil can be applied internally or externally to relieve symptoms. Heated coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil for more powerful antifungal essential oils, including tea tree oil or oregano oil.
Clean from front to back
After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from spreading from the anus to the vagina.
Taking fenugreek seeds boiled in water can solve the problem of white discharge. You can boil the fenugreek seeds in 500ml of water until the water is reduced by half. Then drink this water when it cools.
Soak some fenugreek seeds in water overnight, strain, and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. This is one of the simplest and most secure home treatments to deal with white discharge.
Tulsi is one of the common things used in Indian homes. People have been using it for years for its medicinal benefits. You can grind some tulsi with water and add a little honey to it. Take this drink twice a day to eradicate the problem. It can be consumed with milk too.