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Vaginal Discharge: Treatment & Prevention

by Aveda Ayur 14 Feb 2024
Vaginal Discharge: Treatment & Prevention

Females face a lot of problems in their reproductive and post reproductive life. The conditions can vary in various stages of life but a common problem persists in every age group and it is the changes in the color, smell & appearance of white discharge. White discharge is the normal secretions of the uterus, vagina and cervix but if the quantity, consistency or smell of the discharge changes then it becomes a matter of concern because it can indicate yeast, fungal or bacterial infection & may be an indicator of some more major concerns.

Read till the end to have all knowledge about White Discharge.

Key Takeaways

  • 7 out of 10 women suffer from excessive or abnormal discharge.
  • The amount, consistency or smell of the discharge may vary from one woman to another.
  • This discharge can be due to internal gynecological problems or external bacterial/yeast infections.
  • Normal vaginal discharge is typically clear or milky white, and its consistency can range from thin and watery to thick and sticky.
  • It helps to keep the vagina clean and moist and may increase in volume during ovulation and sexual arousal.

What is Vaginal Discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a fluid secreted by the vaginal & cervical glands. This serves many important functions which includes the following:

  1. Keeping Vagina clean & moist
  2. Flushes out the bacteria & dead cells
  3. Helps to maintain healthy pH balance

Types of Vaginal Discharge

Types of Vaginal Discharge

Every type of discharge is related to potential causes. Following are the types with their characteristics:

  • Clear and watery: Typically normal and present throughout the menstrual cycle. It's more noticeable during ovulation when estrogen levels are high.
  • White & thick: An odorless thick white discharge especially at the beginning and ending of the cycle.
  • Clear and stretchy: An egg white like discharge associated with ovulation which is typically thin, clear and stretchy. It also indicates a fertile window for conception.
  • Yellow or green: Accompanied by itching, irritation or foul odor, yellowish and greenish discharge are indicators of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
  • Grayish or white with fishy odor: A gray and white discharge with a strong fishy odor is also an indicator of bacterial vaginosis. It occurs after imbalance in vaginal flora.
  • Thick and cottage cheese like: This thick and cottage cheese like discharge is suggestive of yeast infection. The causative agent is candida fungus.
  • Pink or brown: Pink and brown discharge may occur at the beginning or ending of menstruation. The color of the discharge is due to small amounts of blood mixed with normal vaginal secretions. Sometimes it can also be due to vaginal irritation.
  • Foamy: It indicates the sexually transmitted infection, trichomoniasis.

Vaginal Discharge Causes

The major causes for abnormal vaginal discharge are as following:

Disturbance of Vagina Flora: It happens mostly due to excessive vaginal cleaning or no vaginal cleaning. Excessive use of vaginal washes is also one of the causative factors resulting in itching, dryness, burning, excessive discharge etc.

Infections: Infections like yeast infection, bacterial infection and sexually transmitted diseases can cause variations in vaginal pH, flora, vaginal discharge appearance, its consistency and color.

Irritation & allergies: Products like scented perfumes, soaps, douches, laundry detergents etc can cause vaginal irritation or maybe you are allergic to some resulting in swelling of vagina and foul smelling discharge as well.

Medications: Contraceptive pills, antibiotics & corticosteroids can affect healthy vaginal flora thus causing variation in vaginal discharges.

Foreign bodies: Devices, such as tampons, condoms, or retained vaginal contraceptive devices, can cause vaginal discharge and irritation.

Associated diseases: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer etc can also result in the variation of vaginal discharge.

Vaginal Discharge Diagnosis

The first step of diagnosis is history taking. Following are the key points:

  1. A female is to be asked about her menstrual, sexual & hygiene history. Also about her diet and lifestyle.
  2. Medication history is to be considered. As mentioned before taking contraceptives, antibiotics and corticosteroids can cause such issues.
  3. Patient is asked about the appearance, color and smell of the discharge.

    In cases of doubt, a doctor may recommend a Pap smear test.

    Treatment of Vaginal Discharge

    For abnormal vaginal discharge following is the line of treatment:

    • For Yeast infections: Antifungal medications are prescribed along with antifungal ointments to be applied locally or tropically.
    • For Bacterial infections like Bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis: Antibiotics are prescribed in this case.
    • Sexually transmitted diseases: These can be bacterial and viral. That’s why according to condition antibiotic or antiviral treatment is prescribed.
    • Lifestyle and diet modifications: Avoid having too much spicy, pungent food, start exercising, eat a healthy balanced diet, avoid use of scented perfumes, soaps, and vaginal washes down there. Also, try to avoid stress and sleep on time.

    Home Care for Vaginal Discharge

    Remedies for Vaginal Discharge

    There are some Ayurveda home remedies which can be preferred to avoid abnormal white discharge, foul smelling and also repeated infections. These remedies are as following:

    • Triphala Wash: Soak 1 tsp powder of triphala in 200 ml of water overnight and let it rest. In the morning wash your private area with this water.
    • Alum Wash: Take alum and crush it into powder. Now, add this powder to 100-200 ml water and leave it overnight. Use this mixture to wash vagina in the morning.
    • Intake of greek Yogurt: It is to be taken in your diet as it helps to stabilize the healthy vaginal flora.
    • Lemon Leaves wash: Take 2-3 leaves of lemon plant and boil them in 100-200 ml of water. Let it cool down to room temperature and it can be used to wash the vaginal area. It helps with foul smelling especially.

    Note: Both triphala and alum washes are helpful in viral, bacterial and fungal infections as well.

    Also, the best way to maintain your health down there is to avoid excessive washing so that vaginal flora remains balanced and daily hygiene is to be maintained as well.

    Summary

    Abnormal Vaginal Discharge is one of the problems being faced by every second woman in India. The credit goes to the lifestyle, hygiene, maintaining choices and diet we are having. Also, certain medications can contribute in disturbing the vaginal flora as well. Taking care of your vaginal health is very important and for that you should be very aware of what to use and avoid. Ignoring such problems for a long time can result in internal infections like cervix, uterus and even ovaries or fallopian tubes. This can result in pain, discomfort, menstrual irregularity etc. So, it is better to be attentive about your vaginal health and be observant for the type of discharges you are having.

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