5 types of abnormal discharge to look out for
Before we break down the various abnormal vaginal discharges, it’s important to remember that normal vaginal discharge is a healthy bodily function because it’s the body’s way to clean itself out and protect the vagina. Normal vaginal discharge is composed of cervical mucus, vaginal fluid, shedding vaginal and cervical cells, and bacteria. Thick and white discharge is common at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle, clear and stretchy discharge is seen during ovulation and sexual arousal, and brown discharge at the end of period simply happens because it is old blood.
1. White discharge with itching
Thick, cottage cheese-like appearance of white discharge, accompanied by itching or irritation of the vagina and vulva are symptoms of yeast infection. Not to be confused with yeast that is used to make bread, this condition is caused by the fungus candida. Yeast infection can be treated with oral antifungal medicine or application of antifungal cream, but must be looked at by a doctor.
Brown is normal during or right after the menstrual cycle. Brown and bloody discharge with an unpleasant odor is a symptom of Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can easily be screened for with yearly Pap smears and HPV testing.
Small amounts of bloody discharge is commonly known as spotting. It is quite usual during periods but is abnormal during non-period days. Spotting on non-period days is a sign of pregnancy (if you’ve had unprotected sex recently) and is also considered a sign of miscarrage in the early stages of pregnancy. Certain medication can be provided by a doctor to prevent further complications of a miscarriage. Other reasons include ovulation, birth control, Pelvic inflammatory disease, and STIs.
4. Green or yellow
Green or yellow vaginal discharge in thick, chunky consistency with a foul smell indicates common sexually transmitted diseases like Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis. Other symptoms include pelvic pain and pain and itching during urination. The typical treatment includes antibiotics and practising safe sex to avoid spreading the disease to others.
5. Grey or yellow-ish
Grey or yellow-ish discharge accompanied with fishy odor typically indicates Bacterial vaginosis, a common bacterial infection that causes itching or burning, redness and swelling of the vagina or vulva but sometimes produces no symptoms at all. Women who receive oral sex or who have multiple sexual partners have an increased risk of acquiring this infection. A doctor would prescribe medication or cream for application purposes.
All of the aforementioned abnormal vaginal discharges are quite common. Consult a doctor immediately if you have more symptoms like fever, pain in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, fatigue or increased urination besides the other specific symptoms associated with any of the above explained conditions.
Knowledge about our bodies will help us keep them healthy! Share this important information with your friends and family and let’s #BreakTheshush together!