Vaginal discharge is a normal phenomenon where any fluid makes its way out of your vagina. This discharge’s amount, color, odor, or consistency may vary. It is made of bacteria and cells from the uterus, the cervix, and the vagina. The primary function of this discharge is to lubricate the vagina and to protect against infections.
Normal Vaginal Discharge
Even though it is a normal process, you need to keep a keen eye on the changes in the discharge as they can be a sign of something that would need consideration. To define normal vaginal discharge, we must look at its texture, color, and smell.
A normal vaginal discharge’s texture ranges from sticky and watery to thick, pasty, and even gooey. The hormonal changes in the body mainly cause this change in the consistency and the surface but can also be a sign of infections. A vaginal discharge caused by a disease would be foamy and cause itching.
Vaginal discharge is considered healthy and normal if clear and milky white. An off-white discharge is also regarded as acceptable. But, if the color changes to green, grey, yellow, or brown, it would indicate an infection.
The vaginal discharge has a particular smell but is not solid or flawed. If you notice an unpleasant, fishy, or foul smell along with color changes, you should get yourself checked for an infection.
The quantity of vaginal discharge produced varies from woman to woman; some make a lot, while others pay just a little. Factors like birth control pills, pregnancy, ovulation, etc., can significantly impact the amount of discharge produced.
Changes in Color
As mentioned before, any change in the color of vaginal discharge from clear white to something like brown, grey, or green would mean a problem. Here’s what different colored vaginal discharges mean
- Yellow or green: The color yellow, green, or even grey may indicate a sexually transmitted or bacterial infection.
- Red or brown: An irregular menstrual cycle can lead to red or brown discharge. It can also be an indicator of pregnancy if there is implantation bleeding. If you are not on your period and have red or brown discharge, this may indicate a problem.
- White or clear: A vaginal discharge that is completely clear or white is what you should consider normal.
Causes of infections
Infections can cause various changes in your vaginal discharge. Specific factors that can lead to these infections include:
Candida, a specific type of fungus, is responsible for causing yeast infection. It produces a white, thick, and cottage cheese-like discharge when it grows out of control. It may also cause swelling and itching of the vagina. However, this condition can be treated with antifungal medicines.
It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), i.e., getting infected by having sex with an infected person. A parasite gets transferred and causes this condition. A green, yellow, and bubbly vaginal discharge can signify this infection. It can easily be treated with antibiotics.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is caused by the excess of a particular type of bacteria and its accumulation in your vagina. Sexual contact can transmit this, but it is not always the case. A grey discharge with a foul odor can be a sign of BV. Again, antibiotics can be a treatment option for this condition.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
Both are common sexually transmitted infections. A yellow, cloudy vaginal discharge is its sign. Antibiotics can also treat it, but it may lead to pelvic pain and inflammatory disease if left untreated.
Non-infectious causes of Vaginal Discharge
Infections are not the only cause of changes in your discharge. Some non-infectious factors can also lead to the changes.
- Variations in the average balance of healthy bacteria
- Tampon left inside your vagina for long
- Irritation of rash from a chemical that leads to an allergic reaction
- Detergents, soaps, sexual lubricants etc.
Suppose you are experiencing changes in your normal vaginal discharge. In that case, you should contact your healthcare provider and discuss your condition with them to find a perfect fit of medications for yourself.