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Vaginal discharge: 5 facts every woman should know

Keeping a check on your vaginal discharge is an important part of maintaining intimate health. An expert tells you facts about it.
vaginal boils
Know important facts about vaginal discharge from an expert. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Meghana Reddy Jetty Updated: 10 Jun 2023, 20:04 pm IST
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Vaginal discharge is a common phenomenon but is an important factor indicative of a women’s health and any underlying conditions. To many, it may feel like an uncomfortable subject, understanding your body’s natural processes helps in maintaining optimal reproductive health. The colour, smell, amount and consistency tell if the vaginal discharge is normal or abnormal. So here are some vaginal discharge facts for you!

Simply put, vaginal discharge is usually a sticky, egg-white like fluid that women may experience on a day-to-day basis. The discharge may show signs of change on some days of the month. You should know the types of vaginal discharge and how to differentiate what’s normal and what’s not. And seeking timely help is of utmost importance to rule out worse-case scenarios.

5 vaginal discharge facts to know

1. Normal vaginal discharge

Many women worry when they see vaginal discharge because they think it indicates an infection or other problem. It is important to understand that a woman’s vaginal discharge is a natural feature of her reproductive system. Since the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, the discharge keeps it lubricated and clean. It is normal and good to have vaginal discharge that is white, clear or slightly off-white in colour since it keeps the vagina clean, acts as a lubricant and guards against infections. The thickness or consistency of normal vaginal discharge varies around the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, ovulation and during sexual stimulation.

Also read: 5 likely reasons why you may be noticing more vaginal discharge than usual

vaginal discharge
Know how to differentiate between normal and abnormal vaginal discharge. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Abnormal discharge indicates a problem

While vaginal discharge is generally normal, there are instances when it can indicate an underlying issue. It is important to pay attention to any changes in the colour, consistency, smell, or quantity of your discharge. An infection, such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, might result in abnormal discharge. It might also be a sign of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or other illnesses including uterine or cervical problems. It is then important next step to consult with your gynecologist right away if you notice any unsettling changes in order to have an accurate diagnosis and the best course of action.

3. Pay attention to colour and odour of vaginal discharge

Monitoring the colour and odour of your discharge can provide valuable insights into your vaginal health. Normal discharge is typically clear or white and may have a slight odour. If you notice a change in colour, such as green, yellow or grey, or if the discharge has a strong, unpleasant odour, it may indicate an infection. Infections such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis often present with these changes. It is crucial to seek medical attention if you observe such alterations.

4. Know the difference between normal and abnormal discharge

It can be difficult to tell the difference between regular and abnormal vaginal discharge. Normal discharge typically has a faint scent or is odourless. However abnormal discharge frequently has a pungent smell. While abnormal discharge can appear yellow, green, grey or even frothy, normal discharge is often clear or white. Additionally, abnormal discharge may be accompanied by itchiness, burning or pain during urination or sexual activity. It’s critical to visit a gynecologist for an evaluation if you encounter any of these symptoms.

Keep your vagina safe from infections
Keep your vagina safe from infections. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Practice good hygiene and healthy habits

Good hygiene and healthy behaviours are essential for vaginal health. Harsh soaps, douches and scented items should be avoided in the vaginal area since they can disrupt the natural flora and cause irritation or infection. Instead, use mild, unscented soap and warm water to clean the area. Wear breathable underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothing to promote airflow and reduce moisture. Lastly, practicing safe sex and getting regular check-ups with your gynecologist can help prevent and detect potential issues early on.

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Remember, vaginal discharge is a natural and necessary aspect of a woman’s reproductive health.

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About the Author

Dr. Meghana Reddy Jetty, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Laparoscopic surgery, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Marathahalli, Bengaluru. ...Read More

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