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Vaginal discharge: An expert tells you what’s normal and what’s not

Excessive vaginal discharge may indicate an issue with your sexual health, which is why it is important to pay attention without any delay.
vaginal dryness
Vaginal infections can show up as a change in odour or colour. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Manisha Singh Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:08 pm IST
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It is a promising time in our lives, especially since there are growing conversations around sexual and reproductive health concerns. The motive is to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as much as possible. When it comes to women’s sexual health, vaginal discharge is an important giveaway. But sometimes, we barely pay any attention to it.

Watery vaginal discharge is common around the time of ovulation (3 to 4 days) to facilitate the upward movement of the sperm in the female genital tract, and during the premenstrual phase, for a couple of days.

vaginal discharge
Keep a check on your vaginal discharge. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is normal vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is an essential part of the female reproductive system’s cleaning process. Dead cells and bacteria are transported by fluid that is generated by glands inside the vagina and cervix, aiding in vaginal hygiene and infection prevention.

What are the factors that lead to abnormal vaginal discharge?

A change in the colour, smell, or texture of the discharge, as well as an increase in the volume of discharge, may indicate a problem. Irritation, itching, or burning in or around your vagina are some symptoms that point towards a change in discharge.

The combination of these factors might help you figure out what’s
happening with your body.

Also Read: Is your vaginal discharge green? It’s an alarm for these problems

Here are a few things that can throw vaginal discharge off balance:

• Use of antibiotics or steroids
• Bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection more common in pregnant women or women who have several sexual partners
• Cervical cancer
• Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea (STDs)
• Diabetes
• Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
• Trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection usually contracted through unprotected sex
• Vaginal atrophy, which indicate thinned and dried-out vaginal walls post menopause
• Yeast infections
• Fluid-filled , dilated, and blocked fallopian tubes (hydrosalpinx)

diabetes and vaginal discharge
Diabetes can impact your vaginal discharge. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When should you seek medical attention?

Consult a doctor at the earliest, if you experience unusual vaginal discharge in addition to certain other symptoms like:

• Fever
• Abdominal discomfort
• Unexplained weight loss
• Fatigue
• Increased urination

What is the treatment for abnormal vaginal discharge?

Treatment depends on the cause of the infection. For example, yeast infections are typically treated with antifungal medications in the form of a cream or gel, whereas antibiotic pills or creams are used to treat bacterial vaginosis. Trichomoniasis is commonly treated with metronidazole (flagyl) or tinidazole.

Also Read: 6 possible reasons why your vaginal discharge has blood

vaginal hygiene
Maintain natural vaginal hygiene. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some prevention tips for vaginal infections:

* Wash the outer layer of the vagina with gentle, mild soap and warm water to keep it clean.
* Avoid the use of scented soaps, feminine hygiene products, sprays, and bubble baths.
* Always wipe the area clean after using the restroom to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina and causing an infection.
* Wear 100 percent cotton, well-fitted and breathable underwear.

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About the Author

Dr Manisha Singh, Senior Consultant - Gynecologist and Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru ...Read More

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