Normal vaginal discharge or leukorrhea may have a thin and watery or thick and sticky consistency, and it may be clear or white in color. Normal vaginal discharge may be large in volume but typically does not have a strong odor, nor is it typically associated with itching or pain.
Abnormal vaginal discharge also known as leucorrhea is one of the common problems faced by women in their reproductive age. The word leucorrhea means in Greek; Leuko means white and Or hea means to flow or flux. It is said that approximately 75% of women have experienced vaginal discharge or leucorrhea at one point in their life. Women suffer from various types of discharges; out of these, bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis or yeast infection are the commonest ones followed by other sexually transmitted diseases which cause vaginal discharge or leucorrhea.
Though considered an easy-to-treat and a common condition, vaginal discharge often leads to a lot of distress and agony for the women; compelling them to visit the gynecologist. And until treated, it becomes very uncomfortable for the women to carry on with their routine work and focus on it.
The best part is that the treatment for vaginal discharge is short and a variety of treatments are available to cure vaginal discharge or leukorrhea. If diagnosed and treated correctly, it is very easy for the women to be alright and get back to work with full vigor.
Dr. Dimple Doshi at Vardaan Hospital; believes prevention is better than cure, and thus apart from the precise treatment guidelines; preventive measures are an essential part of our consultations with the patients who have either had it or want to know more about it.
1. Vaginal discharge which is often yellowish, creamish or greenish or curd-like; often foul smelling
2. Feeling of wetness necessitating changing the panty liners frequently due to wetness.
4. Lower abdominal pain
5. Urinary burning
6. Vaginal irritation and burning
7. Pain during sexual intercourse
Women may have normal or physiological discharge at certain age milestones, and your gynecologist will be able to differentiate it from the vaginal discharge that results from a disease requiring treatment.
The normal vaginal discharge does not require any treatment. And it can happen as described below:
1. Neonates also get vaginal discharge which is a common cause of mothers panicking and rushing to the clinic to their gynecologists to know why it happened. Neonatal vaginal discharge happens due to the presence of maternal hormones in the body.
2. At puberty there is an exaggeration of normal vaginal discharge due to a sudden surge in the hormonal levels.
3. Pregnancy also causes excess vaginal discharge
4. Sometimes at midcycle there is excess vaginal discharge.
Abnormal vaginal discharge can happen due to
1. Bacterial vaginosis
2. Candidiasis or yeast infection
4. Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia
1. BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS:
Grey or green in color
Sometimes accompanied by burning in urine.
Caused by prolonged antibiotic use, Excessive douching or cleaning of the vagina using soaps, unprotected sex
Presence of an intrauterine device or copper T
2. CANDIDIASIS OR YEAST INFECTION:
Thick and clumpy; curdy consistency ; like paneer
White in color
Accompanied by severe itching, burning,soreness, irritation, pain during urination and pain during sexual intercourse.
Caused by prolonged antibiotic use, use of spermicide or vaginal gels, estrogen imbalance intrauterine device .,unsafe and unhygienic sexual practices.
Yellowish green in color
Accompanied by vaginal burning, itching painful urination or painful sexual intercourse.
It is a sexually transmitted infection.
4. CHLAMYDIA AND GONORRHEA
Pus-filled discharge is associated with urinary complaints like pain and burning.
These are sexually transmitted diseases.
Treatment of vaginal discharge depends on its type:
Antibiotics like azithromycin, metronidazole , amoxyclav and antifungals like fluconazole will help cure the infection. Intravaginal pessaries are also helpful.
1. Maintain safe sexual practices
2. Keep up good intimate hygiene but don’t overclean the vaginal area or douche it frequently as it disrupts the normal flora and leads to vaginitis and vaginal discharge.
3. Treat your partner and keep him infection free.
4. Live a healthy lifestyle
5. Wear cotton underwear and change it if it becomes too wet. Cotton allows your genital area to “breathe.”
6. Avoid feminine hygiene sprays, colored or perfumed toilet paper, deodorant pads or tampons, and bubble bath.
7. Prolonged use of antibiotics is associated with vaginal flora disruption. So if needed, take appropriate probiotics.
8. Keep good hygiene after sex.
9. Remove your intrauterine contraceptive device if the vaginal discharge is a frequent occurance.
10. Minimise the use of vaginal gels or lubricants.
11. After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back. This may help prevent getting bacteria from your rectal area into your vagina.
12. Avoid wearing tight pants, pantyhose, swimming suits, biking shorts, or leotards for long periods.
13. Change your laundry detergent or fabric softener if you think it may be irritating your genital area.
14. Avoid hot tubs.
15. Bathe or shower daily and pat your genital area dry.
Vulval cleaning may be useful for women with odorous vaginal discharge; and daily use of feminine wash may reduce the risk of recurrence of bacterial vaginosis. Clinical practice guidelines recommend women to us a pH balanced hypoallergenic cleansing agent for daily vulval cleansing .