Abnormal vaginal discharge

Background 

Vaginal discharge is a natural part of a female body functioning. It keeps the female reproductive system safe and helps in preventing the vagina from catching an infection. Usually, the fluid (vaginal discharge) is produced inside vagina and cervix, it plays the role a of a cleaner for vagina and takes away the bacterias & dead cells and also keeps the vagina lubricated. 

For a female, it’s  really important to understand a normal and an abnormal discharge. An abnormal discharge is usually differentiated on the basis of its colour, consistency, smell, or other abnormal discomfort such as pain, and itching. Doctors may suggest you to keep a check on abnormal.  

Apart from that, if such abnormality is noticed during your regular days, then you might be having an infection or any other possible condition. 

Causes: 

There are many causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. Some can be caused because of bacteria, while others can be caused because of various other reasons. It is not necessary that everyone would see the symptoms, but below is the general risk factors and symptoms caused by a numerous known means.

  1. Yeast infection:

 A fungal infection. Symptoms include:

  • Yellowish or whitish incharge 
  • Discomfort
  • Burning or itching sensation

  Risk factor:

  • Pregnancy
  • Some antibiotics
  • Birth control pill
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  1. Bacterial Vaginosis: 

A bacterial infection. Symptoms include: 

  • Abnormal smelly odour
  • High and thick vaginal discharge 

Risk factor:

  • Pregnant women
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Oral sex
  1. Trichomoniasis: An infection caused by protozoan. Symptoms include:
  • Yellowish discharge with no odour
  • Itching, inflammation, discomfort or pain. 

Risk factors:

  • Sexual contact 
  • Sharing underwear, towel or other personal clothes
  1. Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and Chlamydia can also cause abnormal vaginal discharge. Symptoms include: Greenish, blueish, and yellowish discharge.
  2. Cervical cancer 
  3. Pelvic inflammatory disease
  4. Scented soaps, perfumes, bubble bathing. 
  5. Vaginal atrophy; dryness or thinning of vaginal walls during menopause
  6. Unprotected sex; some infections can be caused by unprotected sex

Symptoms:

  1. Pain 
  2. Inflammation
  3. Rash 
  4. Burning or itching sensation
  5. Discharge containing blood
  6. Smelly discharge in yellow, green or grey colour
  7. Discomfort during urinating 

Diagnosis and investigations 

The above symptoms are indicative of visiting your gynaecologist for examination and treatment. The gynaecologist will exactly diagnose weather the discharge is physiological or abnormal vaginal discharge.  She might take vaginal swabs to diagnose  bacterial or fungal infections by culture of these swabs. Any suspicious lesion is indicative of colposcopy/ hysteroscopy and biopsy. Radiological investigations are done according to the indications. 

Treatment:

The treatment fro abnormal vaginal discharge depends on the cause of it. While some infection like yeast infection can be treated by medications others may require precautions and medications as  prescribed by doctors. 

One should not apply any gel, cream or medication without doctor’s suggestion as it can make the complication worse. However, you can take necessary precautions to stay safe. 

Prevention:

  1. Change your underpants every day.
  2. Avoid wearing uncomfortable underpants.
  3. Avoid douching. 
  4. Do not use scented soaps, perfume, or other such products. 
  5. Wipe your vaginal area nicely after urinating to avoid catching infections.
  6. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton, try to avoid wearing hard or rough underpants.
  7. Take care of personal hygiene and keep your vagina clean by washing it gently every day with clean water. 

To know more, consult our best team of gynaecologist at Surgeons House Limited (SHL) available at different global locations. Please click this link to contact us.

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