Female Discharge or Vaginal Discharge is a term given to those biological fluids which is contained within or expelled from the female’s vagina. Though most of this discharge is normal and represents the various stages of a woman’s cycle, some discharge can be due to infection or other abnormalities in the female. The discharge generally varies during the menstrual cycle.
It has been seen that the amount of mucous which is produced before ovulation, is 30 times more than what is produced after ovulation. Being water-like in consistency and elastic in nature, the vagina discharges it out of the body. Yellow or green colour discharge which has a foul smell or is sticky in nature may be a reason of concern for a woman.
There are different types of discharge that a female may experience. Normally deep, white discharge not accompanied by itching is experienced by many women. A woman might be suffering from yeast infection if this kind of a discharge gives a feeling of continuous itching. When a female is ovulating, a discharge which is plain and rubbery in nature is mucous.
One should remember that watery discharge occurs at various times in a normal cycle specially after exercising. A woman may be suffering from some kind of infection if a yellow or green discharge is seen along with a bad smell. Discharge which is brown in colour indicates old blood and it may occur right after finishing period, cleaning out the vagina.
Reasons for Discharge
This is an abnormal vaginal condition that produces vaginal discharge as it is the result of overgrown normal bacteria in the vagina. The name given to it, bacterial vaginosis, throws light on the fact that there are various types of bacteria living in the vaginal area, being capable of growing to an extra size. When all these species become imbalanced, a vaginal discharge takes place along with a foul odor.
A serious reason for vaginal discharge may be that of cervical cancer. This kind of a cancer takes place at the entrance of the womb commonly known as the uterus.
The causes for cervical cancer include human papillomavirus (HPV), frequent changing of sexual partners, excessive smoking, taking too many birth control pills to name a few. Regular pelvic examinations are able to detect precancerous changes in the cervix which help in early diagnosis and treatment of the problem.
Chlamydia in Women
Chylamydia is the most common type of sexually transmitted disease which causes infection in female vagina. It affects almost 4 million women every year. This bacterium is found in the cervix and the urethra. People who suffer from it unknowingly spread the infection to others as the only symptoms known for these bacteria are vaginal discharge or abdominal pain. A female may need to urinate frequently and urgently if affected by this disease and it may also cause pain upon urination, as seen in a urinary tract infection.
Birth Control Pills
Females, who eat birth control pills on a regular basis in order to avoid pregnancy, run a higher risk of facing vaginal discharge as a side-effect in the form of yeast infection. Birth control pills weaken a female’s immune system, making it easier for the yeast to multiply. Yeast infection results in the discharge being white, thick and like cottage cheese. It may also include vaginal itching, continuous painful irritation and redness.
Forgotten Tampons in the Vagina
Many women use tampons for periods and it is possible that a women may forget to remove the tampon after use. The blood which accumulates in the tampon may cause an infection leading to a dark vaginal discharge with a foul odor. This type of infection can prove to be very dangerous as it can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
After a women goes through her menopause, during the post-menopausal stage, there is a decrease in the estrogen level in the body leading to changes in the vaginal cavity tissues. This medical condition is called Atrophic Vagnitis. Conditions like watery or bloody discharge, inflammation of the vagina or thinning of tissues is seen in this case. It can be treated by applying estrogen creams.
The intrauterine device (UID) may become infected leading to a vaginal discharge making the uterine cavity very tender. In such a case, the UID should be removed instantly.
An allergy refers to a situation when the immune system of our body reacts with foreign substances that it may come in bodily contact with. It is an extreme reaction as these foreign substances are generally perceived by the body to be harmless, with no problems occurring in those people who are non-allergic. The substances which produce allergy are called ‘allergens’ and examples of these may include pollens, dust mite, specific food items and molds.
This is another sexually transmitted disease which is caused by herpes simplex II virus. When it occurs, small watery blisters appear on the genitalia along with a watery vaginal discharge, itching and irritation. The female may also experience pain during urination or intercourse.
Ways to Treat Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal or female discharge can be treated in time if a female takes some precautions on a regular basis. Though medications are available in the form of gel cream along with antibiotic pills there are some preventive measures that a female must know which will help avoid female discharge.
It is very important to wash the vagina regularly and keep it clean with the help of a mild, gentle soap and lukewarm water. Also one should avoid using scented soaps, feminine sprays and bubble baths. After using the toilet, properly wipe from front to back as this prevents bacteria from entering the vagina and causing an infection. The vagina should be kept as dry as possible. Tight clothing should be avoided with your underpants being 100% cotton. All females should feel free to consult their doctors if they have the slightest of doubts that their vaginal discharge is not normal.