Vaginal Discharge – What Different Colors of the Fluid Says About Your Health?
Are you stressed out about the color and texture of your vaginal discharge? Your mind would be bombarded with questions like “Is that normal”? What did I eat yesterday or did the sex last night have something to do with this? You’ve got each and every right to be frightened because it could indicate a possible condition lurking around your genitals.
So what is normal and abnormal vaginal discharge? But before that it’s important to know the basic definition of why vaginal discharge occurs at first place.
All the women out there experience some amount of vaginal discharge. This is because the glands in the vagina and the cervix secretes small amount of fluid that flows out of the body and flushing the old dead cells. This is a natural housekeeping process that helps keep vagina clean, lubricated and free from infection.
What causes abnormal vaginal discharge?
There are several reasons that can upset the natural pH (acidic) balance of your vagina and change the color, texture and smell of the fluid. These can range from use of antibiotics, birth control pills, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), vaginal atrophy, yeast infections and even cervical cancer.
So assuming that you don’t have any infection, your discharge is just a cocktail of dead cells, bacteria and other bodily secretions.
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How does a woman know if vaginal discharge is normal?
While in most of the cases, the fluid is normal part of various bodily processes, you may want to know what the color and texture means anyway. However, you should seek doctor’s attention if you are concerned. Here we break down color guide to vaginal discharge.
A clear discharge whitish in appearance is generally normal. This could resemble like egg-white in consistency. You might think the discharge is abnormal but it is body’s natural process to rebalance itself through self-cleaning.
Clear discharge could be due to ovulation as you would probably be ovulating and producing cervical mucus. This especially occurs on the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. It may also occur due to changes in hormones during pregnancy. Clear discharge can also occur when a woman is sexually aroused. This makes the blood vessels in the vagina dilate (wide open) to let the fluid pass through, hence, increase in the amount of discharge.
A woman can experience red or brownish bloody discharge during her normal menstrual cycle. There could be variation in color from cherry red initially to rusty brown in later part of the cycle. However, continuous red brownish discharge through the month could be a health concern such as infection.
The reason behind red-brown discharge during irregular menstrual cycle or spotting is due tothe usage of birth control. Rarely, it could be sign of cervical cancer. The discharge can also accompany abnormal vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain.
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If you experience discharge with different white shades like eggshell or creamy, it can be normal. But if the fluid accompanies certain texture or smell, it can be a cause of concern. Generally, white discharge occurs due to vaginal lubrication that maintains the health of the vaginal tissue. The white discharge also reduces friction during sexual intercourse.
However, if you notice thickness in the discharge as well as itching, redness or burning around the vaginal area, then this is the sign of yeast infection. In this condition, too much yeast grows in the vagina.
Light blush to deep pink is usually a sign of the starting of the menstrual cycle. However, sometimes it could also indicate a serious health concern. Some women might experience light bleeding after sex, resulting in pinkish discharge.
When color of your discharge ranges from pale yellow to neon green, don’t fret, it is completely normal. At times, the fluid is daffodil yellow in color. Though this color is generally a sign of infection, but if you think this is occurring due to diet, supplement or medicine you are currently taking or if it is occurring only once, then its normal.
However, if the yellow-green discharge is accompanied by foul smell along with pain and itching while urinating, it could be trichomoniasis, a common sexually transmitted disease.
If you come across white grey discharge which looks like cloudy or exhaust, call your gynecologist without delay. This is a sign of a common infection known as bacterial vaginosis. The most common symptoms include itching, burning, swelling or redness of the vulvar region.
Treatment - How to get rid of unusual vaginal discharge?
You must talk to your doctor if you are concerned about color, texture and amount of discharge. Most importantly, do note specific symptoms such as itching, burning sensation, pain, swelling, etc. in and around the vagina. The treatment would depend on the sign and symptoms.
- Yeast infection – Anti-fungal medication can cure the infection in a few days. There are also over-the-counter medication such as miconazole and clotrimazole. Prescribed single dose pill such as diflucan or fluconazole are also available. You would be advised to avoid sex until the infection clears up.
- Bacterial vaginosis – The condition can be easily treated through antibiotics. These are taken either orally or vaginally.
- Trichomoniasis – This sexually transmitted disease is treated through antiprotozoal medication such as metronidazole or tinidazole.
In most of the cases, the discharge is normal and you don’t need to worry about. But it is better to consult with the doctor in case you are confused or notice continuous and unusual signs or symptoms.