Vaginal discharge is a normal fluid secreted from tiny glands in the vagina and cervix that carries away old cells and bacteria. The vaginal fluid keeps the vagina clean and lubricated during sexual intercourse and helps prevent infection. A normal vaginal discharge ranges from clear to whitish color with no odor. The amount and color of discharge vary on the menstrual cycle and increase during ovulation or sexual arousal. Change in color, smell, and consistency, usually referred to as abnormal discharge, may indicate a problem, especially if you experience an itchy and burning sensation. If you experience abnormal vaginal discharge, visit your Contemporary Women’s Care specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Below are some causes of abnormal vaginal discharge.
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection caused by bacteria and is a common cause of abnormal discharge in many women. Vaginal discharge with a strong, foul, and fishy odor is the most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis. In some cases, you may not show any signs. You have a high risk of getting this infection if you receive oral sex or have multiple sexual partners.
Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a protozoan or single-celled organism. You can show the following symptoms, yellow or green discharge with a foul smell, pain, inflammation, and itching in the vagina. Sometimes you may not show signs. The infection is spread mainly through sexual contact. Sharing towels or bathing suits can also lead to trichomoniasis.
Yeast infection is a fungal infection causing abnormal discharge. Yeast is naturally present in the vagina, but when they multiply out of control, they cause infection in the vagina. In this infection, you may produce a white cheese-like discharge accompanied by a burning and itchy vagina. Stress, diabetes, birth control pills, pregnancy, and prolonged use of antibiotics can increase the risk of getting a yeast infection.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a reproductive infection spread through sexual contact. It occurs when bacteria spread in your vagina and into other reproductive organs. You may produce a heavy and foul odor discharge when you have PID.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) or cervical cancer
Human papillomavirus is an infection spread by sexual contact. It may lead to cervical cancer. You can produce a bloody, brown, or watery discharge with a foul smell, although symptoms are not seen in some cases. It would be best to visit a reliable specialist yearly for cervical cancer screening through Pap smear and HPV testing.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted infections leading to abnormal vaginal discharge. You will experience yellow, greenish, or cloudy vaginal fluid. In some cases, you can have swollen vagina and pain during sex. If these diseases go untreated, they can lead to infertility. Sometimes you may not show signs, so it is essential to have regular STD testing.
Abnormal vaginal discharge may sometimes appear and then disappear. It would help if you did not ignore the disappearance of symptoms without treatment as they reappear worse and may take a long process to treat. Do not self-diagnose or treat vaginal discharge. Visit your doctor immediately if you notice any abnormal fluid for diagnosis and treatment. Call Contemporary Women’s Care to schedule an appointment to ensure your reproductive health remains in top condition