Vaginal discharge is a common problem for women of all ages. However, the severity and the type of discharge will depend on the different causes of the discharge. Discharge of normal vaginal fluid is common to all women as it is caused by the hormones in the body. This is most apparent before menstruation begins. The colour of the discharge, as well as the texture and the amount, will vary from person to person. Normal discharge has a slight odor and never causes an itching or burning sensation. However, if the discharge has a strong odor and is brown, gray or green in color, it could be caused by an infection or an underlying medical condition that requires medical attention.
Causes of Abnormal Discharge
There are several causes of abnormal discharge of vaginal fluid. Changes in bacteria levels in the vagina, use of antibiotics, sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia, diabetes, infections, vaginitis, and pelvic inflammatory disease are some of these causes.
Depending on the cause, the color of the discharge may change. Therefore, a woman will be able to identify the cause of the discharge by knowing the different colors associated with the discharge. No matter what the reason, if the discharge of vaginal fluid is more than usual, it is always advisable to seek medical attention. Here are some different types of discharge that are caused by various types of vaginal infections and other diseases.
Brown Discharge of Vaginal Fluid
Brown or bloody vaginal discharge is often caused by the shedding of endometrial tissues and may not be a cause for concern. Usually, brown discharge is the sign of a late menstrual period. However, brown discharge should not simply be ignored as being a late period. Sometimes it can be the cause of a more serious medical condition. Brown discharge can be a result of cervical or pelvic cancer. Therefore, any woman experiencing brown discharge of vaginal fluid, continuously and not during their period, should obtain medical advice. Further symptoms such as pain, brown-yellow discharge, pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness etc. may be experienced with brown discharge. You should not delay in visiting a gynaecologist if such symptoms are experienced in conjunction with brown discharge. Treatment of the discharge will depend on the diagnosis of the cause. If it is simply due to delay in the shedding of the uterine lining after menstruation, doctors may prescribe lifestyle changes and recommend drinking plenty of water. However, if caused by other factors, prescription medication, chemotherapy and other treatment methods are other options available.
Green Discharge of Vaginal Fluid
Green discharge of vaginal fluid is most often caused by a sexually transmitted disease known as trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that is spread through sexual intercourse. Yellow-green discharge of vaginal fluid is the most common symptom of trichomoniasis. Women suffering with this infection will experience pain during intercourse, vaginal itching and lower abdominal pain. Trichomoniasis needs to be treated with antibiotics and should be done as soon as possible. If treatment is not obtained, those affected will pass on the parasite to others. Women with trichomoniasis are also more at risk of contracting HIV. Therefore, medical attention is strongly advised for those experiencing any of the abovementioned symptoms.
Yellow Discharge of Vaginal Fluid
Cloudy or greenish-yellow discharge of vaginal fluid with an offensive odor can be caused by Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia or vaginitis. Other symptoms such as abdominal pain, discomfort during sexual intercourse, itchiness, and watery discharge may also be experienced with any of these causes. As discharges with color indicate a cause for concern, you must not postpone seeking medical advice. These conditions, if left untreated, can lead to more serious conditions. They can permanently damage the internal reproductive organs and reduce the ability to conceive. It can also increase the risk of spreading the infection. Yellow or cloudy discharge of vaginal fluid can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes and should be brought to the attention of a doctor without delay.
White Discharge of Vaginal Fluid
Thick, cheesy, white vaginal discharge can be due to a yeast infection which is also called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Yeast infection is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus is present in body areas that have warm and moist conditions. Candida bacteria reside in the human skin, the mouth and the virginal area normally as well. However, certain factors can trigger an overgrowth, causing a yeast infection. If you have been on medication such as antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids, these can affect the natural balance in yeast growth, causing an outbreak. Similarly, those with high blood sugar levels are also susceptible to this sort of infection as the condition of diabetes promotes proliferation of yeast growth. Use of scented sanitary products is ill-advised as such chemical exposure can also alter the delicate balance in skin fungus levels. Irritation and itching in the vagina, swelling and redness of the vulva, pain during sex and when urinating are among the common symptoms of a yeast infection. You are advised to wear loose, cotton underwear, and to keep the vaginal area dry and clean, in order to avoid or alleviate a yeast outbreak. There are quick and easy to administer medications that can treat yeast infections effectively. Therefore, seeking advice from your gynaecologist can save you from a lot of discomfort and embarrassment.
Women who experience unusually smelly, potent, unnatural discharge may be suffering with bacterial vaginosis. The most significant symptom of this condition is a strong “fishy” odor in the discharge and an itching and burning sensation. Grayish-white vaginal discharge is another symptom of vaginosis. Vaginosis can be treated using natural remedies as well as prescription medication. However, certain bacterial infections will need a strong course of antibiotics such as Tinidazole, Metronidazole, or Clindamycin. Preventive measures include wearing cotton underwear, ensuring cleanliness, avoiding the use of harsh chemical exposure through douches or scented sanitary products and adhering to safe sex practices.
Unusual amounts of vaginal discharge, especially caused by infections, can be embarrassing, uncomfortable as well as lead to unnecessary health complications. Paying close attention to cleanliness, as well as obtaining medical attention if any symptoms are experienced, is a must for any woman, no matter what age they are.
Tags: brown vaginal discharge, green vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, white vaginal discharge, yellow discharge
Filed under: General, Vagina Health