VAGINAL DISCHARGE

Vaginal discharge is the term used for fluid or mucus that emerges from the vagina. Vaginal discharge is a frequent problem for women, and it prompts many women to visit their healthcare professional. Some quantity of vaginal discharge is normal unless it happens with scratching, burning, or other unpleasant symptoms. Most physicians recommend an assessment to determine the cause, since various causes can have common symptoms.

COMMON CONCERNS OF VAGINAL DISCHARGE

Vaginal discharge is generated by the skin cells of the vagina and cervix under the control of the female  sex hormone, estrogen. Women that are menopausal typically have limited genital discharge owing to decreased levels of estrogen.

It is common for women who are premenopausal to have approximately one-half to one teaspoon (2 to 5 mL) of white or transparent, dense, mucus-like, yet often odorless vaginal discharge every day. However the volume and consistency of the discharge vary from woman to woman. The quantity can also vary at various times during the menstrual cycle. It can become more apparent during some moments, such as during breastfeeding, with the use of birth control pills/patch/vaginal ring, during ovulation, and during the week before menstrual cycle.

Normally, discharge includes vaginal skin cells, bacteria, mucus, and fluid formed by the vagina and cervix. Natural discharge also has a faint odor which can cause moderate vulva irritation. This discharge helps shield the vaginal and urinary tract from infection and lubricates the vaginal tissues.

Vaginal discharge is natural and common. However, vaginal discharge with the following signs and symptoms is not natural and should be reviewed by the healthcare professional:

  • Scratching of the vulva, opening of the vagina, or labia

  • The redness, burning, soreness , or swelling of the vulvar skin

  • Foamy or greenish-yellow discharge;

  • Unpleasant smell

  • Blood tinged vaginal discharge

  • Pain with urination or intercourse

  • Abdominal or abdominal pain

CAUSES OF ABNORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE

Abnormal vaginal discharge may be more likely to occur in women who follow behaviors, such as those who use douches, pantyliners every single day, "feminine hygiene" sprays, powders or rinses, bubble baths or other perfumed bath items, tight or restrictive synthetic garments (eg, thongs, synthetic underwear) (eg, thongs, synthetic underwear).

The most common causes of vaginal discharge are:

  • Infection of the vagina (yeast or bacterial infection, trichomonas)

  • Reaction of the body to a foreign body (such as a forgotten buffer or condom) or material (such as spermicide, soap) (such as spermicide, soap).

  • Changes that occur during menopause can cause vaginal dryness, particularly during intercourse, as well as watery vaginal discharge or other symptoms.

VULVOVAGINAL YEAST INFECTION

Vulvovaginal yeast infection is an infection that induces itching and vulva pain in the outer lips of the vagina. This type of infection is normally caused by a fungus called a "candida" (Yeast are a type of fungus.)

symptoms of a yeast infection

  • Itching the vulva (this is the most common symptom)

  • Pain, redness, or vulvar and vaginal irritation.

  • Pain when  urinating

  • Pain during sex

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, which can be thick and white or thin and watery.

WAYS TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A YEAST INFECTION

Most women cannot say whether they have a yeast infection or anything else. a The signs of yeast infection are just like that of many other diseases, but it's difficult to tell.

The easiest way to figure out whether you have a yeast infection is to visit your medical professional. A swab (Q-tip) is run inside your vagina to obtain vaginal fluids. Then he or she will observe the vaginal fluids under a microscope and look for the fungus that causes yeast infections. Often a test is performed to figure out which sort of yeast you've got.

BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS

Bacterial vaginosis is a disease in the vagina that can cause foul-smelling vaginal discharge.  people with bacterial vaginosis may have a lot of vaginal discharge, or a vaginal discharge that feels unpleasant.

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by certain bacteria (germs). The vagina typically contains various species of bacteria. But when the volume or form of bacteria varies, an infection may occur.

Bacterial vaginosis typically involves individuals who are sexually active or have been sexually active. If you have a new sex partner or more than one partner, the chance of having it rises. This is true whether the partners are male or female.

If you have bacterial vaginosis, you have a greater risk of contracting other diseases that transmit through sex. You can reduce this risk by use of contraceptives during sex.

SYMPTOMS OF BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS

Some individuals with bacterial vaginosis show no symptoms at all. If signs do occur, they frequently include a "fishy-smelling" vaginal discharge. The discharge is watery and white or gray. The odor can be more apparent during your menstruation or after intercourse with a male partner – this occurs when semen (a fluid emitted during sex) is combined with the vaginal fluid.

You may also experience a burning sensation in your vagina.

Bacteria vaginosis can be treated with either Methonidazole or Clindamycin. But you and your medical professional will decide which medication is right for you.

TRICHOMONIASIS

Trichomoniasis is an infection that you can contract when having sex. Infections that spread during reproduction are called "sexually transmitted infections," or "STIs."

Both women and men can have trichomoniasis.

Some individuals with trichomonosis show no symptoms.This is true of both men and some women.

Trichomoniasis is treated with a drug that comes in tablets. There are 2 prescription medications for trichomoniasis:

  • The metronidazole (sample brand name: Flagyl) (sample brand name: Flagyl)

  • Tinidazole (brand name: Tindamax)

WAYS TO PREVENT COMMON VAGINAL INFECTIONS

Regardless of the cause, vaginal infection is typically caused by an unhealthy perineal flora.

Perineum is the region of the body containing vulva, vagina and rectum. Just like other open areas in the body such as nose and mouth, this area is in direct contact with the outside world, which makes it prone to getting infected. 

Following strategies can help prevent vaginal infections;

  1. Safe sex and perineal hygiene - Abstinence, use of condoms, and cleansing before and after an intimate encounter in addition to mindful practices such as avoiding unhygienic intimate encounters and routine cleansing can help prevent vaginal infections.

  2. Hydration and healthy diet - Hydration helps flush microbial and mucus burden and balances pH. In addition, avoiding sugary and processed foods helps maintain healthy perineal flora which prevent vaginal infections. 

  3. Microbiome balance - In addition to healthy diet, when necessary, use of a probiotic can helpp balance gut flora which in turn leads to a healthy microbial environment in the perineum and prevents vaginitis. 

  4. Hormone balance - Certain conditions such as menopause, peri-menopause and conditions associated with abnormal estrogen and progesterone balance can alter vaginal mucosa and lead to infection. Hormone evaluation can help identify such problems. 

  5. Avoidance of unnecessary meds - Certain medications such as antibiotics and steroids alter perineal pH and also cause destruction of healthy microbes. This permits unhealthy microbes and leads to infection. 

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