Vaginal discharge is very normal thing since it has the function of keeping the hygiene of the female reproductive system on high level. The discharge is a fluid that is produced by glands inside vagina and cervix and it takes out dead cells and bacteria. This process keeps the reproductive system clean and prevents various infections.
WHAT EXACTLY IS VAGINAL DISCHARGE?
Every woman has vaginal discharge from the time the menstrual cycle begins until menopause. The amount and kind of this discharge is different in every person so it is very hard to determine what means normal discharge. The amount of discharge is also different and may vary under influence of hormones, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, stress, age etc.
Vaginal discharge can be transparent, whitish or even yellow when you notice it on your underwear. But the color, amount and the smell of the discharge can be upsetting especially if you don’t know what caused the change.
The pH in the vagina is acidic so that it can be protected from infections. The pH changes and it is less acidic before menstruation when the risk of infections is increased. There are also some other things that affect the value of pH in the vagina like sexual intercourse or semen. This causes imbalance in the vaginal flora and grow of germs that cause the smell to become unpleasant. So when the natural balance if vaginal flora is disturbed the risk is higher of increased amount of discharge that is not like the normal one and if besides unusual smell you feel itchiness then it is probably some kind of yeast infection. They are usually happening in the second phase of the menstrual cycle.
KINDS OF VAGINAL DISCHARGE
Experts will usually tell you that there are six kinds of vaginal discharge according to the composition.
First kind consists of mucus, some white blood cells, and Doderlein bacilli. This kind is usually present in young girls before puberty.
Second kind is same as first with some extra streptococcus, staphylococcus and rare bacilli called coli. Even though there are present bacteria this kind is also normal.
Third kind of vaginal discharge is composed of many leukocytes and a lot of pathogen bacteria but there is not presence of Doderlein bacilli. This kind of vaginal discharge usually goes without any following symptoms but it can be a start or spreading of infection and it needs medical treatment.
Group number four is heavy yellow secretion that is caused by gonococcus bacteria. It is infection that spreads fast and it is known as gonorrhea. This also requires proper medical treatment.
Fifth kind of vaginal discharge is caused by parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It may be caused with improper wiping as well as in those that have catheter.
The sixth kind consists of numerous leukocytes, dead cells and mucus and numerous Candida albicans colonies. This condition also requires proper medical treatment in order to avoid further complications.
WHEN IS THE TIME TO BE WORRIED?
As we said before, the term normal vaginal discharge is different for every woman. If we need to define normal vaginal discharge it will be something like transparent to white or creamy fluid with musky scent. Even though it is something normal a lot of women are upset when the amount of the vaginal discharge changes along with the color and the smell.
If the vaginal discharge is in the form of transparent fluid that you have daily it is totally normal. It can lower after menstruation and increase before ovulation and after sexual intercourse. This kind of vaginal discharge can also increase after some kind of physical activity as exercise so there is not a place for panic here.
This kind of vaginal discharge can happen in the first part of the menstrual cycle and it is usually nothing you should be worried about. Only if you notice that the fluid is becoming very thick and it is followed by symptoms like itchiness it may be some kind of yeast infection. This is when you need to take a little more care about hygiene, and if the condition is not improving see a doctor.
If you notice vaginal discharge that is stretchy it means that your body is preparing for pregnancy. Then the amount of estrogen in your body is increasing especially around the time of ovulation and this kind of vaginal discharge is also called fertility mucus and it is a sign that you can get pregnant.
You may notice vaginal discharge in pale pink color right before your menstruation but it is nothing you need to worry about. This is probably a sign that menstruation is starting in few days. if this happens in the middle of menstrual cycle it is a sign of early pregnancy.
Thick and lumpy
Milky white discharge that is thicker than usual with small lumps or grains through is something you should be careful about. This kind of discharge is usually a symptom of yeast infection that requires treatment or visit to your gynecologist.
If the vaginal discharge is followed with intense fish like smell then it may be a symptom of bacterial vaginosis. It is bacteria caused infection that requires gynecological examination and proper therapy.
Yellow to greenish
Vaginal discharge that is yellow to greenish color can be a symptom of gonorrhea or trichomoniasis and it is a sign you need to see your gynecologist immediately so that you get proper treatment.
As we already said before even increased amount of vaginal discharge is completely normal thing, what should be alarming are the following symptoms. If there are some symptoms as burning, itchiness, unpleasant smell or irritation then you need to go see a gynecologist because those symptoms are usually signs of infections that need to be treated.