Complaints of vaginal discharge are quite common in women of reproductive age. Vaginal discharges are normal because of the physiologic processes that happen in the female reproductive tract. So, when should you be worried about your vaginal discharge and what could changes in your vaginal discharges mean? That’s what this post is all about.
Normal vaginal discharge is whitish in colour but might become yellow on contact with air through oxidation. This physiologic discharge can be increased during the middle of a lady’s menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and sometimes due to a combined oral contraceptive.
Vaginal discharges which are yellow or greenish in colour with an offensive or fishy smell, with or without itching are not normal. Sometimes this smell is noticed around the time of menstruation or just after sexual intercourse. This might be due to a sexually transmitted disease.
Every abnormal vaginal discharge isn’t caused by a sexually transmitted infection. In a scenario where there is a disruption of the natural flora of the vagina, abnormal vaginal discharge can occur.
For example, some women have the unwarranted habits of washing deep inside the vagina all in the name of cleanliness, this has been found to disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina and can also alter the normal pH of the vagina. Changes in the composition of the bacteria that normally reside within the vagina can lead to increased risk of vaginal infections such as yeast infections.
Besides, wearing of tight-fitting clothing and underwear have also been implicated to cause vaginal discharges. Heat and moisture favour the growth of candida (a type of fungi species) and as such it’s thought that women who wear tight pants and trousers are more prone to vaginal discharges caused by yeast infections than those who wear skirts and loose fitting clothing.
In this discharge caused by yeast, there is usually associated fishy smell, with itching or soreness of the vagina. Common factors that predispose people to this includes excessive use of broad spectrum antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy like steroids, certain skin condition like eczema, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity and HIV .
Sometimes, this vaginal discharge is recurring after treatment for up to four or more times in a year, this might be due to Diabetes Mellitus, non-compliance with medications, re-infection from an infected partner, HIV or those caused by some strains which are difficult to treat.
Stay healthy and be safe!