Most women experience vaginal discharge throughout their menstrual cycle. This discharge is used by the body to clear away any dead skin cells or bacteria. While normal discharge is white or clear in color, there are times when women may experience a different type of discharge. In general, cottage cheese discharge is an indication that you may have a yeast infection. Your vaginal discharge should be clear and odorless. It may be stretchy, watery or slightly sticky. If it is cottage cheese like or has a foul odor, you should make an appointment with your doctor because you most likely have some kind of infection.
The Causes of Cottage Cheese Discharge
Most of the time, cottage cheese discharge is a sign of a yeast infection. Normally, the Candida fungus is present in your vagina and does not cause any problems. When the Candida fungus becomes overgrown, it can cause a yeast infection to happen. This may happen due to taking antibiotics, an illness or anything that could cause a pH change for your body.
When you have a yeast infection, you will most likely experience itchiness or soreness around your vagina. It may have a slight yeasty smell and can cause a burning sensation during urination. You may also experience a burning sensation during sexual intercourse. Redness and swelling around your vulva and vaginal pain are also indications of a yeast infection.
Women can develop a yeast infection at any age, but there are times when you are more likely to have this type of infection. Yeast infections are more likely if you use vaginal sprays or douches. They are more common in women who have a weakened immune system or who are pregnant. Likewise, women who take birth control medication that contains estrogen are more likely to have a yeast infection.
Treatments for Cottage Cheese Discharge
The only long-term way to treat cottage cheese discharge is to cure the vaginal infection. If you are sure that you have a yeast infection, there are over-the-counter medications and home remedies that can help. Since there are many infections that mimic the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should also go to a doctor to be diagnosed, especially if this is the first yeast infection that you have ever experienced.
1. Basic Medical Treatments for Yeast Infections
If you have a basic yeast infection, your doctor may prescribe certain antifungal medications like clotrimazole, terconazole, butoconazole and miconazole. These may be prescribed in cream, ointment or suppository forms. Some women experience burning or irritation when they first use these medications, but they are quite effective at treating the yeast infection. While you are taking medication for a yeast infection, make sure to use birth control options other than a diaphragm or latex condom.
Your doctor may also want to just give you a one-time or two-time dose of antifungal medication. He or she may prescribe a one dose of fluconazole or give you a second dose three days later. Both options can help with vaginal irritation, pain and discharge.
2. More Complex Treatments for a Yeast Infection
If you have severe, ongoing yeast infections, your doctor may resort to more intense treatment options. One option is to prescribe azole medication as a cream, ointment, suppository or pill for 7 to 14 days. Another option is to prescribe two to three doses of fluconazole in severe yeast infections, but this option is generally not ideal for pregnant women.
3. Self-Treatment Options to Prevent Yeast Infections
There are ways that you can prevent yeast infections and reduce their severity at home. Never, ever use douches or vaginal sprays. Your vagina is designed to be self-cleaning, and these products only disturb the natural pH of your body and make yeast infections more likely. You should never use soap to clean your vaginal area because water is enough. If you have any discomfort, avoid having sexual intercourse.
4. Home Treatments for Yeast Infections
Some users swear by applying or eating yogurt. Yogurt is a natural source of probiotic bacteria that are good for your body. You should stick to eating and using plain yogurt however so that you do not have additional sugar in your diet. Sugar can actually increase the chances of yeast infection because it provides fuel for fungi and bacteria to be overgrown.
5. Keep the Yeast at Bay
If you have yeast infections frequently, you should go to your doctor. Some sexually transmitted diseases have symptoms that are similar to yeast infections, so it is important that you make sure that another illness is not actually the cause. Your doctor may also want to prescribe oral fluconazole tablets for you to take each week for six months to prevent your yeast infections from returning for good.
Will a Yeast Infection Affect My Baby?
Women are more likely to experience a yeast infection if they are currently pregnant. Your immune system becomes depressed when you are pregnant, so it is more likely that you will develop the cottage cheese discharge of a yeast infection. Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter treatment or antifungal medication to treat the infection.
A yeast infection will not hurt your baby, but it is important for you to get professional medical treatment. Your doctor can tell you which medications are safest when you are pregnant. You need to treat the yeast infection before you give birth however because your baby could otherwise develop a mouth-based yeast infection called thrush during labor.