Is white discharge normal?
You might have noticed white discharge before you get your periods and it is absolutely normal. Normal vaginal discharge happening in a women’s body has a purpose – it is for moisturizing your vagina.
It is a form of mucus produced in the cervix that helps in cleaning vagina and in preventing any kind of infection. Although the discharge during or before you periods is normal, you need to be cautious when you start noticing some changes. So how to distinguish between a normal and abnormal white discharge?
Normally healthy white discharge is clear in color, and it is completely odorless. You will experience uncomfortable wetness down there without any itchiness.
What are normal white discharges?
- It is common to notice white discharge before periods is a natural process in your body. This kind of discharge is simply a mucus secretion and is not a signal for any infection
- White discharge during this period is to enable the sperm to reach fast towards the egg for fertilization.
- Excessive white discharge in between your period is also normal.
- A pregnant woman will also have white vaginal discharge during her pregnancy period in the first trimester. It is actually your body getting prepared to implant the baby safely in your vagina. As a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, there will be an increase in the secretions in your vagina, and this looks similar to a white discharge.
- When you are excited sexually, vaginal discharge happens as a natural lubricant to make a plot for intercourse. The hormonal rush is the cause for the secretions which results in white discharge. At this time, you will experience heavier discharge than in normal situations.
- Stress is another aggravating factor causing excessive vaginal discharge. Stress results in hormonal imbalances in a woman’s body and leads to discharges. Although discharge is excessive, it is not considered as harmful to the body.
Unlike the normal discharge, white discharge caused due to infection will be accompanied by discomfort and itchiness around your vagina.
What does the color of the discharge indicate?
Clear and thin
It indicates that your ovulation has started, and the discharge is just mucus.
White and thick
Thick, white colored discharge is usually seen at the beginning and end of your period cycle.
Clear and watery
This can occur commonly between your period cycles and also after a heavy, sweaty exercise session.
Brown color discharge is also natural, and it is seen right after the end of periods, and the color is just old blood that was in the vagina.
Yellow or green color discharge that is thicker may indicate an infection.
Causes for abnormal white discharge
Actually, there is a small percentage of Candid Albicans (a type of yeast) present in a women’s vagina. An infection occurs when the amount of yeast exceeds its normal level due to changes in PH level. Yeast infections don’t transmit sexually. The cause for yeast infection includes the use of birth control pills, stress, pregnancy, usage of any medicines and diabetes. The symptoms of the conditions increase the amount of white clumpy discharge, redness, burning sensation and itching in the vaginal area.
The treatment for the condition is to reduce the yeast growth and balance the PH level of your vagina. Treatment generally consists of the intake of antifungal table and application of vaginal lotions or creams to reduce itchiness.
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of bacterial infection where there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. The PH balance of vagina gets upset due to the infection. The problem with this condition is that it often reoccurs and can exist along with other vaginal infections. Women having sex with several people are likely to get the bacterial infection, and the risk is high. The symptoms are increased amount of gray or white colored watery discharge along with foul fishy kind of odor. Increased bad odor soon after sexual intercourse is common. Although these are the general symptoms, most of the women don’t display any symptoms at all.
The treatment typically includes oral antibiotic pills along with antibiotic cream to apply to the affected area. There are some diet restrictions when one is affected with the bacterial infection; alcohol consumption should be completely avoided during the treatment.
This is a type of infection caused by protozoa and it gets transmitted through sex. The unicellular protozoa survive up to a day in the wet environment and can be transmitted through the bath suites and towels used by the infected person. Symptoms include inflammation of the vagina, a bad odor with discharge and temptation to pass urine frequently.
The treatment is similar to that of bacterial infection. The infected person is prescribed with metronidazole along with vaginal lotions. Usually, patients are asked to avoid sexual intercourse during the treatment period.
Other than the above mentioned reasons, there can be many other physiological reasons for excessive white discharge. One example is that the condition may be cervical erosion where the wall linings on the cervix are single layered instead of multilayered. This situation happens because of fluctuations in estrogen levels, and there is no specific treatment for this. The only way to treat it is to control the discharge if it exceeds the limit.
How to prevent vaginal infections
- Use protection while having sex.
- Eat healthily and drink enough water.
- Avoid using vaginal lotions having a strong fragrance.
- Wear clean undergarments.
- Avoid using oils as a lubricant.
- Avoid self-medication.
- Keep private areas clean and dry always.
If you notice any kind of abnormal white discharge, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. You need to notice these kinds of symptoms with extra caution especially if you have had sex. Most of the sexually transmitted diseases can cause variations in vaginal discharges. Also, visit the doctor soon if you experience any other symptoms like fever along with abnormal white discharge. If you experience any abnormal pain during sex, there is a chance that you have an infection, and it should not be ignored. Identifying the symptoms in the early stage makes the treatments relatively easy. In the initial stage, these conditions can be treated with medications alone but in advance stages, you have to take additional care.