The vagina is a mystical entity. Ok maybe mystical is a stretch - but it's pretty amazing. In a previous post we talked all about the awesome things that it can do.
Along with being quite impressive, the vagina is also very sensitive. The most common thing about all the vaginas in the world is vaginal discharge. You will rarely ever meet someone that can’t relate. In fact, vaginal discharge is one of the most common symptoms in gynecology. This is why it’s hard to determine exactly why you have it. It could be nearly anything, really. However, there are a few things you should know:
What causes vaginal discharge?
A rough generalization is that it can either be just a normal thing where the vagina is simply cleaning itself, or something abnormal that requires the attention of your doctor.
A normal vaginal discharge is a product of healthy physiological processes in your body. It appears as a result of hormones going up and down for various reasons - ovulation, pre-menstruation, post-menstruation, puberty, pregnancy or menopause. This type of vaginal discharge is usually colorless and odorless, and it simply looks healthy.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is a product of unhealthy physiological processes in your body. This discharge appears as a result of an infection or using things like menstrual products that contain perfumes, strong gels for intimate care, and in worst cases - cancer.
Infections can also cause an abnormal vaginal discharge. Infections such as candida, herpes simplex etc.
Here’s a few guidelines you can follow when it comes to vaginal discharge and recognizing what it might be:
Pink vaginal discharge - or as most of us refer to - period spotting, spotting. This is actually vaginal discharge common for those who are pregnant.
Yellow, light beige vaginal discharge - the cause could be a bacteria, and the symptoms you might experience are: burning, itching and swelling of and around the vaginal area.
White and thick vaginal discharge - the cause could be a vaginal infection like Candida, and you might experience itching, burning, pain during sexual intercourse and/or during urination.
Bloody and dark brown vaginal discharge that isn’t related to your period - if you have this and it’s been a while since your period, it is most likely a result of cervical or endometrial cancer. Symptoms include strong, sharp discomfort in the lower part of your stomach.
Yellow/green or white/yellow vaginal discharge - the cause could be gonorrhea . Symptoms you may experience are painful stomach, bleeding and frequent urge to pee.
Thick, white/grey,yellow/green vaginal discharge with a strong odor - this is most likely the result of a vaginal infection that is more serious, and apart from burning, itching and discomfort you might even feel pain in your lower abdomen.
In order to prevent pathology in your vaginal discharge, use products that are gentle on your body. If you are using traditional period products, make sure they don’t contain perfume. Even better, just switch to a menstrual cup.
Often times when vaginal infections are treated, a special diet is provided for the patient. Eating the right foods will keep you and your whole body - vagina and all! - happy.
If you are suspecting that your vaginal discharge might be a result of an infection, injury, irritation, or anything else out of the ordinary contact your doctor ASAP, especially if apart from feeling burning and itching you are also experiencing pain.
Here's to vaginas!