10 Most Common Causes Of Vaginal Discharge
10 Most Common Causes Of Vaginal Discharge
A vaginal discharge (leukorrhea) is normal in certain amounts in healthy women, this being the way by which the vagina cleans itself and maintains a state of equilibrium. So, when the vagina is healthy it is kept “in shape” just by these secretions, perfectly normal. The secreted fluid has a slight smell, a milky consistency, a cloudy-white or transparent color, and when dried the linen acquires a yellowish hue. The amount secreted varies with the menstrual cycle and from woman to woman.
Factors that can change the consistency and appearance of secretions
- Menstrual cycle
- Emotional stress
- OTC products (very popular drugs, which require no prescription – analgesics / sedatives, drugs for stomach pain, heartburn or hormonal drugs)
- Sexual arousal
- Certain diets
Other factors that can negatively influence the pH of the vagina and cause infections are: gels for intimate hygiene, soaps, antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes or the existence of other infections.
Every woman has her own “pattern” of vaginal secretions, during a menstrual cycle. Due to the fact that there can be differences that does not necessarily mean abnormality,to detect the normality or abnormality, it is much easier to track the change in “pattern”. And it is easy to determine if the vaginal discharge is normal or not by knowing how a vaginal discharge must not be. One of the most common and unpleasant manifestations of women is an abnormal vaginal discharge. And while some women decide to undergo a more rigorous intimate hygiene (which is not always a solution to this problem), many women immediately set an appointment with their doctor. In case of a pathological state (disease of the genital area) a series of changes occur in terms of quantity (it increases), texture (becomes watery or cheesy), color (turns gray, green, yellow), smell (becomes unpleasant) changes that may be associated with the emergence of states such as itching, tingling, pain during intercourse and burning sensations.
A recent study has determined the top 10 causes of vaginal secretions change, and their characteristics as follows:
- Bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the number of bacteria that form the normal vaginal flora increase considerably. This medical condition symptoms are a gray discharge, with a lingering smell of fish, as well as irritation and burning in the vuvlo-vaginal area, which tends to worsen after intercourse. Bacterial vaginosis does not qualify for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and can be easily treated with antibiotics.
- Vaginal Candidiasis. Vaginal candidiasis is an infection caused by a bacterium called Candida albicans, saprophyte that lives in the digestive and vaginal cavity in wet environments. Manifestations of vaginal candidiasis: white, milky vaginal discharge, irritation and itching of the vulvo-vaginal area and labia, and even pain during intercourse or urination. This infection is most often found in women taking antibiotics, pregnant or those who have diabetes. Treatment for candidiasis is based on antifungal creams and eggs.
- Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis bacteria, and is part of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), manifested by profuse and watery, yellow or green discharge, with an unpleasant odor and pain during intercourse or urination. Also this infection has no symptoms for a long period of time after the exposure to Trichomonas vaginalis bacteria.
- Chlamydia. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) and it caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Symptoms associated with chlamydia, when they exist are, manifested by a yellowish discharge, milky, like mucus, with a subtle scent, but unpleasant, pain during urination or intercourse and abdominal pain. Undetected and treated, chlamydia can cause serious damage to the reproductive system.
- Gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhea that affects the urethra, cervix, anus, rectum, throat, pelvic organs and sometimes the conjunctiva (the membrane lining the eyelid and eye surface, leading to conjunctivitis). Symptoms of this infection include: vaginal discharge with an intense odor, pain during urination, fever and chills, or irregular menstrual discharge. Untreated, gonorrhea in time will develop a pelvic inflammatory disease and can be even the cause of infertility.
- Genital herpes. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by herpes simplex II virus, manifested by the appearance on the genitalia of small watery blisters, a watery vaginal discharge, itching and irritation, pain during intercourse and urination.
- Forgotten tampons or foreign bodies. Forgotten tampons or foreign bodies inside the vaginal cavity will cause a dark discharge with a foul odor. This type of infection is extremely dangerous because it can lead to toxic shock syndrome or even speticemia.
- Infected IUD. There are situations when the intrauterine device (IUD) can become infected leading to a purulent vaginal discharge and tenderness of the uterine cavity. In this case it is generally recommended to urgently remove the IUD.
- Atrophic vaginitis. During the post-menopausal stage, estrogen levels in the body decrease significantly which causes changes in the vaginal cavity tissues. This medical condition is called atrophic vaginitis. Manifestations of these conditions are: watery discharge, sometimes bloody, inflammation of the vagina, and thinning or atrophy of tissues. Atrophic vaginitis can be treated with topical application of estrogen creams.
- Cervical or vaginal cancer.Although it happens rarely, cancer of the lower genital tract may be the cause of a continuous discharge, watery, pink, brown, bloody and malodorous.
Whatever the cause of the vaginal changes, when you experience any of these symptoms you need to immediately contact your doctor.