The vagina plays several key roles in maintaining women’s health body. Under normal conditions the vagina performs self-cleaning method wherein it flushes out the dead debris of cells in the form of discharge. The amount of discharge varies from its color, texture, odor depending on their woman’s monthly cycle and stages of her life, but variety of this White Vaginal Discharge of vaginal fluid discharge can also impose health risk conditions.
What is vaginal discharge?
In This Article
- 1 What is vaginal discharge?
- 2 Types of Normal White Discharge
- 3 What is abnormal discharge?
- 4 Types & Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- 5 Treatment for White Vaginal Discharge
- 6 When to seek Medical Professional?
Women often experienced a vaginal discharge in normal occurrence. The white vaginal discharge is a fluid that made by glands inside of women reproductive organ specifically in the cervix where it releases away the dead cells and bacteria through the vaginal opening.
In most cases this kind of discharge is perfectly normal especially if it’s odorless. However, certain types of release of this milky fluid can be a sign of infection. The color of the fluid releases through the vagina is categorizes based from its color consistency and odor. Some of these are normal but others signals health risk condition and treatment must be sought upon.
Types of Normal White Discharge
There are four types of white discharge that most women normally experience. In many cases the presence of creamy white fluid can be a sign of ovulation. During the ovulation stage, the women’s body is intact with high amount of progesterone (this progesterone causes the menstruation) which leads to a continuous discharge of the fluid.
When women are pregnant, it is expected that the body undergoes changes and the first stage that will experienced is the release of creamy white and thick fluid which is called Leukorrhea. During this stage the vagina is extremely well functioning to perform more discharge in order to keep the cervix healthy, moist and sealed.
Prior to the start of menstruation the discharge of white fluid is perfectly normal. Women shouldn’t worry about this event, because this type of discharge is normal at the beginning and end of the menstruation period.
It is also common to release white thick fluid during or after sexual intercourse. The fluid that released by female organ that acts a natural lubricant as well as hormones that causes sensation of arousal. If particular woman is sexually aroused, there is a natural phenomenon of excessive discharge of creamy white fluid from the vagina.
What is abnormal discharge?
As the color and consistency of the vaginal discharge is concern, it plays a significant role in determining your health condition. The vaginal discharge starts from normal color of milky white fluid to clear and brown color. However, if the discharge turned into unusual state of color such as yellow or green, pink, thick and white cheesy appearance and accompanied by recurring itch then it is a red flag condition.
Types & Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
1. Yellow or Green Vaginal Discharge
An appearance of this kind of discharge is not normal, especially if the fluid is thick and chunky and accompanied by pain and itching while urinating. This type of vaginal discharge is a symptom of sexually transmitted diseases, commonly known as Trichomoniais.
Fig.2 A magnification of Trichomonas Vaginalis, that causes Trichomoniais.
The Trichomoniais is caused by protozoan (single celled organism). This parasite is passed from an infected person to an uninfected during the unprotected intercourse. During the foreplay the parasite is being transmitted from the penile organ going to vagina, or vice versa, but it can also be spread from vagina to another vagina.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70% infected people do not experience symptoms. If ever the parasite caused symptoms, they only range from mild irritation to severe inflammation. It is unpredictable also if get the infection, because some of the symptoms only develop within 5-28 days after being infected and others do not develop any sign and symptoms until much later.
CDC also reported that in the United States an estimated prevalence rate of Trichomoniais infection is about 3.7 million people but only 30% showed the symptoms. The infection is commonly reported among women than men, specifically older women than younger women.
2. Cloudy Yellow
Another distinction of vaginal discharge is the presence of cloudy yellow fluid. This discharge color imply Gonorrhea or known as the “clap” or “drip” gonorrhea. This type of sexually infection is contagious disease and can be transmitted through bodily fluids.
Gonorrhea is caused by bacterium known as Neisseria Gonorrhea, a venereal disease that thrives in the mucus membrane of the body. This type of organism can grow and multiply in warm, moist areas of the body such as for women they can live in the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes while for men they can inhabit in the urethra-the passage that releases the urine coming from the bladder. Furthermore, the infection can also proliferate in the mouth, throat and anus.
Fig.3 Computerized Illustration of Neisseria Gonorrhea.
Sexually active teenagers have one of the highest infection rates as reported by the CDC. In fact, in 2015 among ages starting from 15 years old to 25 has the highest infection rate in the US despite of their age group and gender preference. The study was conducted from selected STD Clinics, 5 regional Laboratories together with the collaboration with the CDC in order to measure the frequency of antimicrobial susceptibilities of N. gonorrhea in the United States.
The common symptom of Gonorrhea for women is sometimes tricky, because they are mistaken for a bladder infection or yeast infection. However, the most common signs are as follows
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse or between menstruation periods.
- Frequent painful urination
- Excessive fluid discharge
- Genital irritation
- Pelvic pain
- Swollen and painful glands of the vagina
For men, the common symptoms are;
- Anal itching, bleeding or discomfort
- Abnormal penile discharge ranging from milky to yellow and sometime accompanied by blood fluid.
- Urethritis or Painful frequent urination
Symptoms can sometimes vary; seeking health professional will be much advantage.
3. Thick, White Cheesy Vaginal Discharge
The discharge of cheesy white vaginal discharge and thick fluid around the vaginal wall is similarly like any other sexually transmitted disease. This suggests that if women discharged a thick and cheesy vaginal fluid then most likely she is infected of the Yeast or known as the Candidiasis.
Candidiasis is caused by a type of yeast called Candida but most infection is caused by specific kind of yeast called Candida albicans. The microorganism usually found in small amounts in the body and the fungal infection can thrive around skin, genitals, mouth, throat and even blood.
Fig.4 Vaginal infection caused by Candidiasis around the vagina.
According to Mayo Clinic, vaginal yeast infection affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some points of their lifetimes. The infected individual will experience an itching irritation and burning sensation around the genital area and there is also swelling of the vulva. There will be also an excessive amount of watery vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, soreness and rash.
Yellow With Fishy Odor
The release of this kind of vaginal discharge is associated with the Bacterial Vaginosis. A kind of infection that is caused by bacteria although experts not sure about what specific bacteria causing the infection still the releases of a thick, yellow fluid with fishy odor implies vaginal inflammation.
Women with bacterial vagionosis usually suffer from mild problem that may eventually free after some times. However, a persistent symptom such as the following symptoms below indicates that you are infected of Bacterial Vaginosis.
- A white, gray or yellowish vaginal discharge
- A fishy odor that is strongest after sex or after washing with soap
- Itching or burning
- Slight redness and swelling of the vagina or vulva
Treatment for White Vaginal Discharge
Treatment for different types of White Vaginal Discharge or abnormal vaginal discharge often varies but there is finite goal and that is normalizing and treating them well. There are remedies for white vaginal discharge that can be done even at home and sometimes if the infection is severe case that is the time to seek for health professionals.
- Bathe Regularly– taking shower everyday will keep the bacteria away. Every day you must use mild and unscented soap to gently wash your private area and lessen the susceptibility to any microorganism.
- Avoid using sprays, douches or scented liquid– using scented sprays to cover the foul odor or adding scent on your area will not be helpful. Remember, vagina has its own cleansing process that occurs naturally.
- Always Practice Proper Hygiene– developing cleanliness all throughout the day will give assurance a 100% protection. For example, when wiping your genitals after your bowel movements make sure to wipe from front to back to avoid the proliferation of bacteria from the anus towards the vagina.
- Wear Cotton Clothing- avoid wearing tight jeans, underpants that is made from nylon, silk, or synthetics that can trap moisture in the genital area.
When to seek Medical Professional?
Beyond the suggested home remedies for white vaginal discharge, the best way to treat the infection very well is seek for medical advice coming from the health professionals. Call or visit your doctor if you experiencing unusual vaginal discharge from your daily routine. Always remember the consistency, color, odor and texture of your discharge because sometimes symptoms have overlapping signs. Therefore, do not assume or compare the symptoms you are experiencing similar to those you had before or information you just read in the internet.