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Is Vaginal Discharge A Small Matter?

Image 1: Colors of Vaginal Discharge[1]

 

What is vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a fluid released by small glands in the cervix and vagina. Every day, this fluid flows from the vaginal opening, removing old cells and debris and keeping the vagina and reproductive system clean and healthy.

The amount of vaginal discharge differs from one person to the next. Depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, the color, consistency, and amount can differ from day to day:

  • Days 1–5. At the beginning of the cycle, discharge is usually red or bloody, as the body sheds the uterine lining.
  • Days 6–14. Following a period, a person may notice less vaginal discharge than usual. As the egg starts to develop and mature, the cervical mucus will become cloudy and white or yellow. It may feel sticky.
  • Days 14–25. A few days before ovulation, the mucus will be thin and slippery, similar to the consistency of egg whites. After ovulation, the mucus will go back to being cloudy, white or yellow, and possibly sticky or tacky.
  • Days 25–28. The cervical mucus will lighten, and a person will see less of it, before getting another period.

 

Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes like cleaning and moistening the vagina, and helping to prevent and fight infections. It's normal for the color, texture, and amount of vaginal discharge to change at different times of the month during a girl's menstrual cycle. But some changes in discharge may mean there is a problem.

 

Normal vaginal discharge can be:

  • Somewhat thin, sticky, and elastic.
  • Thick and gooey.

It's common for some girls to have a lot of vaginal discharge. To keep their undergarments dry, they may even need to use a pantiliner. Other females may have little or no vaginal discharge. The color of the vaginal fluids should be clear, white, or off-white.

 

These signs can mean there's a problem with a girl's discharge:

  • Change in odor, especially an unpleasant odor.
  • Change in color, especially greenish, grayish, or anything looking like pus.
  • Change in texture, such as foamy or looking like cottage cheese.
  • Vaginal itching, burning, swelling, or redness.
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting is not a menstrual period.

 

Infections are the most common cause of the unusual vaginal discharge. These infections include:

 

It's common to wonder if the color or consistency of vaginal discharge is normal or should be checked out. The vaginal discharge comes in a variety of colors, some of which signify a healthy body.

 

Red

The color red can range from brilliant to dark rusty red. Bleeding during a period is the most common cause of the red discharge. Menstrual bleeding occurs every 28 days on average, with the usual range being 21 to 35 days. A period is usually 3–5 days long. Anyone who has bleeding in between menstrual periods should seek medical attention. Intermenstrual bleeding can be caused by a variety of benign conditions, but it can also be an indication of something more serious. If you've reached menopause and haven't had a period in at least a year, you should contact a doctor if you're experiencing vaginal bleeding. It's likely an indication of endometrial cancer.

White

Cream or pale yellow are examples of white shades. White discharge is often a sign of good lubrication if there are no other symptoms. If the white discharge is thick like cottage cheese and has a strong odor, it could be an infection. A person should consult with a medical professional. A yeast infection causes a white, thick, strong-smelling discharge that can itch or irritate the skin.

Yellow-green

It's possible that a minor yellow color in the discharge doesn't signal a problem. This is especially true if the color change is only caused by a change in diet or dietary supplements. A bacterial or sexually transmitted infection is frequently indicated by a discharge that is a darker shade of yellow, yellowish-green, or green. If vaginal discharge is thick, clumpy, or has a foul odor, see a doctor immediately.

Pink

The discharge can be a bright pink or a darker pink. It frequently has a small amount of blood in it. Spotting before a period is the most prevalent cause of the pink discharge. It can be an indication of implantation bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy. After ovulation, some people experience a little spotting, which can lead to pink discharge. If the sex causes minor tears or irritation in the vaginal or cervix, the discharge can be pink after sexual intercourse.

Clear

The majority of vaginal discharge is clear or pale in color. It could be slick or have an egg-white consistency. Just before ovulation, during sexual arousal, and throughout pregnancy, a person is more likely to have a clear, slick discharge.

Gray

Gray vaginal discharge is unhealthful, and it can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, a frequent bacterial infection (BV)[3].

BV usually causes other vaginal symptoms as well, including:

  • itching
  • irritation
  • a strong odor
  • redness around the vulva or vaginal opening

Anyone with gray discharge should promptly see a doctor. Following diagnosis, the doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics[4] to treat the BV.

When to see the doctor

Consult a doctor if your vaginal discharge changes for no particular reason. If your vaginal discharge has an odd odor or appearance, see your doctor. If you have any of the following vaginal symptoms, you should see a doctor.

  • itching
  • pain or discomfort
  • discharge that is frothy or like cottage cheese
  • bleeding between periods or after menopause
  • spotting after sex regularly
  • grey, green, or yellow discharge
  • a strong odor
  • a burning sensation during urination

The doctor will perform a pelvic exam. They may also need to take a sample of discharge for testing.

Home remedies for yeast infections

There are natural ways to treat yeast infections. These home remedies for yeast infections are convenient for those wanting to go a more natural, discreet route.

 

1. Bluace's Coconut Oil.

Coconut oil, extracted from the flesh of coconuts, has antifungal characteristics that occur naturally. Coconut oil has been discovered to help block the candida bacteria that causes yeast infections, according to a Scientifica study. Bluace’s virgin coconut oil is a 100% natural product from India. This product does not contain gluten, is cholesterol-free, has no artificial ingredients, and has no sugar added. This product comes in a 250ml bottle at an affordable price. Most importantly this product does not cause irritation and discomfort.

Tips: To utilize this treatment, simply apply coconut oil to the affected area[5]. 

 

2. Cranberola Cranberry Sachets Drinks.

These small red fruits have amazing healing powers. They not only serve to treat bladder infections, but they can also help treat vaginal fungus. In addition to being a good reproductive tonic for women, natural cranberry juice can help restore a healthy pH balance in the vagina. This will help you fight any problems with fungus. Cranberry juice and pills are also very high in vitamin C, which can also help prevent infection[6]. Cranberola juice sachet from Bluace is very rich in cranberry extract and very good for UTI and yeast infection. This product does not contain sugar and also helps to stabilize the pH level in the vagina to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.

 

3. Cranberola Natural Feminine Wash.

Avoid irritating feminine products. Certain soaps and other cosmetic products can irritate the very delicate areas of the female body. Many of them are made with alcohol and other toxic active ingredients that alter the vaginal pH and make it more vulnerable to infections but Cranberola feminine wash from Bluace does not cause irritation and is affordable. This product will regulate the pH level in the vagina because it contains lactobacillus which will help to cure the vaginal infection by maintaining the biome and restoring balance in the vagina[7]. This product does not contain Paraben and SLS therefore, it is gentle to the skin compared to other products which will cause irritation and discomfort to the skin.

 

3. Douching.

Yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter douches, which also alleviate inflammation and discomfort. However, the majority of studies demonstrate that douching has negative consequences, and only a few studies have beneficial results. Doctors advise women not to douche because it might cause problems getting pregnant, vaginal infections, and sexually transmitted illnesses, according to the Office of Women's Health (STIs).

 

4. Organic garlic.

The antifungal properties of garlic and garlic oil are widely established. It even has antifungal properties against Candida albicans, according to research. Simply increase the amount of fresh garlic in your food and use it in more meals. 

 

5. Probiotics.

Probiotics contain live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the vaginal area. In addition to yeast infections, they may be used to treat or prevent bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections[8].

Probiotic supplements can be purchased online or in stores. The effects of these oral supplements can take up to ten days to appear. Some women have used probiotics as vaginal suppositories to shorten the time it takes to see results. 

Tips: Eating yogurt (with live and active cultures) is another good way to increase probiotic intake.  

 

6. Yogurt

Because of its high probiotic concentration, yogurt with live and active cultures is an effective treatment for yeast infections. Probiotics, as previously noted, can aid in the fight against Candida albicans. Eating yogurt with Lactobacillus acidophilus helps inhibit yeast growth. While probiotic-enriched yogurt can help with yeast infections. Use only plain, unsweetened yogurt or unsweetened Greek yogurt for this procedure. Sugar in yogurt would aid candida's growth and flourish[9]. 

How to prevent vaginal discharge

There are several ways to prevent a vaginal discharge.

  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. Antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in the vagina, causing an overgrowth of yeast, thus leading to abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Wear cotton undergarments. A Loose-fitting, cotton undergarment is most conducive to a healthy microbiome. Avoid garments that are tight and aren’t as breathable, such as leggings. These clothes can create a humid, damp area, which is the ideal environment for candida overgrowth. Because of this, it is also important to change out of damp or sweaty clothes, like workout clothes or swimwear, quickly.
  • Avoid hot tubs and scalding hot baths, which foster candida growth, due to the warm, moist environments.
  • Take probiotics or eat yogurt with probiotics since they help balance the vaginal microflora. As well as treatment for abnormal vaginal discharge, probiotics are helpful in the prevention of yeast infections. The best probiotic to take will be with those containing the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 bacteria.
  • Avoid behaviors that may lead to yeast infections, such as poor hygiene. When performing personal hygiene practices, avoid douching, scented vaginal washes or scented lotions, as well as perfumed sanitary products near the genitals, which can throw off the balance of the vagina’s microflora.
  • Avoid sugary and processed foods. Yeast grows from sugar, so this can cause a surplus of yeast growth and produce abnormal vaginal discharge.

 

Causes of recurring vaginal discharge.

Some women are more susceptible to abnormal vaginal discharge than others and will have recurring abnormal vaginal discharge. Sexual activity. While yeast infections are not sexually transmitted infections (STI), partners can pass the candida to each other. To prevent this, use condoms or dental dams and practice good hygiene after sexual intercourse, such as showering. Avoid having intercourse when one partner has a yeast infection which will cause abnormal vaginal discharge.

The original yeast infection was not completely treated or the yeast infection is caused by a drug-resistant strain. Symptoms may disappear before the infection is fully treated. When this happens, the yeast infection will come back and cause abnormal vaginal discharge. There are also strains of yeast that are more drug-resistant, which makes it harder to get rid of than others. 

There are other infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, or STIs, that may have similar symptoms. This is one of the most important reasons for visiting a doctor, such as a gynecologist or primary care physician, when the vaginal discharge does not clear up.

Those with certain conditions, such as impaired immune system, pregnancy, or uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to abnormal vaginal discharge. Although they may help, home remedies for vaginal discharge are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Results vary. If symptoms do not resolve within a few days, be sure to see a healthcare provider.

REFERENCES

[1]“Vaginal Discharge Color Guide: Causes and When to See a Doctor.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322232.

[2] Miller, R. R. (Ed.). (2018, October). Vaginal discharge: What's normal, what's not (for teens) - nemours kidshealth. KidsHealth. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/vdischarge2.html.

[3] MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Bacterial vaginosis: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/184622.

[4] MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Antibiotics: Uses, resistance, and side effects. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10278.

[5] Shino, B., Peedikayil, F. C., Jaiprakash, S. R., Ahmed Bijapur, G., Kottayi, S., & Jose, D. (2016, March 14). Comparison of antimicrobial activity OF Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, probiotics, AND ketoconazole on Candida albicans isolated in children with early Childhood Caries: An in vitro study. Scientifica. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2016/7061587/.

[6] Related. (2020, October 7). 10 effective Vaginal yeast INFECTION home remedies. Best Herbal Health. https://www.bestherbalhealth.com/vaginal-yeast- infection-home-remedies/.

[7] Vedantu. (2021, April 14). Lactobacillus. VEDANTU. https://www.vedantu.com/biology/lactobacillus.

[8] Fares BS, Abd el Kader S, Abd El Hamid AA, Gaafar HM. Effect of ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus on vulvovaginal candidiasis among women attending a gynecological clinic. Egypt Nurs J 2017;14:41-9. Available from: http://www.enj.eg.net/text.asp?2017/14/1/41/206943.

[9] N. R. | O., Roder, N., & Roder, N. (2021, January 11). How to prevent a yeast infection from antibiotics.The Checkup. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/yeast-infection-from-antibiotics/.

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