Table of Contents
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- A small amount of vaginal discharge is usually common. abnormal vaginal discharge
- The discharge consists of secretions (mucus) produced mainly by the cervix but also in the vagina.
- The discharge is usually thin and clear, milky white or yellowish.
- Its amount and appearance vary with age.
- The discharge usually is odorless. abnormal vaginal discharge
- It is not accompanied by itching or burning.
- Newborn girls normally have a vaginal discharge of mucus, often mixed with a small amount of blood.
- This discharge is due to estrogen absorbed from the mother before birth.
- It usually stops within 2 weeks as the level of estrogen in the blood decreases.
- Normally, older infants and girls, except those near puberty, do not have significant vaginal discharge. abnormal vaginal discharge
- During a woman’s reproductive years, the amount and appearance of the normal vaginal discharge vary with the menstrual cycle. For example, in the middle of the cycle or at ovulation, more mucus is usually produced and the mucus is thinner.
- Pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and sexual arousal also affect the appearance and amount of the discharge.
- After menopause, the estrogen level decreases, often reducing the amount of normal discharge.
- Vaginal discharge is considered abnormal under the following circumstances:
- If the discharge is heavier than usual.
- If the discharge is thicker than usual. abnormal vaginal discharge
- If the discharge is pus-like.
- If the discharge is white and clumpy.
- If the discharge is greyish, greenish, yellowish or blood-tinged.
- If the discharge is foul smelling.
- If the discharge is accompanied by itching, burning, rash or soreness.
- A discharge may indicate vaginitis – inflammation of the vagina, which may be due to a chemical irritant or due to an infection.
- In some women, vaginal lubricants, spermicides, vaginal creams or diaphragms, can irritate the vulva or vagina, causing inflammation.
- Contact with latex condoms can irritate the area in women allergic to latex.
- In young girls, a foreign object in the vagina can cause inflammation of the vagina, with a vaginal discharge that may contain blood. Most commonly it is a toilet paper that has worked its way into the vagina. Sometimes it’s a toy.
- A white, gray or yellowish cloudy discharge with a foul or fishy odor is typically caused by bacterial vaginosis.
- A thick, white, and clumpy discharge is typically caused by candidiasis, a yeast infection.
- A heavy, greenish yellow, frothy discharge that may have a bad odor is caused by trichomoniasis (an infection caused by protozoa).
- A watery, blood-tinged discharge may be caused by cancer of the vagina, cervix or lining of the uterus.
- Radiation therapy to the pelvis may also cause abnormal discharge.
Diagnosis and Treatment abnormal vaginal discharge
- Doctors may identify the cause of the abnormal discharge based on the appearance of the discharge, the woman’s age, and other symptoms.
- A sample of the discharge is examined under the microscope to check for an infection and to identify it.
- Treatment depends on the cause.
- If a product such as a cream, powder, soap, feminine hygiene spray or a brand of condom, if found to cause persistent irritation, then it should not be used.