Decoding vaginal discharge

Woman in underwear
Woman in underwear

What is the normal consistency of a discharge and how can you tell if you have an abnormal discharge?

 A normal discharge is usually colour- and odourless. Post menstruation it may be a bit blood-stained. A change of colour, to green or even yellow, more often than not may indicate an infection and is usually accompanied by a foul, sometimes fishy odour. ?

What causes an abnormal discharge?

Usually the abnormal discharge develops as a result of an infection.

Bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis (overgrowth of the normal vaginal cell lining) and fungal infections, commonly vaginal thrush (yeast), are the most common types of infection. Thrush develops when the defence mechanism of the vagina fails. As a result, you get a white, thick discharge that doesn’t really have an odour, but is a result of practices like douching. 

 How can an abnormal discharge be treated?

Lifestyle changes like discontinuing using agents such as douches, perfumed soaps and aggravating creams. Visit a gynaecologist to determine the origin of the discharge and treat it accordingly with medication.

What is the best way to clean the vagina?

Use plain water as it’s neutral and won’t affect the natural balance of the vagina. If you use anything too acidic or too alkaline, then it will have an effect on the vagina’s pH balance. If there’s anything that develops, like a discharge, then you should have it checked by a gynaecologist immediately.

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