Vaginal discharge is a condition that has been commonly noticed among females of reproductive age. This discharge can be normal or abnormal. The discharge can be whitish, yellowish, or clear. It can also be itchy and foul-smelling.
Is it smelly, itchy, burning? Is the discharge much?
Do you have painful urination?
These are some questions asked when a woman has a vaginal discharge or infection.
It can happen when the vagina is not as acidic as it should be, allowing bad organisms to grow. It can be caused by sexually transmitted infections.
Conditions where immunity is low like pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, HIV infection, etc, can make it more common. You can also change the acidity of your vagina by DOUCHING. This puts you at risk of infection.
If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you have a vaginal infection, see a specialist and make sure you are tested and treated to avoid stories that touch in the future.
What is Vaginal discharge?
This simply means the leakage of fluid from the vagina. This discharge from the vagina can be normal or can be abnormal as a result of an underlying infection.
What causes Vaginal discharge
Discharges from the vagina can be normal or abnormal.
Normal discharge: is usually clear (colorless) and is not foul-smelling. You will have more discharge when you’re ovulating, breastfeeding, or sexually aroused. Excessive normal discharge can be due to Cervical ectropion or cervical polyp.
Abnormal discharges are usually not clear and sometimes, they have a malodorous smell. They are usually due to infections from bacteria, Fungi, and a number of other organisms. Common examples in our environment are;
This is the commonest cause of the abnormal discharge. It is commonly caused by an organism known as Gardnerella Vaginalis. The vagina is usually acidic. This organism causes a reduction in the acidity of the Vagina.
Things that can make you contract this organism are; douching, having Multiple sexual partners as well as oral sex.
Symptoms of this infection are whitish discharge that smells like a fish.
Diagnosis is through the laboratory.
If not treated, it can cause PID, as well as miscarriages in Pregnancy.
Treatment: is by metronidazole or clindamycin. You should see your doctor for the dosage required. & duration.
This is caused by fungi known as Candida Albicans. Most persons who have this do not show any symptoms.
Others may show symptoms like white vaginal discharge, itching as well as irritation.
This condition is commonly seen with diabetics, those with weak immunity (e.g: HIV), or in Pregnancy.
Diagnosis is through a laboratory test.
Treatment: See your doctor for the antifungal drugs & dosages to take.
Know that this is not an STI. Read about Sexually Transmitted Diseases here
This organism Trichomonas vaginalis causes vaginal discharge that is yellowish in colour. Some may have other colours. Some persons having this may show no symptoms.
This is sexually transmitted & your partner should also be treated.
Treatment: see your doctor for the dosage & duration of metronidazole to be used, after confirmation through the laboratory.
This can also cause abnormal vaginal discharge in women. In addition, it would also cause abdominal pain. Read more about gonorrhoea, symptoms, and treatment here.
PID: due to untreated bacterial infections. See causes.
Prevention of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
This is by avoiding the contracting of these organisms that can cause infections. They include;
- the practice of safe/protected sex. Always use a condom
- to reduce the number of partners.
- For diabetics, always be consistent with the medications, so as to keep the glucose level under control. These infections most develop in uncontrolled persons.
- Avoid douching & excessive washing of the vagina. Some organisms are naturally there. It prevents these bad organisms from coming there. When you take them out, these bad organisms now go there and colonize them.
- In Pregnancy, maintain good hygiene at all times.
- For HIV & immunosuppressed individuals: adherence to their medication is very important.
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