What is vaginal discharge? It is actually the vaginal secretion of vaginal glands – certain amount of fluid which flows out of the vagina each day, carrying out old cells that have lined the vagina. It is the special natural vaginal cleaning process necessary for keeping vaginal clean without aggressive infections.
Normal vaginal discharge is usually clear transparent or milky without bad unpleasant odor. Every woman knows the color, the volume and specific smell of her own daily discharge. And once it is changed (color or volume or odor), it could indicate several health conditions. Special attention should be paid to combined symptoms such as abdominal pain, burning urination or irregular periods.
Vaginal discharge could be a sign of vaginal infections if it causes itching and/or swelling, has a bad odor (especially fishy odor), if it is green, yellow or gray in color and if it looks foamy or like cottage cheese.
Vaginal discharge during yeast infection
Small amounts of yeast fungus are often found in a healthy vagina but extensive grow can cause unpleasant symptoms. Women are at risk of yeast infection if they are suffering from diabetes or if they are pregnant or if they use antibiotics or birth control pills.
Typical symptoms of yeast infection:
- Vaginal discharge – white like cottage cheese,
- Vaginal itching – not-stop severe,
- Swelling and pain around the vulva,
- Painful vagina – especially during sexual contacts.
Vaginal discharge during bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is very specific condition caused by bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis combined with disbalance of other vaginal microbes. Bacterial vaginosis could be diagnosed in virgin girls as well as in sexually active women.
Typical symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:
- Vaginal discharge – white, gray or yellowish,
- Very specific vaginal odor – intensive fishy smell,
- Vaginal itching – pretty intensive,
- Vaginal burning – without any visible reasons,
- Vaginal redness and swelling,
- Burning sensation during urination.
Vaginal discharge during trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is very common sexually transmitted infection cause by Trichomonas vaginalis. Main reason for this vaginal infection is unprotected sex. Sometimes women could have vaginal trichomoniasis without any visible symptoms but in most cases symptoms are very obvious.
Typical symptoms of trichomoniasis include:
- Vaginal discharge – watery, yellowish or greenish with very specific bubbling,
- Vaginal odor – different from natural,
- Vaginal itching – not intensive, sometimes provoked by urination,
- Painful urination – sometimes frequent urination,
- Fertility problems – often infertility.
Vaginal discharge during gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is one of the oldest known sexually transmitted diseases caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes and in the urethra (urine canal).
Typical symptoms of gonorrhea include:
- Vaginal discharge – intensive cloudy yellowish,
- Vaginal irregular bleeding – mainly between periods,
- Urination problems – frequent urination with pain and burning sensation,
- Inflammation and irritation – on outer area of the vagina (redness and swelling of the genitals),
- Vaginal itching and burning.
Vaginal discharge during Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection cause by Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage women reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of Chlamydia are usually mild or absent but Chlamydia can cause infertility.
Typical symptom of Chlamydia include:
- Vaginal discharge – yellowish or mucus or pus,
- Vaginal bleeding between periods,
- Vaginal odor – not intensive, not specific,
- Frequent urination with pain and burning sensation,
- Abdominal pain – sometimes low back pain and/or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID),
- Fewer – often low-grade fever,
- Painful sexual contacts.
Vaginal infections – risk groups
- Women experiencing unprotected sex,
- Diabetes sufferers (risky for yeast infection),
- Women with many sex partners (especially if partners had or have sexually transmitted infections),
- Birth control pills’ users (risky for yeast infection),
- Antibiotic users
- Women with suppressed immune system (HIV or other health conditions).
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