Most women have experienced times during which they have excess discharge from their vagina. Although this is nothing to be alarmed about, there are a few signs you should look out for that might indicate a vaginal infection. In this post, we tell you more about it and why it is caused, when is it normal and when it’s not along with a few tips on preventing it.
A normal vaginal discharge consists of about 4 ml a day of white or transparent, thick to thin, and odourless discharge. It is secreted from the cervical glands of the vagina and is perfectly normal. The amount, odour and colour can vary from person to person. Contrary to what is believed,vaginal discharge is not ‘bad’. It is the body’s way to keep the vagina lubricated and healthy. Seen during the middle of the cycle (during the fertile period), its main function is to assist sperm to fertilise the ovum (egg). The discharge can be more noticeable at different times of the month depending on ovulation, menstrual flow, sexual activity and birth control.
Could it be an infection?
Although there is nothing to get alarmed about at most times,some symptoms might indicate it could be an infection. You should visit your gynaecologist if the discharge has a foul odour (bad smell), is yellowish or greenish in colour. Sometimes, itching and/or rashes in and around the vagina could also be an indicator of infection.
One of the leading reasons for abnormal vaginal discharge is a fungal infection. Seen commonly in women taking antibiotics or on immunosuppressive drugs, this condition is easily curable. Sometimes, it could be a condition in which the vagina is inflamed (bacterial or other causes.
A healthy vagina has a natural ecosystem which prevents infections. Hence, it is prudent that you do not disturb it and use a neutral medium like water or a very mild agent for maintaining vaginal hygiene.
- Do not use very hot water or soap to wash your vagina.
- Avoid feminine washes or any other products that claim to clean your vagina as this would kill your natural bacteria and cause an infection.
- Always wash or wipe from the front to the back as this would avoid bacteria spreading to the vagina.
- Keep the vaginal area as clean and dry as possible.
- Restrict use of panties made of synthetic material and use cotton panties as much as possible.
- During your periods, change sanitary napkins/tampons often.
- Always use a condom during sex and wash up right after. However, avoid sex during an active infection.
- Do not use petroleum jelly and oils for lubrication during sex.