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Don't Ignore Excessive Discharge! It Could Mean An Infection, A Serious Disease Or More

While vaginal discharge is common among women, anything in excess could be indicative of an underlying health problem. Read on to know why you should see a doctor if you are noticing something unusual.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : February 15, 2022 4:16 PM IST

What comes out of your body is usually an excellent reflection of what's going on inside. The colours and consistency of vaginal discharge might be important markers of vaginal health. While most changes are normal, some could indicate anything from an STD to simply a lack of water. But what is discharge, and how can you differentiate what is normal from what may be an indication of a problem? To understand what's typical and what's not, here are some insights from Dr Manisha Singh, Senior Consultant - Gynecologist & Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. Here's what he has to say.

Vaginal Discharge Is An Undeniable Part Of A Woman's Life

We all know that vaginal discharge is a fact of life for women, however, we pay little or no attention to it. Dr Manisha Singh explains, "Watery vaginal discharge is common around the time of Ovulation (3 to 4 days) to facilitate the upward movement of the sperm in the female genital tract and during the premenstrual phase, for a couple of days.

Vaginal discharge is an essential part of the female reproductive system's cleaning. Dead cells and bacteria are transported away by fluid generated by glands in the vagina and cervix, aiding in hygiene and infection prevention."

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What Factors Contribute To Abnormal Discharge?

A change in the colour, smell, or texture of the discharge, as well as an increase in the volume of discharge, may indicate a problem. Irritation, itching, or burning in or around your vaginal area are some symptoms connected with a change in discharge. The combination of these factors might help you figure out what's happening with your body.

Here are a few examples of things that can throw the balance off:

  • Use of antibiotics or steroids
  • Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection more common in pregnant women or women who have several sexual partners
  • Cervical cancer
  • Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea (STDs)
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
  • Trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection usually contracted through unprotected sex
  • Vaginal atrophy- the thinned and dried-out vaginal walls post menopause
  • Infections with yeast (Candidiasis)
  • Fluid-filled, dilated, blocked fallopian tubes (hydrosalpinx)

When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

Consult a doctor at the earliest if you experience unusual discharge in addition to certain other symptoms like:

  • fever
  • abdominal discomfort
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fatigue
  • increased urination

What Is The Treatment For Abnormal Discharge?

Treatment depends on the cause of the infection. For example, Yeast infections are typically treated with antifungal medications in the form of a cream or gel, whereas antibiotic pills or creams are used to treat bacterial vaginosis. Trichomoniasis is commonly treated with metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole. Here are some prevention tips for vaginal infections that can cause abnormal discharge:

  • Wash the outer layer of your privates with gentle, mild soap and warm water to keep it clean.
  • Avoid the use of scented soaps, feminine hygiene products, sprays, and bubble baths.
  • Always wipe the area clean after using the restroom to prevent bacteria from entering the vaginal area and causing an infection.
  • Wear 100% cotton, well-fitted and breathable underwear.

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