Women usually get tensed if they have any form of liquid flowing out of vagina and they easily assume it as an infection. It is important to note that discharge does not necessarily mean trouble because having vaginal discharge is healthy and normal. The amount and consistency of discharge depends upon various factors and this is why, a normal discharge varies from woman to woman, which may change over the years.

What is vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a blend of mucous, dead skin and bacteria. This mucous fluid gathers at the top of the vagina and gravity pushes it towards the vaginal opening.

What is normal?

A “normal” vaginal discharge is usually whitish or transparent in color. It does not have any foul or fishy smell. Also, it does not bring along itching or burning sensations near the vaginal area. Once period gets over, estrogen hormone releases from the body making the discharge stretchy. At the onset of ovulation, the progesterone hormone is excreted from the body that makes the discharge thicker and stickier like that of egg white.

What is not normal?

If the discharge is discolored, it is not a normal sign, especially frothy green discharge. Greenish discharge is a common sign of infection. Discharge that has cheese-like consistency combined with itching can be a yeast infection. A pungent fishy smelly vaginal discharge is an indicator of bacterial infection. However, vaginal discharge can be a possible symptom of pelvic infection. If you observe discharge after sexual contact with a new partner, pelvic pain or frequent fever, consult a gynecologist immediately.

What are possible reasons of vaginal discharge?

The amount and consistency of vaginal discharge produced by a woman depends upon the shape of cervix. Few women might have some glands outside the cervix. Hence, they experience more vaginal discharge than other women.

When a woman enters the pregnancy phase, the cervix begins to expand. The impact of high blood pressure, hormonal changes and increased cervical glands usually lead to more discharge during pregnancy. Once the woman has delivered the baby, new type of vaginal discharge can be observed compared to that of pre-pregnancy as the shape of cervix changes.

  1. Hormones are one of the prime factors behind vaginal discharge. Low estrogen levels and breastfeeding promotes discharge, which may make women more prone to yeast and bacterial infections.
  2. Birth pills affect women differently. Some may have less discharge, no matter what discharge they are having. If women use IUDs, it thickens the cervical mucus and therefore, leads to unexpected vaginal discharge.
  3. Infection can also cause vaginal discharges as infection builds in the vagina, the discharge becomes thicker. The body’s immune system sends white blood cells (WBCs) and other specific liquids to attempt to treat the infection. When there is discharge due to infection, it is supported by foul smell, vaginal burning and itching.

Closing Thoughts

Having vaginal discharge is normal and can be called “vaginal self-cleansing process” since it flushes out unwanted fluids and dead skin and helps maintain a healthy balance. However, if you are having any unfavorable signs like severe pain during discharge, burning sensations, frequent vaginal itching, visit a gynecologist for healthy reproductive well-being.

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Dr Rita Bakshi is an eminent IVF specialist who has helped childless couples around the world to overcome fertility struggles through assisted reproductive technology (ART). She owns invaluable excellence in ART fields like IVF, ICSI, IUI and fertility disorders like endometriosis, PCOS and other ovarian dysfunctions. Dr Bakshi pursued her MBBS from Lady Hardinge Medical College (New Delhi), MD from Safdardung Hospital and has worked with leading institutions in Singapore, Germany and Belgium. She believes that every couple has the right to have a child and with this goal, she is working towards removing infertility from its grassroot level.