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Types of Vaginal Discharge: What’s normal and what’s not?
Just like any other bodily feature, discharge varies considerably from one girl to another. It also changes throughout your menstrual cycle to support the reproductive process. While some variations are perfectly normal, others may be signs of a vaginal infection. So how can you tell if your discharge is normal or not? Follow our guide.
What’s a “normal” discharge like?
There are four criteria that help you identify the nature of your discharge.
- Color: normal discharge is usually transparent, or whitish. It may turn yellowish when dried, and brown after menstruation or during pregnancy.
- Texture: normal discharge varies from pasty and sticky to transparent and stretchy, depending on what phase of the menstrual cycle you’re in.
- Odor: normal discharge usually has a mild scent or no scent at all.
- Quantity: normal discharge progressively varies in quantity from very little to quite a lot (during ovulation).
When should I worry?
In your vagina, there are many types of good bacteria. They play an important role in protecting your reproductive system. These bacteria are usually called vaginal flora. But when pathogenic bacteria start multiplying in the vagina, they lead to vaginal infections.
As a warning sign, your discharge will change all of a sudden. A change in color or texture, a weird smell, or an unusually large quantity of discharge means that something is wrong, especially if associated with an itching sensation in your private area or soreness in your tummy.
In girls, there are two common vaginal infections, which affect vaginal discharge as follows:
- Very fluid white vaginal discharge with irritation: If you have unusually watery white discharge, you may have a fungal infection or thrush. Almost all girls get fungal infection at some point. It may be due to humidity in the vaginal area, which boosts the proliferation of bacteria.
- Grayish bad-smelling discharge: If your vaginal discharge suddenly turns gray and smells bad, it may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). This condition results from a bacterial imbalance in your vaginal flora. It may be caused by scented soaps, unsuited lotions, or bubble bath.
How can I treat abnormal discharge?
You can’t treat abnormal discharge unless you know what’s caused it. That’s why a visit to your doctor is a must. To make a clear diagnosis, the doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and the symptoms you’re experiencing, and then collect a sample of your discharge to examine it.
Fungal infections are usually treated with antifungal medicine, while bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics.
Preventing these infections is easy once you start adopting the right intimate hygiene routines. Discover how you can take care of your body.