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Vaginal Discharge: Causes, Color, Symptoms, Treatment

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Vaginal Discharge - Causes, Color, Symptoms and Treatment

Vaginal discharge or secretions are a physiological component of the vagina and have a protective role against infections, vaginal dryness, as well as a lubricant role during intercourse. The aspect of normal vaginal secretions varies with age and phase of menstrual cycle.

Causes of Vaginal Discharge:

Some factors or gynecological disorders can determine changes in consistency or aspect of these secretions.

The non- infectious factors that have an influence over vaginal secretions are:

  • Cervical polyps;
  • Foreign body (e.g. internal tampon);
  • Vulvar dermatitis;
  • Malignant tumors of the genitals;

The infectious factors that may influence the aspect of vaginal secretions are generally the

  • Sexually transmitted disorders (STI) – Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis or others such as bacterial vaginosis or vaginal infection with Candida albicans.
  • Some other factors may influence the overall aspect of vaginal secretions: menstrual cycle phase, emotional and physical stress, diet, pregnancy, drugs, etc.

Color of Vaginal Discharge:

The color of normal vaginal secretions can be clear, white or with a light yellowish nuance. Their smell is discrete and it isn’t perceived by others.

Symptoms of Vaginal Discharge:

The abnormal characteristics of vaginal secretions are:

  • Vaginal discharge in increased quantity;
  • Purulent aspect;
  • Grey or green discharge;
  • Foul odor;
  • Bloody discharge;
  • Any accompanied itching, burning, pain;

If these symptoms appear, it is mandatory to establish a consultation with your gynecologist. He or she will collect a vaginal swab and will send the probe to the laboratory analysis. Depending on the bacteriological evaluation results, your gynecologist will offer you a correct treatment.

Treatment for Vaginal Discharge:

The treatment can consist of antibiotics, antimycotic or antiparasitic drugs administered as pills, ointments, ovules or vaginal creams. The treatment for STIs applies for all the sexual partners.

Some untreated infection can lead to long-term complications and infertility, so it is mandatory to seek medical help as soon as the symptoms begin to manifest.

Usually, with the right treatment, bacterial vaginosis is cured in 90% of the cases, but it can reappear from time to time. Vaginal candidiasis has a cure rate of 80%, while the cure rate for Trichomonas vaginalis infection can reach 90-95%.

As for clinical recommendations, it is advisable to

  • avoid wearing thigh clothing, or synthetic materials
  • internal douching or use of female hygiene products that contain irritants or are alkaline, unprotected sex, and menstrual hygiene products that contain irritants.

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