Common Abnormal Vaginal Discharges and How to Treat Them

Common Abnormal Vaginal Discharges and How to Treat Them
The vaginal discharge might not get talked about all that much, but it’s likely something you’re familiar with. A woman may produce a lot of discharge, or barely any at all.

Knowing whether your discharge is normal is pretty simple once you’ve got the facts, are familiar with your ‘normal’ and understand your cycle. Here we explain some of the common abnormal discharges and how to treat them.

Thick White Creamy Discharge

A heavier thick white creamy discharge may occur a week before menstruation. It may differ from woman to woman, but, as most specialists say, there is no cause for concern. To make things clear, such secretions are indicators of:

Ovulation: this type of mucus appears in women during ovulation, especially when the mucus is very thick and stretchy;

Pregnancy: it may be a sign of early pregnancy;

Leucorrhea: it’s the very first leucorrhea sign noticed by a woman, the excretion is either completely odorless or carries a mild odor.

There are rare cases when such secretion is regarded as abnormal. It happens when it becomes curl-like, looks rather grey than white, fishy-smelling or turns to watery mucus in time. If the flow is accompanied by soreness or itchiness or a woman has pain during urination and sex, the mucus becomes a sign of a parasitic infection called trichomoniasis, thrush or bacterial vaginosis. She should contact her physician to receive timely and proper treatment, because these infections may lead to severe complications, problems during pregnancy, etc.

When excretion is accompanied by bleeding or spotting during the early stages of pregnancy, it is normal, but still, the condition should be checked and discussed to prevent possible complications or miscarriage.

Thick White Clumpy Discharge

Its common name is cottage cheese secretion that appears due to a yeast infection. Women with thick white clumpy discharges develop the infection because of the fungus Candida overgrowth. There are several symptoms that accompany the condition: itchiness and soreness around the vagina.

As a rule, the smell is not very strong, but it still smells yeasty. The burning sensation never leaves and is especially persistent during vaginal intercourse or urination. A woman should get ready to vaginal pain, vulva redness and swelling as these symptoms go hand in hand with a yeast infection

Females, regardless of age, are prone to suffering from this condition from time to time. However, there is a group of women, who are always at a really great risk. This problem usually affects:
  • pregnant women;
  • those who take hormonal birth control pills with estrogen as the main ingredient;
  • females who use vaginal sprays;
  • women with a weak immune system.
Luckily, most yeast infection cases are treatable with over-the-counter medications that can be suggested and prescribed by professional physicians.

If you are prone to such complications, we suggest you avoiding heavily-scented personal hygiene products. In case you like swimming or working out a lot, get out of your bathing or tracksuit immediately after you finish.

White Odorless Vaginal Discharge

Odorless substance spotting is called perfectly normal for the cycle beginning, its ending and ovulation. It is called pre-menstrual symptom that flows through the vagina 2-4 days before period. At times it occurs even a week before. The symptom that appears with the spotting is itching, but it is very mild. The itching resembles the one that is common for the yeast infection and this is why most females and especially young girls start worrying for no reason.

Nevertheless, there are occasions when white odorless vaginal discharge isn’t normal at all. It happens when there are changes in consistency, hue, amount and smell. Any of the slightest changes are the indicators of an infection that goes with burning and pain at urination, itchiness, pain during intercourse, vulvar redness and swelling.

How to decide whether the secretion is normal or not in your case? The first abnormalities that appear are dry secretions that turn to creamy, watery, and egg-white-like, lubricating, or even brownish. Within a single day, the color can change from clear and milky to pale yellow and brownish. As a rule, every woman knows what secretions are typical for her pre- or post-menstrual period. If there’s something that is not expected during the cycle, she should address her gynecologist for further recommendations and treatment.

Heavy Vaginal Discharge

Heavy mucus amounts have never been signs of really dangerous health issues. They are common both for girls and women and are always explained by a health care provider. They may bring a light discomfort, but it’s nothing when compared to the sensations experienced during a yeast infection, for example.

There are five major reasons why heavy vaginal discharge may appear occasionally:

  1. birth control pills: heavy secretions are the body’s allergic reactions to chemicals that are present in birth control pills. They appear in case of hypersensitivity to some pills’ ingredients. This reaction isn’t viewed as dangerous, but it’s recommended to think of changing pills that can lead to such body reactions;
  2. stress: it’s another reason with a heavy mucus flow as one of the symptoms. When a woman is under stress, she notices more excretion than usual. The thing is that stress ads to the occurrence of hormonal imbalances that affect a female body and the amount of mucus secreted. Nevertheless, if it was caused by stress only, the mucus is regarded as harmless. For further issue prevention specialists suggest considering relaxation or de-stress technologies that prove their efficacy; (view antidepressants offers)
  3. pregnancy: excessive flow is common for early stages in pregnancy. In some women, it becomes really heavy. The vagina can produce more mucus that is essential for keeping the cervix moist and clean, sealed and healthy. As long as it is odorless and isn’t accompanied by itching, there’s nothing a pregnant woman should get worried about;
  4. ovulation: when progesterone levels get higher during ovulation, a woman experiences excessive secretion. It may seem to be abnormal at times, but the amount can be affected by mood, stress, even the food consumed and lifestyle. No wonder the amounts differ from cycle to cycle. Very heavy flows occur 10-14 days after the first day of the menstruation, but there’s nothing to get concerned about;
  5. sexual excitement: vaginal mucus is a natural lubricant during sexual intercourse. The hormones that make a woman get aroused create a steady secretion. When a woman is sexually aroused, she notices an excessive amount of mucus for this very reason only.

Yellow OR Greenish Discharge

Both greenish and yellow mucus are resulted by gonorrhea or trichomoniasis. These are sexually transmitted diseases that require immediate medical treatment. Trichomoniasis is common for young and sexually active women. Over 7 million females suffer from the condition yearly only in this country and there are much more of them around the globe. Females with trichomoniasis have yellow or greenish flows that are thick, frothy and always with a strong and sour-smelling odor. Vulva itching and irritation can be added to the symptoms as well. Some women have also to deal with burning and pain during urination. Intercourses become painful and very uncomfortable. And after them, there is a lower abdominal pain that can hardly be cured with any pill.

Unfortunately, the first symptoms appear only in 5-28 days of infection exposure. Whenever there is a discharge of a yellow or light green color, a woman should seek immediate medical help to avoid complications. When the issue appears during pregnancy, there’s the risk of the membrane premature rupture. And as a baby becomes unprotected, it leads to early delivery.

However, when the flow is greenish and frothy, it may be a different case. You should keep in mind that Chlamydia is also the trigger of such spotting, but the condition is rarely accompanied by any other symptoms. Non-pregnant women with trichomoniasis are usually prone to HIV.

Greenish-Gray Vaginal Discharge

If greenish-gray secretion smells like fish, a woman suffers from BV – bacterial vaginosis. This isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, but a very unpleasant and uncomfortable infection that is normally triggered by the flora and vaginal microorganisms’ imbalance.

Frankly speaking, the condition is alarming, but it is easily treated either with a special antibacterial gel or simple antibiotics prescribed by a physician. Women prone to BV should avoid douching. And as the sperm contributes to the occurrence of imbalance in women, it’s better to use condoms during intercourse. Some experts report that abstaining from sex lowers risks as well. Yet, this isn’t an option.

Light Pink Vaginal Discharge

Occasional spotting between periods is normal. It plays a so-called housekeeping function, maintaining the vagina healthy and clean. However, when there is light pink secretion, it is the sign of a rather serious condition like:
  • cervical erosion;
  • ectopic pregnancy;
  • endometriosis
Any of the conditions require professional assistance and care. 

Brown Vaginal Discharge

In most cases, there’s no great health threat in brown secretions. They are normally related to spotting between periods and can appear as a result of hormonal changes, ovulation, menopause, or delayed period. Brown discharge can appear as a part of the body’s allergic reaction to antibiotics, steroids, drugs and other medications, scented soaps, and even contraceptive pills. And though these causes are the commonest, mucus of brown color can be an indicator of:
  • diabetes;
  • serious bacterial or viral infections;
  • cervical cancer;
  • dysfunctional endometrial elimination;
  • sexually transmitted disease;
  • Chlamydia;
  • Gonorrhea;
  • vaginitis;
  • etc.
Any of these conditions are serious and require medical intervention.

Orange Vaginal Discharge

Whenever any infection occurs within the woman’s reproductive area, there is a chance for her to experience brightly colored orange secretion. As different bacteria types may lead to the condition, only a professional can determine which type a woman has. Orange mucus is characterized by a very strong and unpleasant odor, but when it is odorless, there is a chance that it’s just the sign of the end of the menstrual cycle. Orange mucus has a tendency to get clearer after a couple of days. Yet when there is a rust-orange spot noticed during pregnancy it’s the indicator of a problem.

And the problem is called trichomoniasis – an infection activated by a paramecium. The orange color comes from the blood that is present in secretion. When a trichomoniasis test is negative, then there is a risk of a not less complicated condition – gonorrhea. Luckily, both health issues are treated with medications. As long as these are sexually transmitted diseases, both partners are to be tested and treated to prevent the infection from spreading.

How to Treat Abnormal Vaginal Discharges

The choice of a treatment method will depend on the trigger. Judging by the above-mentioned discharge types, the commonest causes are:
  • bacterial vaginosis;
  • trichomoniasis;
  • vaginal candidacies;
  • chlamydia;
  • gonorrhea;
  • vaginitis;
  • vaginal/cervical cancer.
There are three main approaches to be taken into account: proper self-care, medical treatment, and home remedies. Let’s start with the very first one.

Self-care. Do you know that it is better not to use soap while cleaning the vaginal area? It is enough to rinse it with water. Douching may worsen the existing symptoms and this is why refusing from it is a wise choice. Douching removes healthy bacteria that line the area and protect against infections. Wipe properly after using the toilet (always do it from front to back). Wash thoroughly after using the bathroom. Refuse from fragrances, powders and hygiene prays. Use pads instead of tampons.

What to wear? Give way to cotton underwear rather than synthetic one or at least the one with a special cotton lining in the crotch. Why cotton? The thing is that it increases the flow of air and assists in reducing the buildup of moisture. Don’t wear any underwear at night.

Practice only safe sex: using condoms will help avoid catching or spreading infections. Whenever you experience discomfort, sexual intercourse must be avoided. To relieve pain use water-soluble lubrication when needed. Then sit in warm water for a while to reduce the swelling in the area, but don’t rub it.

Home remedies. According to the latest studies, the boric acid helps get rid of many infections and abnormal thick white discharges too. They work for cottage cheese-like secretions, Candida and a yeast infection. Use it twice a day for 2 weeks. Eating yogurt is useful for symptom relief. Most women report positive results from yogurt.

In the case of vaginitis, the genital area should be kept clean and dry all the time. A warm bath will help reduce the symptoms. If diabetes is the main reason for the health issue, a woman should always keep her blood sugar levels under control.
Fenugreek seeds are perfect for improving the vagina’s pH levels and affecting estrogen levels. They are known as excellent immune boosters. You can soak the seeds in water and leave them overnight. Strain the water in the morning and mix the seeds with honey. Eat them on an empty stomach. Another option is boiling the seeds in water for half an hour (2 spoons in 4 cups of water). Strain the water afterward and allow it to cool. The water must be used for a wash (3-4 times a day).

Treating heavy secretion is easier with apple cider vinegar. It restores the natural pH levels of the woman’s body as well as the acidic quality of the genital area’s flora. There’s hardly a better option that can reduce the odor. It is enough to mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar with distilled water and use the mixture during a wash once in two days. Some women choose to drink a mix of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a glass of water daily.

As long as cranberries are characterized as ones that have antifungal, antioxidant and antibiotic properties, they prevent any bacteria from attaching the vaginal walls and leading to heavy and problematic secretions. Drink cranberry juice twice a day until the health issue is solved. If, for any reason, this type of juice is not available, take cranberry tablets. Their correct dosage should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

And finally, herbal remedies. They are really helpful in fighting abnormal thick white discharge. They are both effective and safe:
  • saraca ashoka, cyperus rotundus, acacia confuse, symplocos racemosa and ficus benghalensis help reduce secretion and rash;
  • pippali cleanses the woman’s body and eliminates different kinds of infections that may cause the abnormal mucus occurrence;
  • cimicifuga racemosa fights against a fungal infection reduce inflammation and itching.
Whatever has triggered thick white discharge, addressing a doctor is a must-do even when there are no additional symptoms and other signs of infection. Why? Forewarned is forearmed!
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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