A vaginal discharge, the fluid secreted from vaginal and cervical glands, is a normal and natural part of your everyday life. It happens daily to remove old cells and debris in order to keep the vaginal and reproductive tract clean and healthy. The amount of discharge varies from person to person and consistency and color can change for many reasons. But there are times when a discharge may not be normal, and a reason for worry. Knowing what to look out for is important to keeping you healthy.
If you live in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and you have concerns about your vaginal discharges, help is available. Dr. Staci McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN have years of experience in caring for women’s needs.
What is a normal vaginal discharge?
A normal discharge is typical of what you see every day as a result of normal activity and your menstrual cycle. In addition to the natural cleaning of your vagina, exercise, birth control pills, and emotional stress can impact when and how much discharge you have. Normal results will typically see a specific range of colors:
A normal discharge is anywhere from clear to whitish, with a slippery or egg white consistency. This may happen during arousal, pregnancy, or just before ovulation.
White, cream or yellowish discharge with no other symptoms is a sign of healthy lubrication.
Red or brown
This range of colors (red, bright red, dark rust, brown) is healthy during the various stages of your menstrual cycle, due to spotting. Spotting can also cause bleeding between periods.
What changes are cause for concern?
Many of the same colors may appear as they would for healthy discharges, if they come with other symptoms, they can be signs of other conditions. These include:
A white discharge that is accompanied by a cottage cheese texture or a strong odor indicates a possible yeast infection.
A red discharge at certain times can be a sign of trouble. Red discharge in the early phases of pregnancy can be a sign of a miscarriage, and after menopause is a symptom of endometrial cancer.
Yellow or green
There can be problems with discharges in darker shades from yellow to green, including bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It may also be thick, clumpy, and have a foul odor.
If your discharge resembles the colors of storm clouds or exhaust, it is a sign of bacterial vaginosis. Sadly this is a common infection for women.
Any of these changes in the color of your discharge should be treated as soon as possible. Some of these conditions can also be accompanied by itching, painful or burning urination, and vaginal bleeding.
What can be done to help?
Treatment for each possible condition will vary, but infections (like STDs or bacterial vaginosis) are generally treated with antibacterial ointments or oral antibiotics. Yeast infections are managed with ointments or a suppository. Methods of prevention of many of these conditions include good hygiene, breathable underwear, and safe sex. Avoid douching or feminine sprays and wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom to avoid bacteria from getting into the vagina.
Knowing what color or scent your vaginal discharge has can help you make immediate decisions on what to do and when to visit your doctor. So, if you think your discharge is a symptom of a problem, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today.