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Vaginal discharge – What is normal and what is not?

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Dr Beena Jeysingh, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood hospital, Bangalore India, explains what should be considered as a normal vaginal discharge and when should you be worried.

Don’t be surprised if we tell you it’s healthy to have a vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharges are very normal and have an important role in getting rid of the dead cells and bacteria from the vagina.

You may experience increased discharge during breastfeeding, at the time of ovulation or whenever you are sexually aroused. There might be a peculiar smell to it if you are pregnant.

So how normal is vaginal discharge?

A healthy normal vaginal discharge is clear and odourless. It changes its consistency throughout the menstrual cycle. You might become uncomfortable with the wetness, but nothing else should bother you.

A normal variation of the discharge follows a pattern as mentioned below:

A vaginal discharge becomes clear, transparent and sticky around the 10-14 days of the cycle. Later it becomes thicker and whiter. Just before the periods if may become a watery discharge.

“It is perfectly normal to feel a bit concerned with the vaginal discharge that a woman has throughout her menstrual cycle. No one talks about these topics in general and there are still a lot of ignorance about them. You should be worried and seek a medical consultation when the vaginal discharge is yellowish – greenish in colour, with a foul smell to it. Or, if it has been causing irritation and itching”, explains Dr Beena Jeysingh.

What is termed as abnormal vaginal discharge?

A changed pattern of vaginal discharge indicates a probability of vaginal infections. You need to watch out for:

  • A vaginal discharge associated with a burning or itching sensation or irritation around the vagina
  • Change in colour
  • A change in consistency
  • Foul smell
  • An unexpected bleeding from the vagina

You must recognise your pattern of vaginal discharge. In case, there are signs of abnormal vaginal discharge, seek a medical consultation with your gynaecologist. Most of the vaginal infections can be managed with antifungal, antibacterial or antiviral medications.

Further Reading

Cervical Ectropion (Cervical Erosion): Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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