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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

Vaginal discharge - Reclaim comfort, confidence and overall quality of life.

All women of reproductive age have most likely experienced some kind of discharge at different times of their menstrual cycle.  Having a discharge is normal and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just as our cycles change so does our vaginal discharge. However, sometimes identifying and understanding discharge might not be easy for many of us. Learn more about the differences in colour, odour, texture, consistency and amounts! Let’s begin by understanding what it is.

A white menstrual pad with cluster of pink and red roses on it

What is Vaginal Discharge?

It can be defined as the mucous-like fluid that comes from your vagina and changes in texture and amount at different stages of your cycle. The mucus is produced by glands in the vaginal mucous membrane and aims to keep your vaginal area moist and the good bacteria in balance. 

  • Texture - It's normal to have vaginal discharge that ranges from watery and sticky to thick and pasty due to body hormones.

  • Consistency - It may be due to hormones or other factors like infection.  Chunky or foamy vaginal discharge with itchiness and change in colour could be a result of infection.

  • Amount - Some people produce lots of vaginal discharge while others less. This could be due to pregnancy, ovulation, or the use of birth control pills.

Various discharges could signal different things about your body, but to know what they mean, we first need to learn the types.

What are the Types of Vaginal Discharge?

  • Absent or dry - Occurs right before or after your period. It is perfectly normal. Sometimes it is caused by low estrogen levels and usually indicates the non-fertile cycle phase.

  • Brown - This happens before your period starts. It can colour your discharge red or brown. No need to worry. It is perfectly normal.

  • Spotting blood - This discharge is ok some days before or after your period. It is common between periods. If you are spotting brownish, it is usually termed ‘old blood’.

  • Unusual colour or smell - In times when the discharge has a strong smell and it is different from your normal discharge, it could be indicative of an infection. This includes yellowish, grey or green discharge with a fishy or foul smell. In this case, it is a good idea to speak with a health professional.

  • Sticky white - It occurs usually after your period. It is simply a way for your vagina to moisturize itself to keep infections away.

  • Creamy - This discharge signifies that you are heading towards your fertile window.

  • Clear and Watery - After your fertile window, your ovulation day is marked by a more watery discharge signalling the end of your fertile period. 

Contact your doctor if you notice:

  • Increase in the amount of vaginal discharge

  • A change in the color of the discharge

  • A foul-smelling odour

  • A change in texture and consistency of the discharge

  • Irritation, itching or pain in or around your vagina

  • A rash or swelling around your vagina

Tips for keeping your vagina clean and healthy:

  • Wipe your vagina from front to back. This prevents bacteria from your rectum from getting into your vagina

  • Avoid wearing tight underwear, bathing suits or sweaty clothes for long periods

  • Avoid using perfumed soaps, gels, wipes and other scented feminine products

  • Don't douche or wash inside your vagina

  • Get regular screening for routine care

  • Urinate after sex and clean the vulva gently with warm water

  • On removing pubic hair, always follow the instructions for waxing or hair removal creams

  • Maintain a healthy diet and do pelvic floor exercises

Chat with a Penda Health Doctor.

Learning more about your discharge will enable you to understand your cycle and your fertile days. You will also get to understand your discharge patterns and it will be easier to notice if something is wrong and when to seek early medical treatment. Keep in mind that you will likely experience changes to your discharge throughout specific points of your life. Changes in vaginal discharge may or may not be a sign that you have a vaginal infection. If you're unsure, it's best to contact a qualified doctor. Chat with Penda Health confidentially on all your vaginal-related concerns on WhatsApp.

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