Dr Suman Bijlani, Gynaecologist, Sonologist, Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Mumbai.

Vaginal discharge - Is it always abnormal?

Vaginal discharge: Is it always abnormal?

Every woman today has probably suffered from excessive vaginal discharge at some point in her lifetime. It can be worrisome and a nuisance too.

What you should understand as a woman, is whether the discharge is normal or abnormal.

NORMAL vaginal discharge (what we call physiological) can happen at many times in a menstrual cycle –

  • Mid-cycle (due to ovulation)
  • Before the menstrual period - premenstrually (due to increased blood flow to the pelvis)
  • During sexual stimulation
  • Pregnancy

Normal discharge is transparent (mucus like) and not smelly or itchy. It does not leave unpleasant stains on the undergarments.

On the other hand, ABNORMAL discharge is most commonly due to INFECTION.

Such a discharge is thick and curdy white or yellowish/greenish and may be foul-smelling or itchy. It stains the panties.

Occasionally you may find blood-tinged discharge. That may be due to hormonal imbalance, but may also be due to small growths or polyps in the cervix or vagina.

Any discharge which is not normal needs to be treated by a gynaecologist. Your sexual partner needs to be treated for infection as well and both of you should be off sex till fully treated, to prevent relapse.

Untreated infection may sometimes ascend to the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic infection and even infertility. In pregnancy, it may cause premature delivery or infection of the baby or uterus.

For prevention of infection, do read my article on Feminine Hygiene on this blog.

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