While vaginal discharge is a pretty normal occurrence, the type and color of the discharge can also indicate an infection. For example, abnormal discharge is usually foul-smelling and green or yellow in color. Here’s more on what causes it and what you can do about it.
WHAT CAN LEAD TO AN ABNORMAL DISCHARGE?
When there’s a change in the regular balance of bacteria in the vagina, it can cause the smell, consistency, and color to change. Here are some factors that can upset this balance.
- Yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis (commonly found among women with multiple sexual partners and pregnant women)
- Birth control pills
- Antibiotic or steroid use
- Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia or gonorrhea
- Cervical cancer
- Trichomoniasis (a parasitic infection due to unprotected sex)
- Vaginitis (irritation around or in the vagina)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pelvic infection post-surgery
- Vaginal atrophy ( when your vaginal walls become thin or dry out during menopause)
WHAT DO DIFFERENT COLORS AND CONSISTENCIES INDICATE?
White discharge is normal, especially if it occurs at the beginning or end of your monthly menstrual cycle. However, if it appears different than usual (thicker in consistency, for example) and also causes itching, it may require immediate attention as it could indicate the presence of a yeast infection.
WATERY AND CLEAR
A clear discharge with a watery consistency is normal and can occur at any given time of the month. You can also expect it to become heavy post-workout.
CLEAR AND STRETCHY
A stretchy discharge with a mucous-like appearance is normal. However, it could be a sign that you may be ovulating.
GREEN OR YELLOW
Green or yellow discharge isn’t normal, especially if it stinks and is thick and chunky. It could indicate trichomoniasis, an infection commonly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse.
BROWN OR BLOODY
Brown or bloody discharge is quite normal if the onset is during or immediately after the monthly period cycle. Usually, when discharge occurs at the end of the period, it may appear brown instead of red.
However, more than the color, you should look out for spotting. Small amount of bloody discharge close to your periods is called spotting. However, it can indicate something more serious in other situations. For example, experiencing it in the early stages of pregnancy could indicate miscarriage; however, you must refer to your OB-GYN immediately.
In very few cases, a bloody or brown discharge could be indicate something serious. However, you must speak to a professional before reaching any conclusion.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR?
It’s important to look out for the following signs and symptoms because their presence along with a discharge may require a professional’s attention at the earliest.
- Increased urination
- Consistent pain in the abdomen
- Weight loss that cannot be explained
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PHYSICAL EXAM?
If you suspect an unusual vaginal discharge, Fort Lauderdale, FL, has many reliable facilities to help you deal with it.
Here you can expect a typical physical exam to include a detailed pelvic exam. You may be asked certain questions about your lifestyle, sexual activity, and menstrual cycle to determine the underlying cause of the discharge.
Fortunately, in many cases, it’s possible to detect infection through a pelvic exam alone. However, in case it isn’t diagnosed, you may be asked to get some tests done. You can also expect a scraping from your cervix to be taken for checking cervical cancer. There are various ways to examine the discharge, and once the cause has been determined, you’re in for several treatment options.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In the end, vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence, but there are always enough signs to look out for. The earlier an infection is detected, the better are your chances of treating them. Remember, maintaining vaginal health is as important as maintaining the health of any other part of your body. Therefore, pelvic exams from time to time can ensure that your vaginal health is well-maintained and looked out for. If you suspect an unusual discharge and are looking for a reliable team of obstetricians or gynecologists in Fort Lauderdale, head to All Female Health Care right away. The facility not only strives to provide the best quality care to its patients but is also dedicated to providing them with the highest quality treatment options. Call them up at (954) 742-3536 or visit their website and schedule your appointment today.