It’s normal for women to have vaginal discharge. In fact, it’s a sign that your vagina is healthy. Discharge is made up of cervical mucus, old cells from the lining of the vagina, and bacteria. The colour and consistency of your discharge can change throughout your menstrual cycle. For example, it may be white and thick at the beginning and end of your cycle, and thin and slippery in the middle.
Some women experience more discharge than others. And some find that their discharge changes throughout their lives. It’s usually nothing to worry about, but there are a few signs to look out for that could indicate an infection.
What causes vaginal discharge?
As we mentioned, vaginal discharge is made up of cervical mucus, old cells from the lining of the vagina, and bacteria. The amount of discharge you produce changes throughout your menstrual cycle. For example, you may have more discharge during ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary), or during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes can also affect the amount and consistency of your discharge. For example, you may have more discharge when you’re taking birth control pills or during menopause.
In some cases, vaginal discharge can be a sign of an infection. The most common infections that cause vaginal discharge are bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. It’s caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms include a fishy-smelling discharge, burning, itching, and redness. Yeast infections are also caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, but they’re more common in women who are pregnant, have diabetes or are taking antibiotics. Symptoms include itching, burning, and a thick, white discharge. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. Symptoms include a yellow-green discharge, itching, and burning.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, vaginal discharge is normal and nothing to worry about. But there are a few signs to look out for that could indicate an infection, such as:
A foul-smelling discharge
A change in the colour of your discharge (such as yellow or green)
An increase in the amount of discharge you’re producing
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so they can diagnose and treat the infection.
The Urban Woman Magazine Editorial Team is made up of seasoned writers and editors who have a keen eye for detail and a passion for all things urban. We strive to create fresh, original content that appeals to the modern woman. Our mission is to provide a platform for women to share their stories, experiences and opinions on various issues affecting their lives.