Vaginal Discharge – Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

Vaginal Discharge – Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

Normal vaginal discharge protects the skin around the vulva and urethra. It is normally non-irritating, does not make underclothes wet, has no smell and acidic in nature (pH value 4). Discharge becomes more in mid cycle, before periods, in pregnancy, after delivery and abortion however it does not cause any symptom or discomfort. Symptoms of abnormal discharge include irritation, redness, itching, dryness; painful urination, Smelly discharge or swelling.

Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are typically use of vaginal douches as they remove normal protective discharge and make the skin more exposed to infections, moist and warm climate and urinary tract infection. Other causes could be diarrhoea, diabetes, use of oral contraceptive pills or sexual contact with infected partner.

One should seek immediate medical advice as there are multiple consequences if it is left untreated e.g. urinary tract infections, anal infection, infection of buttocks and thighs etc. It can lead to ascending infection to cervix, uterus and tubes which may get blocked and lead to sub-fertility. Vaginal discharge can also infect partner.

Menustral Irregularities

  • Normal Menustral Cycle
    – Length of menustral cycle from 1st day of the 1st period to the 1st day of the next period
    – 28 – 40 days is perfectly normal
    – Normal duration of blood loss is for 3-5 days, requiring 2-3 pads per day
    – Normal to have slight discomfort in abdomen, buttocks and thighs, headache and backache, breast pain.
  • Any deviation for above pattern is abnormal
    – Inter menstrual bleeding – most alarming and can be a cause of genital tract cancer
    – Delayed periods (>40 days). Early periods(<21 days) – most important cause of sub-fertility
    – More blood loss (menorrhagia) – causes are fibroid, endometriosis, pelvic infection, diabetes
    – Severe pain (dysmenorrhoea) – causes are fibroid, endometriosis, pelvic infection
  • Consult your doctor, they will advice battery of tests ( including blood test, pap smear and sonography), take appropriate treatment – will depend on the type of menstrual irregularity and its cause.