In our gynecology practice in the Park City area, we help patients understand vaginal discharge
A woman’s vagina is the passageway between internal reproductive organs and the outside of the body. The vagina is naturally on the acidic side in terms of pH balance. This acidity is intended to discourage infection, and is supported by healthy, naturally occurring bacteria. Part of vaginal health is natural secretions, which cleanse and regulate vaginal functions. This is very similar to natural oral processes, where saliva promotes a healthy oral environment. In the vagina, imbalance in secretions can lead to increased risk of infection.
Normal vaginal discharge
In our gynecology offices in Park City, Woodstock, and Lake Forest, we discuss with our patients the differences between normal vaginal discharge and types that may signal a problem. All women experience vaginal secretions, most of which are normal. A healthy vaginal discharge may look yellow or white when it dries on clothing, but it is typically cloudy white when moist. Thin white strings or flecks are also normal.
There are many reasons a woman’s vaginal discharge may change. These include medication such as oral contraceptives, pregnancy, nutrition, stress, menstrual cycle, and sexual arousal.
Signs of abnormal vaginal discharge
Changes in the amount of discharge or the color of discharge could indicate the presence of infection. At some point, most women experience some type of vaginal infection. This temporary condition is actually quite common. Your gynecologist can help you determine if you require treatment for a vaginal infection by performing specific diagnostic tests and by discerning symptoms such as:
- A foul odor accompanying discolored discharge
- Discharge looks clumpy, like cottage cheese
- Skin burns during urination
- Discharge has increased significantly
- Soreness, rash, or itching
Understanding the menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is continual. Though most women understand the changes that occur during active menstruation, other changes are resultant of a particular point in the cycle. When a women is in her mid-cycle, she may notice an increase of clear discharge or general wetness. In the days leading up to menstruation, as well as through active menstruation, vaginal pH balance fluctuates more widely, increasing the risk of infection.
If you suspect that vaginal discharge is abnormal, there are treatments your gynecologist can offer to clear up infection or other issues. To learn more or to schedule your consultation with experienced urogynecologist Dr. Sanjay Gandhi, contact us in Park City, Lake Forest, or Woodstock.