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Vaginal Discharge: What’s Normal & When to Worry

Any fluid secreted from the tiny glands in the cervix and vagina is known as vaginal discharge. Mostly, it’s normal and healthy. It is necessary for the removal of old cells and debris. In women who menstruate, vaginal discharge helps in keeping the reproductive tract and vagina clean. Its amount, frequency, and secretion time may vary from person to person. Some women experience discharge during the start or end of periods. Whereas, others may go through spotting (vaginal bleeding) in between periods with discharge.

When is it NOT normal?

Discharge from the vagina can occur at any time for “healthy” reasons. Vaginal discharge is probably not normal when:

  • It’s accompanied by a fishy odor.
  • It looks like cottage cheese.
  • It’s experienced with itching near the vagina.
  • It’s consistent and lasts for more than 7 days.
  • It’s experienced with pain during *** or after urination. 

Causes of abnormal Vaginal Discharge

Women often complain about abnormal conditions of the vagina. The most common of those is the secretion of fluids. Vaginal discharge before or after periods is quite normal. It may be caused by natural and health factors. However, a higher amount of fluid with more frequent comebacks might be an issue. Know what causes vaginal discharge otherwise.

  • Bacterial infection: Bacterial vaginosis is a consequence of an imbalance in the bacteria present in your vagina. Mostly, people don’t experience any symptoms other than itching, vaginal discharge, and a fishy smell. 
  • Vaginal atrophy: It is a condition in which your vaginal wall becomes thinner and drier. Vaginal atrophy, also known as atrophic vaginitis, can also lead to urinary tract infections in some individuals.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: It is an infection of any reproductive organ of a woman’s body. When you have pelvic inflammatory disease, you may also experience fever and other symptoms.
  • Diabetes: Diabetics are prone to yeast infections. Having a high blood sugar level can cause infections with signs like an itchy vagina and thick white discharge. 
  • Birth control pills: These pills can have potential side effects like nausea, breast tenderness, and abnormal vaginal discharge. Some women may also experience worse symptoms on withdrawal of birth control pills.
  • Yeast infection: It is a type of fungal infection that causes redness and swelling of the vulva. A yeast infection is more common in diabetic patients. 
  • Vaginitis: It is the condition in which your vagina inflames due to an overgrowth of bacteria. Vaginitis is characterized by other signs like painful urination, spotting, and irritation.

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