Taking care of the vagina should be every woman’s priority. But the thing is, it could be confusing when you’re not properly schooled on the inner workings of the girl down there. For example, there’s the thing about vaginal discharge–just what exactly is it, and is it even normal?
No doubt, we all have vaginal discharge questions of our own, and some we might be even a bit shy to openly ask. Here are your five pressing vaginal discharge questions, answered:
1. What are vaginal discharges?
Vaginal discharges are the body’s way of keeping the female reproductive system clean and healthy. Glands in the vagina and the cervix produce a fluid to carry away dead cells and bacteria to maintain hygiene and prevent infections.
2. What are regarded as normal discharges?
A normal vaginal discharge is usually described as a thin, mucoid, milky white or clear fluid without any odor. However, many variables affect the amount, odor and hue of the discharges: a woman’s age, menstrual cycle, use of contraceptives, medical conditions (e.g. diabetes) or the balance of normal bacteria. More discharge is expected if the woman is ovulating, breastfeeding or is sexually aroused. Pregnancy can also affect the characteristics of vaginal discharges.
3. Is it normal that I smell “funky” down there?
A “funky” smell could be a symptom an infection especially if accompanied by pain, itching, burning or redness.
4. Will my discharges change if I’m sexually active?
Sexual activity itself will not change vaginal discharges. However, it may increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases which can cause changes that should cause concern and a prompt visit to the doctor.
5. Which type of discharges should be a cause of concern?
Worried about vaginal discharges? Here are five tell-tale signs that you should pay a visit to your OB-GYNE:
• A thick, “creamy” or “cheese-like” consistency
• A bloody, brown, yellow, pink, green color
• Frothy or cloudy discharges
• Fishy odor
Proper hygiene by washing regularly with a mild, gentle soap and water can help prevent an infection. Avoid using scented soaps or douche as these may be too harsh and might actually spread a vaginal infection or cervical infection into the uterus, increasing the likelihood of pelvic inflammatory disease. After going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing an infection. Wear loose-fitting underwear, preferably cotton.