Vaginal Health and Discharge

vaginal discharge

Vaginal health is a topic several tend to shy away from addressing. However, online discussions on douches, yoni pearls, and vajacials that have taken the women’s beauty industry by storm speak differently.   Currently, women are interested in their vaginal health regarding discharge, odor, and how best to beautify it.  But with all the information readily available, normal vaginal secretions and how to maintain that should top the priority list of every woman.

Vaginal discharge is an essential housekeeping role in the female reproductive system.  It is an ordinary and regular occurrence as the fluid made by vaginal and cervical glands to carry away dead cells and bacteria keeps the vagina clean and prevents infection.  Normal discharge is clear or milky with no awful odor but color and thickness change with the menstrual cycle. Thickness varies during ovulation, pregnancy, and when sexually aroused. Abnormal discharge is an indication that something could be wrong.

Types of vaginal discharge

  • White – healthy discharge

           – yeast infection if accompanied by itching and a thick cottage cheese-like consistency

  • Clear and watery – very normal and can occur at any time of the month
  • Clear and stretchy- a normal type of discharge common during ovulation
  • Brown – normal during or after menses due to oxidation of the blood, rection to a pap smear test or an early sign of pregnancy
  • Red/pink- Menstruation

                  – Cervical infection/ cervical cancer

                  – Post sex bleeding due to friction

                  – intermenstrual bleeding/spotting

                  – implantation bleeding if you had unprotected sex

                  – early miscarriage

                  – endometrial cancer

  • Gray – bacterial vaginosis as a result of disrupted vaginal pH

        – Has a fishy smell noted after sexual intercourse or showering

  • Yellow-green- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) especially Trichomoniasis or Gonorrhoea

 In case of soreness around the vaginal lips, bulging, itching, stinging, foul, abnormal discharge, or pain during intercourse, visit your doctor for proper treatment.  While at it, it is advisable to know ways of reducing the risk of abnormal vaginal discharge;

  1. Maintaining personal hygiene
    1. Wash the vulva properly and the space between the butt hole
    1. Avoid douching your vagina
    1. Avoid bubble baths, use of feminine wipes and scented soaps
  2. Wipe from the front to back when visiting the washroom to prevent bacteria from getting to the vagina
  3. Practice safe sex to avoid contracting STIs if having multiple partners or a new partner who has not been tested
  4. Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse
  5. Wear cotton underwear as it creates a damp-free environment where yeast and ‘bad’ bacteria cannot thrive.  At night, if you are comfortable, sleep without any underwear to allow the vagina to breathe
  6. Regularly change your sanitary towels or tampons.  If using a menstrual cup, ensure it is well cleaned
  7. Avoid sanitary towels or lubricants that result in reactions such as itching
  8. Avoid wearing tight clothing for a long period
  9. If practicing self-stimulation or stimulation from your partner ensure hands or sex toys are clean
  10. Avoid using yoni pearls, tightening creams, and steaming as they may negatively affect the vaginal flora
  11. Drink lots of water
  12. Consume probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods to balance the vaginal acidity levels
  13. Use antibiotics only when necessary

Considering OTC (Over the Counter) drugs are readily available, it is worth noting that not all itching is a result of yeast infection. Therefore, visit your gynecologist for proper diagnosis.   Further, the vagina has a unique smell, so avoid using scented products to give it a flowery aroma.

Since it is a habitat for bacteria and yeast, ensure you feed the good microorganisms and ditch the bad.  Therefore, do all you can to protect the little Miss V down there.

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