However icky it might make you feel, vaginal discharge is not something to ignore and forget about. Not only is it completely normal, but also an essential function of your body. Think of it as your vagina’s own cleansing ritual. It keeps your vagina clean, moisturised, and prevents infections. In addition to keeping things in balance, it can also alert you when something is off balance.
Let’s take a look at what's normal and what's not:
Thin and clear
This is your regular discharge. Near the beginning of your menstrual cycle, the discharge will most likely be clear or milky white. As long as it's not accompanied by a weird odor, you're good to go.
Stringy and stretchy
Women usually experience this kind of discharge around day 14 of their regular cycle. This is totally normal and also means that you're ovulating.
Thick, white discharge
If the discharge is only thick and white, it's normal and you've nothing to worry about. You might find it being prominent before and after your period.
But a thick white discharge with a texture of cottage cheese, accompanied by other symptoms such as burning or irritation is probably a sign of a yeast infection. Yeast infections are not contagious, and over-the-counter antifungal creams are available for your convenience. Although visiting a gynecologist would be the best.
Yellow or green
While it's normal for vaginal discharge to turn into a pale yellow after coming in contact with air for a while, if your discharge is thick yellow or has hints of green, it could be a sign of an infection or even sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Your doctor can run a few quick tests to find out what's going on.
Brown spotting after you're just done with your period is completely normal. It's most likely leftover blood. But if you experience random spotting during any other time of the month, it is advisable to consult a doctor. It could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer, an ovarian cyst or even a vaginal infection.
A strong, foul, fishy odor with a thin, grayish-white discharge is a classic symptom of a bacterial infection. Of course, not all odors are associated with infections. It could be something you ate today. Although it's worth a trip to your doctor to understand what the matter is.
Every human body is different. It's normal to have no discharge at all. As long as there's no itching or irritation or any funky smell down there, you're good to go. If the dryness is making you uncomfortable or itchy, try a vaginal wash or let your gynecologist know.
So now you know when to send your alarm bells ringing. Here are a few tips for you to ensure a healthy vagina:
- Wash and wipe every time you use the loo
- Indulge in some dusting powder if you experience itching
- Wear cotton panties to let it breathe
- Use natural sanitary pads during your periods