White Vaginal Discharge-When To Worry

There are several reasons why women have white vaginal discharge; some of the reasons require medical attention, while some do not necessarily need one. Let us examine some of these reasons and if the reasons do prompt you to visit your gynecologist.

Is It Abnormal?

It is important to note that having vaginal discharges does not automatically mean you have an infection or a disease, due to physiologic events such as the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, women have white vaginal discharge. What women should take careful note of is if the vaginal discharge is normal or not. Normal vaginal discharge usually appears clear to cloudy white then yellowish when it dries on the clothing. At times the discharge may contain white flecks; there are also times when the vaginal discharge appears thin and stringy. The changes in the consistency of vaginal discharges is due to many reasons; the use of contraceptive pills, the menstrual cycle, other medications, emotional stress and sexual arousal are just some of them.

When the White Vaginal Discharge Is Considered Abnormal

When there are certain changes in the consistency and characteristics of white vaginal discharge, this may indicate that there is already something wrong. If the vaginal discharge exhibits the following signs, you might as well visit your gynecologist. The signs that indicate the vaginal discharge is not normal are the following:

• Presence of rash, soreness and itching
• Increased and persistent discharges
• White, clumpy discharge that appears like cottage cheese
• Grey, white or yellow-green discharge accompanied with a foul odor
• Burning sensation on the nearby skin upon urination

Reasons for the Abnormal White Vaginal Discharge

Several infections and disease conditions also contribute to the abnormal change in the characteristics of the vaginal discharge. Abnormal white vaginal discharge can be caused by the following infections:

• Bacterial Vaginosis

This is a condition where pathogenic bacteria outnumber the normal bacteria that keeps the vaginal environment healthy. The normal flora of the vagina produces lactic acid which kills other bacteria that my cause an infection. But when the normal flora are killed or destroyed, the number of pathogenic bacteria increases, thereby causing an infection.
This infection has the following signs and symptoms:

• Increased discharge
• A discharge that has a foul or fishy odor
• Odor that increases after sexual intercourse
• Thin, watery, grayish to white vaginal discharge

The treatment for bacterial vaginosis includes topical or oral administration of Metronidazole (Flagyl). It is not an over the counter drug so make sure to consult first with your gynecologist.

• Yeast Infection

Another infection that causes abnormal changes in the vaginal discharge is Monilia or yeast infection. This also happens when the delicate pH balance of the vagina is disturbed; when the pH changes it causes increased reproduction of the yeast found in the vaginal environment. Yeast infections are usually caused by increased stress, use or oral contraceptives and antibiotics, pregnancy and diabetes. This type of infection has the following manifestations:

• White, clumpy, cottage cheese like discharge
• Itching, redness, and burning sensation on the vaginal area
• Increased amount of white vaginal discharge