This is the question that many women and young girls have in their minds. And when this happens, some get even uncomfortable telling others about their experiences. This leaves many with an unsolved side-questions such as;
  • Why is it sticky?
  • What is this smell?
  • What about this color?
  • Am I not getting sick? And more…


Vaginal Discharge

I am here today, to answer this question and other side-questions.

It is NORMAL to have Vaginal Discharge.

Any reproductive woman should understand that there is nothing wrong at first place to have vaginal discharge. Sometimes some do not even notice these daily discharge and wetness. Our concern is to know what is normal and what is not. 

A normal vaginal discharge has the following common characteristics:

  • Clear/ White (*sometimes it is white when you have a fungi infection)
  • Slight odor, No strong smell. 

The two above are the principle characteristics of a healthy vaginal discharge. Usually, the discharge is influenced by hormonal changes. So it is highly expected to have these healthy discharges when you are ovulating, during pregnancy, and having sex. These should not set you an alarm of worries and should be embraced. 

A soft non-tender, wet vagina is good for health.

Now, the side-questions are what we need to address (what is not normal). Any change in color, smell, and amount of the flow has relevant probably causes and needs attention. These changes answer the question of whether you are getting sick or not. 


Yeast Infection:

This is a fungi infection of the vaginal that characteristically has thick, white, and curd-like (almost like cottage cheese). The discharge will be odorless. Other signs are burning, redness, and irritation of the vaginal area.

Yeast Infection
 
See a doctor when the symptoms persist for more than 5 days and getting worse with time. Also when you are pregnant and develop this thick white discharge it is important to see a doctor highly because the health of the mother affects the child in the womb. 


Bacterial Infection:

Sometimes women get bacterial infections that contribute to direct changes in the normal vaginal flow. When you have yellowish or grey discharge that is accompanied by other systemic symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, waist, and lower back pain; chances are you have a vaginal bacterial infection.  Usually, the discharge is accompanied by a strong smell.

Bacterial Infection


 When the infection persists for a long period of time the discharge is likely to change to greenish sometimes becomes yellowish-greenish. These changes also give an alarm on sexually transmitted infections.


Bleeding discharge

This should not be ignored. Well, many women on reproductive age should know that having red-colored bleeding during periods is normal (will have another day to talk on menstruation). But sometimes this could happen more than once in a regular month.

While it is normal during the period it could also be an abnormal bleeding.  When the color changes to red/pink then that could probably be a sign of implantation bleeding, or cervical bleeding.

 For pregnant women, this bleeding is a sign of miscarriage or a threatened abortion and is an emergency. 

For women on menopause or post-menopausal then bleeding is an alarm to uterine malignancy and needs to be investigated.


Keep it healthy.

Each woman’s vagina is UNIQUE so don't compare it with anyone else’s especially on size, texture, and shape of labia and clitoris.


Vaginal health

To keep a healthy vagina:
  •  Avoid douching.
  •  Eat healthily.
  • Have safe sex.
  • Meet a gynecologist once a year.
  • Wear dry underwear.
  • Do not use petroleum jelly as a lubricant, and 
  • Have general good hygiene.

Written by Dr Augustine Rutasingwa, a junior Medical Doctor and a Traveller.
Check him out on Twitter  : #DaktariMtalii