Vaginal discharge isn’t always something to cause concern. There are several reasons that an increased amount of discharge is occurring, while most of these are natural changes in the body, there are a few that are signs of an underlying condition. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms along with an increased amount of discharge, it may be time to consult your healthcare provider.
When is a vaginal discharge considered healthy?
Most women produce approximately one teaspoon of white or clear discharge a day. It can be thin, thick, slippery, or creamy and be either white or off-white. Very little or no odor is common. In the days following your menstrual period, you may experience a dark red or brown discharge as the uterus continues to expel blood.
Depending on where you are in your cycle, you may see an increase in the amount of discharge as you ovulate. Once the egg is released the amount lessens and becomes thicker and whiter. Other symptoms of ovulation include increased basal body temperature, one-sided abdominal pain, and spotting.
If the discharge you are experiencing is within these ranges, it is most likely normal and considered healthy. However, some factors will also determine the health of any discharge including age, sexual activity, medications or other underlying health conditions. STD testing and treatment in San Francisco.
Hormonal imbalances in women can occur when there is an abnormal amount, too much or too little, of a hormone in the bloodstream. Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system and travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs telling the organs what to do and when. They are also crucial for regulating most major bodily processes making imbalances able to affect several functions. Even small imbalances can wreak havoc throughout the body. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by numerous underlying issues such as stress or other health conditions. If the inequality is with hormones dealing with the reproductive system, an increased amount of vaginal discharge may be seen. Consultation with a physician is warranted if the discharge does not resolve over a relatively short amount of time or if there are other symptoms associated as well.
Individuals that use tampons during their menstrual cycle or condoms for sexual activity may be surprised to learn that it isn’t uncommon to “lose” one. Typically, during the final days of your period, the flow is light making it easy for some women to forget the tampon. Women who are very busy or stressed may put in a new tampon before taking out the previous one, not realizing it until symptoms present. Coincidentally, during sexual intercourse, if the condom has not been used correctly or is the wrong size, it can fall off and become lost in the vagina.
Both scenarios can lead to excessive, foul-smelling discharge ranging in colors from yellow to green or pink to brown. Other symptoms may include fever, itching, pain during sex or urination, and rash or swelling around the vagina.
Often, women are not able to retrieve the offending object even if they realize what has happened. A trip to your doctor and occasionally antibiotics, if an infection has begun, may be warranted. Recovery from this type of issue is generally quick once the foreign object has been removed.
Approximately 75 percent of women are affected by yeast infections at one time or another. Several conditions can cause them to occur such as antibiotics, a weak immune system, high blood sugar or tight synthetic clothing.
Antibiotics are useful in treating certain illnesses. Unfortunately, they can also disrupt the delicate balance in the vagina causing a yeast infection. Typically, this condition will result in a watery or cottage-cheese-like discharge along with itching, rash, pain or soreness and burning during sex or urination.
Other health conditions such as a weak immune system or high blood sugar should be addressed with your physician to help prevent yeast infections. It may sound like an obvious solution, but if the cause of infections are the type or fit of clothes you are wearing, minor changes to your wardrobe may be the only way to prevent future outbreaks.
Treatment for yeast infections includes either over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications or topical ointments. While the condition is extremely uncomfortable, it typically reacts well to these types of treatment helping you to feel more like yourself in no time.
Allergic reactions are possible in or around the vagina just like other parts of the body. Typical offenders are cleansers, douches, sex toys, clothing, and even toilet paper. Itching, redness or pain during sex or urination can be seen along with an excess in vaginal discharge. Usually, once you have discontinued use of the product, symptoms will disappear as the vagina returns to normal. In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary.
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) in Women
STIs in women such as gonorrhea and chlamydia often have no initial symptoms; however, as it progresses, infected women may experience foul-smelling or thick vaginal discharge and possibly even bleeding between periods. If left untreated, STIs can lead to more severe infections of the reproductive organs like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and fertility.
Treatment for STIs varies depending on the diagnosis. Strong antibiotics are most often prescribed, and most infections respond positively if caught early. Regardless if you are experiencing symptoms of an STI or not, routine annual screenings or testing are highly recommended if you are sexually active. The sooner you begin treatment, if infected, the higher your chances are of a successful recovery. To prevent the spread of STIs always use proper protection and use precautions.
When to see a healthcare provider
Most often vaginal discharges are not a cause for concern unless there are other unusual symptoms as well. Patients should seek the advice of a medical professional if experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Strange odor
- Yellow, green or gray discharge
- Abnormal bleeding between menstrual cycles.
EZCare STD Clinic is dedicated to working with each of our patients to determine the cause of any issues. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms, don’t wait, call today and schedule an appointment (415) 966-0848. Our caring staff will address all your healthcare needs 7 days a week, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm PST. With numerous specialties and clinics to choose from, your health and confidentiality is our top priority.