Did you just see white discharge there? Are you worried?
When you see white discharge do not panic!
You should know to differentiate whether it is normal or abnormal and whether you need to seek a medical consultation.
White discharge is also called as Leucorrhea. There are two types of Leucorrhoea: physiological and pathological.
- Physiological leucorrhea-The glands of the vagina normally secrete certain amount of mucus like fluid that moistens your vagina and is your body’s way of cleaning and protecting the vagina. Normally, vaginal discharge occurs in regular variations of amount and consistency during the course of the menstrual cycle. A greater than usual amount is normal in pregnancy and decreases after delivery and menopause. Furthermore, it is normal for discharge to increase with exercise, sexual arousal, ovulation, stress and use of oral contraceptives. None of these is alarming.
- Pathological leucorrhea- Pathological or abnormal vaginal discharge, however, is usually caused by an infection. It may be thick, viscid and foul smelling.
What causes abnormal discharge?
Any change in the vagina’s balance of normal bacteria can affect the smell, colour or discharge texture.
These are the things that can affect your normal vaginal balance-
- A bacterial infection more common in pregnant women or women who have multiple sexual partners
- Yeast infections
- Trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection
- Vaginitis, irritation in or around the vagina
- Antibiotic or steroid use
- Frequent use of anti-septic douches, scented soaps or lotions
- Chlamydia or gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Infection of the cervix during childbirth.The infection irritates the mucous glands of the cervix causing them to secrete excessive mucus
- Pelvic infection after surgery
- Cervical cancer
- Benign conditions, such as polyps or Leiomyoma uteri
Types of abnormal vaginal discharge and their possible causes-
- Bacterial vaginosis- is a bacterial infection and is quite common. This infection causes increased vaginal discharge that has a strong, foul odour, although in some cases it produces no symptoms. Women who have multiple sexual partners have an increased risk of acquiring this infection.
- Trichomoniasis- This is another type of infection, but it is caused by a protozoan. The infection is usually spread by sexual contact, but can also be contracted by sharing towels or bathing suits. This infection results in a yellow or green discharge that has a foul odour. Pain, inflammation and itching are also common symptoms.
- Yeast Infection- is a fungal infection that produces white, cottage cheese-like discharge in addition to burning and itching sensations. The presence of yeast in the vagina is normal, but its growth can multiply out of control in certain situations. Stress, diabetes, oral contraceptive use, pregnancy, antibiotics may increase your likelihood of yeast infections.
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia-These two sexually transmitted infections can produce an abnormal discharge, which is often yellow or cloudy.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease-This type of infection is often caused by sexual contact and occurs when bacteria spreads up the vagina and into other reproductive organs. It may produce a heavy, foul-smelling discharge.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Cervical Cancer-The HPV infection, which is caused by sexual contact, can lead to cervical cancer. While there may be no symptoms, this type of cancer can produce a bloody, brown, or watery discharge with a bad odour.
How to take care of Leucorrhea at home
- To prevent infection, you should practice good hygiene and wear breathable, cotton underwear.
- To decrease the likelihood of yeast infections, when taking antibiotics, eat yogurt that contains live and active cultures.
- Avoid using hygiene sprays, fragrances or powders in the genital area. Use pads and avoid tampons while you have an infection.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels in control.
- Properly clean your genital area while bathing or showering. Wipe properly after using the toilet always from front to back. Wash thoroughly before and after using the bathroom.
- Always practice safe sex, and use condoms to avoid catching or spreading infections.
- Keep your genital area clean and dry when you have vaginitis.
- Soak in a warm, not hot, bath may help your symptoms. Dry thoroughly afterward.
- Avoid douching with anti-septic solutions. Many women feel cleaner when they douche, but it may actually worsen symptoms because it removes healthy bacteria that line the vagina. These bacteria help protect against infection.
- Boil 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds in 1 glass of water and reduce to ½ the quantity. Consume this twice daily before food.
- Soak 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds in 100ml of water over night, filter and drink the water in the early morning.
- Regular douching of the genital tract with the decoction of bark of udumbara (fig tree) keeps the vaginal tract healthy and clean. Boil 2 tsp powder of udumbara bark in 1 litre of water and reduce to ½ litre. When it is luke warm use for douching.
- In yeast infection douching with yasthimadhu will be effective.
- If discharge is very thick with itching triphala decoction douche will be beneficial.
- Mix turmeric, yasthimadhu, amalaki churna in 1:2:2 ratio. Take 1 tsp of this mixture with warm water twice a daily in yeast infection till your symptoms are gone.
- Consumption of tandulodaka (rice washed water) helps to reduce itchiness and burning sensation.
Ayurvedic formulations for white discharge in women
Ayurveda describes various kinds of abnormal vaginal discharge under yoni vyapad and swetha pradara.
The following Ayurvedic formulations are very effective in leucorrhea-
- Musali khadiradi khasyam – 15ml mixed with equal amount of water should be taken twice daily before food.
- Pushyanuga churna- 1 tsp with honey twice daily
- Ashokarishta- 20ml mixed with equal quantity of water should be taken after meals twice daily.
- Patrangasava- 20ml mixed with equal quantity of water should be taken after meals twice daily.
- Other medicines like Chandra prabha vati, yashad bhasma, pradarantaka lauha are also very beneficial.
Remember, regular exercise improves blood circulation and builds immunity to prevent bacterial attacks. Adequate sleep and rest facilitate faster healing. Avoid fried and bakery foods. Follow a healthy life style and stay healthy.