Vaginal discharge: causes, types, and diagnosis


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vaginal discharge treatment

What is vaginal discharge?

Every woman will have some level of discharge as a part of the body’s function. This discharge is nothing but liquid that comes from the vagina. The key purpose of the vaginal discharge is to lubricate the vagina and repel any infections.

The vaginal discharge from a healthy vagina is usually clear or milky in color with no strong, unpleasant smell. It varies from a water consistency to a sticky consistency. The normal vaginal discharge is slightly acidic and thus repels germs.

Healthy vaginal discharge is made up of fluid from the vaginal walls, dead cells, and mucus from the cervix, as well as the lactobacilli and it is responsible for balancing the vaginal ecosystem. It has a characteristic smell that is not unpleasant or foul smelling. Apart from providing a protective environment, vaginal discharge also provides natural lubrication.

For women, it is important to understand what normal discharge is and how it varies throughout the menstrual cycle. Recognizing the different phases of your discharge is important to understand the hormonal pattern of your own body and helps you identify any abnormal changes as well.

What are the different types of vaginal discharge?

The vaginal discharge is hormonally influenced and any variation in the amount, color, or consistency of discharge throughout the cycle is associated with hormonal imbalance in your body. Based on this, Vaginal discharge types are divided into four groups: pre-pubertal; reproductive, during pregnancy; and post-menopausal.


Before puberty, girls normally have no vaginal discharge, unless they have vaginal irritation or infection.


From a woman’s first periods until menopause, menstrual hormones i.e. estrogen levels are responsible for vaginal discharge throughout the cycle. Consistency of secretion is related to changing levels of estrogen and progesterone. In the first week after your period, a discharge is not usually present. In the middle of your cycle, discharge is normally thin and clear and by the end of cycle it may be red, brownish or even black.

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy: What is normal and when is vaginal discharge problematic?

Vaginal discharge in pregnancy is quite normal but mere discharge is not a sign of pregnancy. During pregnancy, the cervix and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections. Brownish discharge is normal for many women in the early stages of pregnancy. However, in the later week of pregnancy if discharge increases or if you notice small specks of blood in discharge, let your healthcare professional know.

Discharge after menopause:

After menopause, estrogen levels decrease drastically, decreasing the amount of vaginal discharge and causing vaginal dryness. The odor of discharge may even change as the normal bacteria also changes.

Throughout their life, women notice excessive vaginal discharge during pregnancy, vaginal discharg during sex, or when they are taking contraceptive pills (OTCs).

What are the main vaginal discharge causes?

Vaginal discharge is often associated with vaginal infection, hormonal imbalance, or both. Lactobacilli are the main type of bacteria living in a normal, healthy vagina. They are known as good bacteria for maintaining a healthy environment in the vagina. An imbalance or overgrowth of bad bacteria or disruption of the healthy vaginal environment can make you more prone to the common conditions of fungal infections such as vaginal candidiasis or bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of infective vaginal discharge. BV is caused by a change in the balance or absence of lactobacilli in the vagina. The condition results when the vagina is unable to return to its normal state and becomes more alkaline. You may notice a change to the color and consistency of your discharge and also notice offensive or fishy odor.

Fungal and yeast infectionsare another common reason for changes in discharge. Many women have Candida, a common yeast infection known as vaginal thrush. You may experience symptoms around your vulva, such as vaginal itching and soreness. The discharge is non-smelly, thick, and white in color(thick white vaginal discharge).

Candida can overgrow in situations where there is increased estrogen, for example when someone is on the oral contraceptive pill or when the level of lactobacilli decreases due to the use of antibiotics.

Yeast infections are also very common during pregnancy compared to any other time in a woman’s life and it’s important to get the right treatment.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are sometimes the reasons for vaginal discharge, especially Chlamydia. Chlamydia infections may first appear as increased amounts of discharge, as is also often associated with soreness during sex and especially during urination. However many STI cases are asymptomatic and require accurate diagnosis.

Other common causes of vaginal infections and abnormal vaginal discharge are skin conditions of the vagina, allergies to latex on condoms, tampons, irritation from perfumes, deodorants, soaps, etc. Overuse of vaginal cleansing products can also reduce the lactobacilli and reduce the protective effect of the discharge.

At La Midas, you get the best blend of vast experience and cutting edge technology for the best vaginal discharge treatment in Gurgaon.

A color-coded guide to vaginal discharge

It is important to recognize changes in your discharge that may indicate a problem. Along with changes in discharge, you may experience other symptoms such as pain, irritation, or itchiness in or around your vagina. Here is a list of different colors of vaginal discharge, what it means, what related symptoms are, and when to seek help:

  • Clear or slightly milky: It is normal and nothing to worry about.

  • Black Vaginal discharge: It’s normal if you notice black vaginal discharge at the end of the period.

  • White, cottage cheese-like: This is a sign of yeast infection or Candida, commonly called thrush. The discharge usually does not have a foul odor. It is often accompanied by itchiness and redness. Some women also complain about pain during urination, or some patients have pain with just sitting or standing.

  • Grey, yellow or green vaginal discharge: These are the usual symptoms of Bacterial vaginosis. The discharge has a fishy odor and typically becomes more intense after intercourse.

  • Green or yellow vaginal discharge: Trichomoniasis is the most common STI that causes a frothy green smelly vaginal discharge, with itching and pain. Sometimes the inner thighs also become itchy. One may experience pain or discomfort when passing urine or having sex.

  • Brown, pink or red: It is normal to see bloody vaginal discharge in the first week after your periods. However, if it happens in between the cycle, it could be a sign of something more serious such as cervical infection, pelvic pain, irregular menstruation, or vaginal bleeding.

Brown vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of ovarian or cervical cancer. Even though it is a rare care; it’s best to rule out the possibility with proper consultation.

When to seek help for vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge means many things, some of the symptoms are truly diagnostic, or some may create confusion and only a doctor can make the diagnosis. A normal, healthy discharge has a watery consistency, weak smell it is because the watery vaginal discharge has a mild, acidic nature. But the discharge is colored and the odor begins to get more pungent, it may be due to an infection in the vagina.

If you have increased discharge and some of the other symptoms such as itchiness, redness or vagina, etc., it is a good idea to get examined by your doctor.

Vaginal discharge during early pregnancy may Increase. However, during the later stage of pregnancy if you see red/brown-colored discharge with itchiness or soreness you should contact your doctor urgently, as it can sometimes be a sign of a miscarriage or a problem with the placenta.

Certain growths and changes in your hormonal levels can cause a colored discharge throughout your cycle, however, if you get any bloody discharge between your periods it can be a symptom of cervical cancer. It is always important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Only you know your body and it’s a good idea to pay attention to your vaginal discharge to recognize what is normal or abnormal for you. If you notice any change in color, smell or texture of your discharge, feel any pain or soreness, or if you start having pain in your abdomen or sex becomes painful, it’s best to have it checked out. The combination of these factors can help reveal what may be going on in your body and your doctor is the right person to give you the best advice for your situation.

If you are looking for the best vaginal discharge treatment in Gurgaon, La Midas is the best for you.

What to expect at a doctor’s appointment?

During the first appointment, your doctor will ask you information about the characteristics of the vaginal discharge, date of your last period, symptoms, previous history of vaginal infections, and other medicinal histories. The doctor will also inquire about your sexual history, type of contraceptives you use, etc. By asking these questions the doctor is working out what your risk is and which tests might be needed.

Based on the collected information and your symptoms, a physical examination will be carried out to check the presence of any abnormalities, infections, etc. If required your doctor will collect a small amount of swab, urine sample and/or blood for further testing. According to your test results, the doctor will discuss further treatment plans with you.

Diagnosis for vaginal discharge

Vaginal infection is checked by physical examination, laboratory-based diagnostic tests and ICD-10. The physical exam includes inspection of the vagina, vulva and cervix and for accurate diagnosis, problem-focused laboratory tests are carried out. Your physician will refer to the International Classification of Diseases codes ICD 10 that contains more than 70,000 disease codes and these codes enable your doctor to combine symptoms for an accurate diagnosis.

If your doctor suspects you have Bacterial vaginosis, you will be asked about your symptoms and sexual history. BV is typically indicated by the acidity of vaginal fluid. Your doctor will carry out the test using pH paper and along with that a small swab sample is collected for checking ‘clue cells‘. These are vaginal cells that are covered with bacteria. Diagnosis is done based on raised pH of vaginal fluid, color, and unpleasant smell of discharge and presence of clue cells./p>

If your doctor thinks you have risk factors for an STI, a small specimen from your endocervix will be collected for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. Trichomoniasis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to those of other STIs. The swab will be analyzed in a laboratory to check for signs of the trichomoniasis infection.

For diagnosing yeast infection, you’ll be asked about your symptoms. Candida is typically diagnosed by color of discharge and redness, swelling of the vagina and vulva. Your doctor may look at your vagina and collect the discharge to test. With the right course of antifungal medicine, infection should clear up within a week. If you are suffering from repetitive infections, your doctor will recommend regular doses of antifungal medication to fight the infection.

vaginal discharge treatment in Gurgaon

If you have increased discharge associated with soreness during sex and especially during urination, doctors will run tests for Chlamydia. The test is simple, painless, and involves sending a sample of your swab and urine to a laboratory for analysis. The results will normally be available in 7 to 10 days.

Cervical cancer does not usually carry any external symptoms and if you are experiencing unusual or persistent vaginal bleeding in between your periods, the doctor will suggest a Cervical Screening Test to check the health of your cervix. This common test serves for the early detection of cervical cancer. If test results are positive for cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist gynecological oncologist for further treatment.

Best vaginal discharge treatment in Gurgaon

La Midas is a state of the art center that provides best quality services of the international standard of technology in Gurgaon. The Clinic provides specialist care for women suffering from vaginal infection and discomfort. The entire testing and treatment plan is designed by considering the overall health and wellbeing of every patient.

Our friendly counselors are always ready to assist and encourage patients to talk about their sexual health and concerns. The clinic is a perfect amalgamation of surgical & nonsurgical aesthetic services along with services related to women wellness, intimate care, and other wellness services under one roof.

La Midas - The Complete Medical Aesthetics and Wellness Centre
The vision for LAMIDAS emerged out of the love and support received by the people of Gurgaon to Neelkanth Group of Hospitals.

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