Vaginal discharge is a fluid that comes out of your vagina, which can vary in colour, including clear, off-white, white, green, yellow, and brown. The uterus, cervix and vagina produce vaginal discharge, which is usually made of cells and bacteria. It helps in cleaning your vagina, and in preventing harmful bacteria. The discharge from your vagina is a normal and natural process, but any change in its colour and smell can be a warning sign of infection or disease.
Every woman has different amounts of vaginal discharge. While some people produce more discharge, others experience very little. Any kind of abnormal vaginal discharge can be treated using medication. Read the article further to know about the possible causes of vaginal discharge in women.
Causes of vaginal discharge
Normal and regular vaginal discharge is a sign of a healthy reproductive system. The vaginal discharge contains a lot of materials including, vaginal fluid, cervical mucus, dead cells, and bacteria. Listed below are seven possible causes of vaginal discharge:
1. Hormonal imbalances
Hormonal imbalances caused due to stress, poor diet, or any other underlying health conditions can lead to more vaginal discharge. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms are caused by hormonal imbalances, and can also result in vaginal discharge. However, keep in mind that not everyone who has PCOS will have heavier vaginal discharge. It is important to pay attention to any other associated PCOS symptoms, as it can help a person in identifying and getting medical treatment for the condition.
Another possible cause of vaginal discharge is sexual arousal as it can trigger many physical responses in a woman's body. Arousal leads to an increase in the blood flow in your genitals. The blood vessels get enlarged and flush fluid to the surface of the vaginal walls as a result. Arousal fluid is mostly clear and watery and has a slippery texture, and also helps in lubricating the vagina while having sex.
Vaginitis is a condition which causes inflammation of the vagina, which develops due to an infection or factors like douches, lubricants, and poorly fitted clothing. Vaginitis can result in thick vaginal discharge, which may be white, grey, yellow, or green. Some other symptoms of vaginitis are foul vaginal odour, an itching or painful burning in the genital area, and redness, inflammation in the vagina.
4. Yeast infection
Vaginal yeast infections can cause vaginal discharge and these happen if a particular fungus, called candida grows out of control in your vagina. It can result in a thick and white vaginal discharge. Your vagina may also swell and get itchy, and can cause painful sex. Yeast infections are treatable with antifungal medications.
5. Bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a condition which is caused by a bacteria overgrowth in the vagina. The infection is usually seen in women of the age group 15-44 years. The exact cause behind bacterial vaginosis is still unknown. Women can develop bacterial vaginosis post sexual intercourse. Individuals who have bacterial vaginosis may have a milky vaginal discharge. Some women may have a fishy vaginal odor, after sexual intercourse. Bacterial vaginosis can cause other symptoms such as discomfort while urinating, burning sensation or itching in the vagina.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that one can get from having sex with an infected individual. A parasite can cause trichomoniasis. The infection makes your vaginal discharge green, yellow, bubbly, and frothy. It can get treated with antibiotics.
7. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea
Two common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), namely, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can also cause discharge in women. It can happen from having sex with an infected individual. Both infections can be treated using antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. In some cases, people have a cloudy, yellow or green vaginal discharge. If it does not get treated, the infection can spread, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause pelvic pain.