Our bodies have internal healing mechanisms and a means of keeping all organ systems balanced and in optimal health. The immune, skeletal, and endocrine system work together to promote the healthy function of each part of the body. For females, it is normal to have some vaginal discharge from time to time. In most cases, the occurrence of vaginal discharge does not equate to having health problems. However, if the discharge has a different color or odor, these could be signs of a hormonal imbalance or even an infection.
Since the vaginal area is a moist and sensitive area, it sheds cells on a regular basis. This is not a cause for concern a natural response. Since the woman’s body is complex, it responds to stimuli from other organ systems as well. Blatant changes in the color, texture, smell, or type of discharge can indicate a woman’s overall health. There are treatment options available to maintain the health of this organ and organ systems.
Normal Occurrences of Vaginal Discharge
Some discharge is not always a warning sign of a condition that needs immediate treatment. The woman’s body has the ability to circulate nutrients and cells where needed during natural functions. For example, when a woman is pregnant, menstruating, ovulating, or even breastfeeding, the body may produce some vaginal discharge. In fact, the vaginal area contains cells that shed and cleanse the area naturally on a regular basis. When the amount of normal bacteria in the vagina is imbalanced, the smell, color, or texture of discharge is affected.
Discharge is actually a substance produced by the female reproductive system and contains water, microorganisms, and v@gina cells. It is stimulated by estrogen that triggers the vaginal wall, glands of the cervix and uterus to flush old cells. Consequently, this results in the often unwanted and sometimes unnoticed excreted in small amounts. Discharge itself may appear milky white or thin, viscous and even stretchy. Therefore, the consistency is not a factor to be concerned about if it occurs naturally.
What Influences Discharge Texture and Color?
There are numerous factors that may affect the consistency and even the odor of discharge. This may depend on the health of the body as a whole since all organ systems work synergistically. Essentially, some changes in discharge may indicate certain imbalances in the diet that affect the endocrine system. Incidentally, environmental factors like stress or even dehydration may cause a change in the consistency or amount of discharge produced. In actuality, any change in the body’s water content will influence changes in a woman’s discharge at any point.
Another example of an outside factor that could change the amount or viscosity of discharge are medications like birth control. This medication changes the amount of estrogen and progesterone that is present in the body. It stops the body from natural menstrual cycles and may cause discharge to become thicker or stickier than usual. Essentially, this is the reason that it is used to block sperm from entering the v@ginal canal. Generally, a woman should know what to expect when it comes to normal discharge amounts, smell, and viscosity.
Signs of Abnormal Discharge
When there are noticeable changes in discharge that are more extreme than usual, it may require tests or treatment. Signs of changes in discharge may manifest as physical symptoms or provide visual indications of changes. The symptoms can also range in severity and require treatment to rebalance the body to prevent infections. When changes occur, it is wise to visit a doctor or gynecologist to identify, observe, and treat the problem. Observable changes may include:
1. Thick and white consistency
2. Green or yellow in color
3. Appearance like cottage cheese
4. Strong or uncomfortable odor
5. Itching or pains in the vaginal area
6. Pelvic pain
7. Pain or discomfort with sex
Identifying an Infection Through Discharge
There are sure signs of an infection when it comes to vaginal discharge from a woman’s body. Discharge may begin with uncomfortable symptoms like itching in the groin area, swelling, or strange odors and progress rapidly. If the discharge is green, yellow, or gray in color or has a consistency like foam or cottage cheese, this indicates infection. Accordingly, some STD’s like gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia may cause swelling and abnormal changes in discharge. Other conditions like diabetes or have other conditions that influence the immune system may cause changes as well.
Yeast infections are some of the most common causes of uncomfortable or abnormal discharge. However, if symptoms become regular or more uncomfortable than usual, it is probably a good idea to visit a specialist. Pain is not a normal occurrence with the natural flow of discharge in any woman. Pelvic or uterine pain is a good cause to visit a doctor. With this being said, if there is burning associated with the discharge, this is an immediate reason to visit a doctor.
Cervical problems include:
• Cervical cancer
• Cervical incompetence – this can happen during pregnancy when the cervix begins to dilate much sooner than the baby is due.
• Cervicitis – Inflammation of the cervix, usually caused by an infection.
• Cervical cysts and polyps – abnormal growths.
Tests and Treatments for Abnormal Discharge
If a doctor visit is required, there are specific tests that can be conducted to discern the reasons for abnormal discharge. Incidentally, completing tests can also lead to acquiring the most appropriate treatment for the condition at hand. When the amount of bad bacteria takes over the number of good bacteria in the v@ginal area, dysfunctions begin to occur. The tests to be administered are also based on the symptoms the individual experiences. Medications can be taken immediately to treat the signs and symptoms of discharge problems.
Tests for abnormal discharge include:
Cell vaginal culture
Explant vaginal culture
Treatments (pharmaceutical) may include:
A vaginal culture can be performed to identify what specific microorganism is causing abnormal discharge and symptoms. Other symptoms associated with vaginal discharge may be issues or disruptions in the cervix or mucosal tissues. Polyps in the cervical area may cause discharge due to an excessive amount of pressure. On a rare occasion, this can indicate cancer but are usually easy to remove with minor surgical procedures. Vaginal discharge is an indicator of the health of a woman’s organ systems and can be treated easily when imbalanced.