Vaginal discharge is indeed a most common complaint among women of the reproductive age. Vaginal discharge relates to the fluid that is secreted by the glands that lines the vagina and the cervix. A small amount of vaginal discharge is quite common. Normally it is milky white and does not possess any clear or distinguishable odor.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is mainly characterized by three symptoms. Excessive discharge, changes in the color and odor of the discharge, itching or some other irritation within the vagina and vulva are the three symptoms that need to be brought under a specialist’s notice.
Inflammation of vagina, usually known as vaginitis, can lead to abnormal vaginal discharge. Ay external chemical that irritates the soft tissues of the vagina can make it inflamed. Insertion of foreign objects within the vagina is the most common cause of inflammation found in teenagers.
Vaginal irritation may result from the use of spermicides, vaginal lubricants, diaphragms and contraceptive tools such as latex condoms. Menopausal women are also prone to the development of vaginal infection. After menopause, vaginal tissues tend to be drier and thinner. In such a case, it is natural for the vagina to get inflamed and cause abnormal vaginal discharge.
A change in appearance and smell of the vaginal discharge points to bacterial vaginosis. In this case, vaginal discharge tends to be white, gray, or yellowish in color. It changes from its natural clear state to a cloudy condition. A strange fishy smell is also coccurs in some cases.
Candidiasis, a yeast infection is yet anther cause of abnormal vaginal discharge. In this case, it resembles cottage cheese in constitution. Vaginal discharge becomes thick and white in color. Severe itching is yet another symptom of candidiasis.
A protozoan infection, called trichomoniasis turns the vaginal discharge into greenish yellow color. Frothy discharge with a bad odor is the characteristic feature of this sexually transmitted disease.