Myths and Facts about Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge holds an important role in keeping the female reproductive system in excellent, overall function. It serves the primary purpose of cleaning the internal parts of a woman’s reproductive system by successfully transporting unwanted components such as dead cells, tissues, and foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses outside a woman’s body.
Vaginal discharge is mainly produced by the secreting glands located in the cervix and vaginal walls. It is then important to note that the presence of vaginal discharge is a completely normal occurrence which happens to women upon reaching their adolescent years. The vaginal and cervical walls produce just the right amount of discharge to clear itself of tissues and cells which have sloughed off from the cervical and vaginal lining. In order to ensure the healthy function of the reproductive system, the reproductive glands stimulate the production of vaginal fluid as its effective cleansing agents.
Aside from its main function, vaginal discharge also serves other purposes; all of which facilitate reproductive wellness.
As the name suggests, cervical mucus is made by the glands that are located within the uterine walls. The color, volume, and consistency of the cervical mucus largely depend on a women’s reproductive cycle. In essence, vaginal discharge is found to be thicker in consistency when a woman is nearing her menstrual period. It becomes thinner and more transparent a few days after menstruation. Essentially consistency, color, and volume are very much dictated by the hormones that are at their respective peaks during a women’s cycle.
Another factor which affects the characteristics of cervical or vaginal discharge is that of medications. Women who are taking birth control pills are known to constantly feature thick vaginal secretions. The color and consistency never changes unless contraceptives are eliminated from one’s medication regimen.
Normally, vaginal discharge features clear to white color. Once the fluids dry up, vaginal discharge showcases a white to yellow tinge. The body only produces cervical mucus on the onset of puberty and usually lasts right before the start of menopause. It is only ideal that women should be aware of the normal characteristics of vaginal discharge so she can undergo the necessary diagnostic and medical treatment interventions when vaginal discharge features deviate from its normal qualities.
Another type of discharge that is produced within the reproductive system is vaginal lubrication. As the name suggests, it functions to lubricate the vagina during sexual intercourse. It is also produced when a woman is sexually excited or aroused by both internal and external factors.
Lubrication is primarily secreted by the glands located within the vaginal walls. It facilitates easy access and enables a woman to enjoy sexual activity without getting hurt in the process. The amount of vaginal lubricating fluid decreases among women who breastfeed. In addition, women who are approaching their menopausal years feature lower amounts of vaginal lubrication due to the fact that reproductive hormones substantially decrease in production during this stage of a women’s reproductive phase.
The urethral gland also produces vast amount of vaginal discharge. Instead of urine, the glands located in the urethra produce a clear fluid, a signal that a woman has reached orgasm during sexual foreplay or sexual intercourse. Unlike urine, female ejaculation is clear and does not feature any unwanted odor.
What is normal vaginal discharge?
A common misconception about vaginal discharge is that a change from the typical clear and odorless qualities denotes the presence of sexually transmitted disease or a serious medical condition. This is not the case, as no two women lead a fairly similar lifestyle. What is normal vaginal discharge for one woman may be unusual findings for another female individual. One cannot diagnose the health and condition of the reproductive system simply by visual inspection of vaginal discharge. Certain diagnostic exams and tests need to be undertaken by women to check their existing reproductive health condition.
Although you may be deemed to seek a consult when it comes to reproductive health, there are unusual characteristics that vaginal discharge features which may lead you to conclude probable STD infection or other medical disease as well.
Myths and Facts about Vaginal Discharge
Myth: The practice of douching can clean the internal reproductive parts to make them optimally functional and healthy.
Truth: Douching is not a required activity that is to be performed by women. This is due to the fact that vaginal discharge plays the important role of cleansing the reproductive system. The reproductive system is highly independent when it comes to keeping the pH and flora in check and within normal limits. Douche only when prescribed by your medical doctor.
Myth: Fishy smell means that something is wrong with your reproductive system.
Truth: As mentioned, there are myriad of factors that affect the color, smell, and consistency of vaginal discharge. Diet plays a large role in the production of vaginal discharge production. Salty and highly acidic food items result in a fishy-smelling vaginal discharge. Again, if the smell or color is tolerable and changes from time to time, a fishy vaginal discharge is nothing but normal occurrence.
Myth: Any vaginal discharge that deviates from the typical clear color means that a woman is suffering from infection or sexually transmitted disease.
Truth: Vaginal discharge can take on several colors throughout a woman’s cycle. In addition, hormones, the reproductive cycle, diet, and medication play crucial roles in the color, smell, volume, and consistency of a woman’s vaginal discharge.
- Yellow vaginal discharge- a yellowish tinge accompanied by several other symptoms such as intense itching may signal serious bacterial infection that is sexually transmitted in nature. When left ignored, the yellowish color tends to become darker and feature an unwanted fishy or rotten smell too.
- Green vaginal discharge- green vaginal discharge signals more severe bacterial strain or infection.
There are different care and treatment strategies that women can follow to ensure optimum vaginal health and wellness. Instead of self medicating and trying out various over-the-counter products it is always best to seek the consult of a gynecologist to ensure your health, safety, and potency of the treatment as well!