What Causes White Chunky Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is normal, though it varies in quantity and quality over the course of the menstrual cycle. For instance, a lot of mucus gets produced by the body just before ovulation. However, white chunky discharge that sometimes resembles cottage cheese could be a cause for concern, since it could indicate an infection – especially if there has been a significant change in its texture. This abnormal discharge could be odorless or accompanied by an odor. It could also be accompanied by itching around the vaginal opening.
One frequent cause of white chunky discharge is a yeast infection, which most women will experience at some point in their lives. However, if you are sexually active and have recently been with a new partner, you might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease leading to the abnormal discharge. However, yeast infections and STDs are not the only possible culprits.
Prolonged use of antibiotics could increase the likelihood of a yeast infection accompanied by white chunky discharge. In addition, certain medical conditions like obesity and diabetes also increase a woman’s risk of developing a yeast infection. Pregnant women often experience abnormal vaginal discharge and are especially susceptible to yeast infections. Sexually active women, especially those with multiple sexual partners, are at greater risk of abnormal discharge stemming from sexually transmitted infections acquired from their partners.
White chunky discharge might be accompanied by an abnormal odor, pain or itching in the vaginal area. These symptoms tend to indicate infection. Sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic infections and yeast infections can all cause malodorous white chunky discharge. Pain during intercourse or urination is also an indicator of an infection.
If you are experiencing white chunky vaginal discharge, a medical examination might be necessary to determine its precise cause. A pelvic exam and vaginal swab by your doctor or qualified medical professional can help diagnose the problem accurately. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor might examine a small amount of your vaginal discharge under a microscope or run some other laboratory tests.
Vaginal yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal creams, pills or suppositories. While such medication is often available without a prescription, it is important to know for sure if yeast infection is in fact what you have before you hit the pharmacy, especially if you have never had white chunky discharge before. Taking the wrong medication could worsen your symptoms and potentially lead to complications. Pregnant women especially should avoid self-medicating.
Keeping your genital area clean and dry goes a long way to prevent vaginal infections; however, it is important to avoid soap and rinse only with water. In addition, using a douche after menstruation or intercourse can actually worsen subsequent vaginal discharge, because douching removes the healthy bacteria that line the walls of the vagina and inhibit excessive yeast production. Wearing absorbent cotton underwear that allows for air flow is also recommended to help avoid vaginal irritation. If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels in check is also necessary.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
When white chunky discharge is accompanied by pain, itching or burning, rashes, open sores, or any other form of discomfort, it is advisable to seek out your health care provider as soon as possible for a clear diagnosis and course of treatment.