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White discharge in women: what does it mean?

What does white discharge mean?

White discharge (leukorrhea also spelled leucorrhoea) is an excessive discharge in women that causes itching or burning. Leucorrhea in women can be of two types: physiologic or pathological.

Varieties of white discharge in women

Physiologic leukorrhea is the so-called “normal” discharge. It is usually not profuse and quite bright, and has no smell. White physiological discharge in women should not cause irritation to the skin or mucosa. The profuseness of physiological leucorrhoea in women increases slightly before menstruation.

In pregnant women, the amount of physiological vaginal discharge also increases during sexual intercourse, and during the period after delivery. White discharge may also occur in girls at puberty.

Pathological leukorrhea is very profuse. It can be watery, greenish, and have an unpleasant odor. White pathological discharge is a symptom of infectious diseases, and causes itching, burning, and increased moisture in the genitals.

Most often, pathological leucorrhea in women are caused by inflammation of the vaginal mucosa. These infections are called vaginitis or colpitis. The main threat is that these diseases can combine with cervicitis (inflammation of the uterine cervix).

Places where leucorrhoea originates

Leukorrhea from the fallopian tubes – a symptom of inflammation of the fallopian tubes. Occurs when a purulent matter accumulates in the fallopian tube. This leads to contagious infection and inflammation. Then the matter enters the uterus and vagina. White discharge from the fallopian tube can also be a symptom of fallopian tube cancer. Watery leucorrhea originating from the fallopian tubes has a light yellow color with an admixture of blood.

Uterine leucorrhea occurs in women with pathologies of the uterus. It is also caused by the appearance of tumors: polyps, fibroids, cancer. Endometritis causes white discharge from the uterus in women. Such discharge is purulent or watery.

Cervical leucorrhea is caused by disorders in the secretion of cervical glands. An increase in the secretion of mucus occurs. This white discharge in women can appear both under common diseases (tuberculosis and endocrine system disorders) and under gynecological diseases (cervicitis, polyps, cicatricial changes occurring after rupture of the uterus). Cervical leukorrhea is mucous in nature. In women suffering from cervicitis, this discharge may contain admixture of pus, and in women with polyps, it may contain blood.

Vaginal leukorrhea is caused when the liquid part of blood comes out from the capillaries. This white discharge in women can occur when there is a mechanical impact on the mucous membrane (masturbation) or a thermal/chemical impact (syringing with hot liquids). White discharge from the vagina can also be caused by inflammation of the mucous membrane of the vagina caused by pathogenic microorganisms.

Vestibular white discharge in women is caused by increased secretion of glands of the vulva.

Causes of white discharge

Leucorrhea in women is a symptom of gynecological diseases. The frequent causes of leucorrhoea in women are inflammation caused by infection, trauma, and tumors. By the nature of leucorrhoea, the place of origin (fallopian tube, uterine, cervical, vaginal, vestibular) can be established. If the white discharge in women has admixture of pus, then it is most likely that inflammation is the cause. If there is an admixture of blood, then there may be tumor.

Which gynecological diseases can cause white discharge in women?

  • adnexitis;
  • vaginitis;
  • colpitis;
  • colpoptosis.

Can also be caused by:

  • syringing;
  • regular use of chemical contraceptives;
  • stagnation in the pelvic region;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • not observing the rules of intimate hygiene.

Treatment of white discharge in women

You should immediately see a gynecologist once a white discharge occurs. The doctor will do laboratory diagnosis and prescribe a treatment regimen. Do not forget that gynecology involves an individual approach. Therefore, only a gynecologist can prescribe the right treatment that can help you.

Depending on the causes of white discharge in women, the doctor may prescribe:

  • antibiotics;
  • trays;
  • vaginal candles;
  • physiotherapy.

Prevention of white discharge

To prevent leucorrhea, one should regularly see a gynecologist, observe the rules of personal hygiene, and especially intimate hygiene, see the doctor in time if you have any suspicion or doubt in the function of your sexual organs and the entire reproductive system.

This means that if you observe unusual color, odor or consistency of vaginal discharge, immediately see a gynecologist. It is strictly forbidden to self-medicate, or even more so, to believe that the problem will go away on its own.