Information on Vaginal Discharge
Author: Corwin Brown
The basic function of you vagina is to provide a route from the outside of your vagina to your uterus and the rest of your internal reproductive system. The natural, acidic, pH of your vagina acts to prevent infections. The acidic nature of your vagina is caused by natural, good, bacteria produced by your body. When your vagina is healthy, the vagina keeps itself clean and in a healthy state by producing secretions of normal vaginal discharge. The natural balance of the vagina can be disrupted by anything that interferes with its' normal environment.
Vaginal discharge is the result of secretions produced from small glands in the lining of the vagina and the cervix. All women have a little discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after the menopause. How much discharge a woman notices changes from time to time and it will change quite a lot between periods.
Glands inside your vagina and cervix make small amounts of fluid. This fluid flows out of the vagina each day, carrying out old cells that have lined the vagina. This is your body's way of keeping your vagina healthy and clean. The discharge is usually clear or milky and doesn't smell bad. The color and thickness of the discharge change with your monthly cycle. The discharge is thicker when you ovulate (when one of your ovaries releases an egg), when you breastfeed or when you're sexually excited.
Vaginal discharge is normal, especially if you are of childbearing age. Glands in the cervix produce a clear mucus. These secretions may turn white or yellow when exposed to the air. These are normal variations.The amount of mucus produced by the cervical glands varies throughout the menstrual cycle. This is normal and depends on the amount of estrogen circulating in your body.
A normal vaginal discharge consists of about a teaspoon (4 ML) a day that is white or transparent, thick to thin, and odorless. This is formed by the normal bacteria and fluids the vaginal cells put off. The discharge can be more noticeable at different times of the month depending on ovulation, menstrual flow, sexual activity and birth control.
Sometimes mild urinary symptoms, such as painful urination (dysuria), can be a symptom of an infection that is not related to the bladder or kidneys. When mild urinary symptoms are present along with discharge from the vagina or penis, a vaginal or penile infection may be the cause.
Spotting Blood/Brown Discharge: This may occur when you are ovulating/mid-cycle. Sometimes early in pregnancy you may have spotting or a brownish discharge at the time your period would normally come. If you have spotting at the time of your normal period rather than your usual amount of flow, and you have had sex without using birth control, you should check a pregnancy test.
Vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis (yeast infection), and trichomoniasis are common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. Some infections are transmitted by having sex, such as gonorrhea. Other infections can occur with or without having sex, such as bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
For normal discharge, a girl can wear a pantiliner if that makes her more comfortable. Sometimes the moisture from normal vaginal discharge can irritate the skin. You can prevent skin irritation in the vaginal area, especially when it's hot and humid outside, by wearing cotton underwear and avoiding clothes like tight jeans and pantyhose that don't let your skin breathe.