When girls reach puberty, vaginal discharge appears for the first time. From this point on, discharge is part of everyday life until the menopause is reached.
Similar to the amount and colour of menstrual blood, vaginal discharge can also change again and again. We'll explain below what is normal and when vaginal discharge might be a sign of a health problem.
The most important facts about vaginal discharge at a glance
- Among other things, vaginal discharge is a way for women to get rid of dead cells from their bodies.
- It is normal for vaginal discharge to change during the menstrual cycle.
- Unusual changes in odour, colour and consistency may indicate health problems.
- If there are unusual changes in vaginal discharge, women should contact their gynaecologist.
- Proper intimate hygiene plays an important role in preventing intimate infections.
- Breathable period underwear is also a practical way to protect against increased vaginal discharge.
What is white discharge?
White discharge is a white, odourless secretion that comes out of the vagina every day. White discharge starts before puberty and does not disappear until the menopause.
Its quantity and consistency change in the course of the menstrual cycle. During ovulation, it is comparatively thin and its quantity increases noticeably. This is due to the fluctuations in oestrogen levels. Immediately before and after your period, on the other hand, the white discharge is rather viscous.
What is the function of vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge has an important function. Its function is to remove excess mucus and dead cells from the vagina and uterus. It also helps to maintain the acidic environment in the vagina, for example. This is important to counteract the invasion of bacteria and other pathogens.
How do you recognise normal discharge?
Normal vaginal discharge has a thin to viscous consistency. The consistency can vary depending on the time of the cycle. It is either completely odourless or has a slight odour, which should not be unpleasant for healthy women.
Like the consistency, the amount of vaginal discharge can change depending on the phase of your menstrual cycle. The vagina is also known to produce more fluid during sexual arousal.
Vaginal discharge as a symptom of disease
If women notice unusual changes in the smell, colour or consistency of their vaginal discharge, this can indicate a variety of health problems.
This is true, for example, if the discharge is suddenly yellow, green or grey in colour. A fishy smell or a lumpy consistency can also indicate that something is wrong with the vaginal discharge.
If vaginal discharge does not appear normal, it can be due to many different reasons. Possible causes range from intimate hygiene mistakes to hormonal contraceptive methods to illness.
Common reasons for unusual changes in vaginal discharge include:
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Infections with vaginal fungus
- Venereal diseases like gonorrhoea or chlamydia
- Infections with HPV or herpes simplex
- Taking birth control pills
- Antibiotic treatment
- Onset of menopause
In addition, diet also seems to have an influence on the nature of vaginal discharge that should not be underestimated. However, much is still unclear in this regard. The scientific community still has some work to do to gain a better understanding of the role of diet in vaginal discharge in women.
When is vaginal discharge a case for the doctor?
Because changes in vaginal discharge can be a symptom of a disease, it is important for women to know what their discharge normally looks like. This way, they can notice any unusual changes promptly and see their gynaecologist if necessary.
An appointment with the gynaecologist is highly recommended, especially in the following situations:
- Fishy smell or other abnormalities in odour.
- Unusual changes in colour
- Pus in the discharge
- A lumpy or crumbly consistency of the discharge
- Changes in the amount of discharge
- Itching and burning in the genital area
- Pain during sex
- Pain when urinating
- Occurrence of other symptoms such as fever.
In addition, post-menopausal women should always consult their gynaecologist if they suddenly experience vaginal discharge.
Diagnosing the cause of the changes
In order to be able to take the right treatment measures, the gynaecologist must first determine the cause of the changes in vaginal discharge.
In addition to an anamnesis interview and general gynaecological examinations, a smear test from the vagina may also be necessary for this purpose.
How is unusual vaginal discharge treated?
What treatment measures are necessary due to the changes in vaginal discharge depends, of course, on the exact trigger. For example, bacterial vaginosis is treated with antibiotics.
A vaginal fungal infection, on the other hand, requires treatment with antimycotics. If you have diabetes, you may need to take insulin.
There are a number of home remedies that are supposed to help with intimate infections like bacterial vaginosis. However, the effectiveness of such alternatives is usually questionable and has not yet been scientifically proven.
If you experience vaginal discharge changes due to an illness, you should always follow the recommendations of your gynaecologist instead of experimenting with supposedly useful home remedies. In the worst case, you could even make the symptoms worse.
How can changes in vaginal discharge be prevented?
Considering the many possible causes, it should go without saying that diseases and associated changes in vaginal discharge cannot be completely prevented.
However, there are some things women can do to support the health of their intimate area and prevent potential problems such as infections.
Some of the important things to do are:
- When it comes to intimate hygiene, women should avoid unsuitable care products and vaginal rinses. Clear water or a pH-neutral shower gel is sufficient for cleaning the intimate area.
- To prevent infection with sexually transmitted diseases, condoms are the method of choice. Their use can also reduce the risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis.
- When wiping, it is very important that women make sure to always wipe from front to back. Otherwise, there is a risk that bacteria from the intestines can get into the vagina and cause infections.
- Underwear made of cotton is breathable. This not only makes them more comfortable to wear than panties made of synthetic fabrics. It also makes it more difficult for germs to multiply in the genital area.
Period underwear instead of tampons
Many women still use tampons during their period. However, especially if vaginal discharge is more frequent, it can be worthwhile to use menstrual underwear instead.
The practical briefs work in a similar way to a sanitary pad. They are equipped with an absorbent membrane system made of several layers of fabric. This reliably absorbs the menstrual blood. Once the period pants have reached their maximum absorbency, they can be easily replaced with a fresh pair of panties and washed in the washing machine.
Do you already know Weekiss?
If you want to convince yourself of the advantages of period underwear, you've come to the right place. In our shop you will find a selection of high-quality period underwear made from certified organic cotton.
Weekiss menstrual underwear is comfortable, breathable and sustainable. Of course, our period panties are not only suitable for reliable protection during menstruation, but also for providing a pleasantly dry feeling in everyday life when vaginal discharge increases.