Vaginal discharge is a normal body process that helps to rid the body of dead cells and bacteria and keeps the female reproductive system clean and disease-free.
Most women will have vaginal discharge throughout their lives, from puberty to menopause.
Sometimes a change in the color or consistency may cause one to wonder – Is it normal to have white discharge? While usually not a cause for concern, white vaginal discharge may at times be an indicator of a problem.
Let us look at some of the causes of white vaginal discharge.
Normal Causes for Discharge
When the body is ovulating, there is a heightened level of hormones in the body.
This leads to an increase in the amounts of discharge and is nothing to worry about as it means that the reproductive system is working just fine.
2. Sexual Activity
When a woman is sexually aroused, the body releases natural lubricant to ease sexual intercourse.
The very hormones that cause sexual arousal also cause the release of discharge.
During pregnancy, the hormone levels of the body fluctuate, leading to increased levels of milky white vaginal discharge.
It is just the body cleaning up by ridding the vaginal canal of bacteria and trying to protect the vagina from infections.
These secretions also increase around the time of labor to lubricate the canal for the process of birth.
Sometimes, excessive stress causes an imbalance of hormones in the body.
This hormonal imbalance may lead to excessive white discharge from the vagina.
While the discharge is not a cause for worry by itself, high stress levels are not good for overallhealth and care must be taken to minimize stress levels.
Discharge causes you should worry about
1. Fungal Infection
A discharge that smells like yeast and is accompanied by itchiness or soreness is often indicative of a fungal infection caused by poor vaginal hygiene or the use of antibiotics.
Antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in the vagina, thus causing fungus to grow.
Fungal infections can be cured by taking antifungal medication and keeping the vaginal area clean and free of moisture.
2. Bacterial Infections
White discharge accompanied by abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain in the abdominal or pelvic area, foul smells and sudden changes in the consistency or color of the discharge are sometimes caused by bacterial infections.
A fish-smelling discharge with no itchiness or irritation may be a bacterial infection and can be cured by simple antibiotics.
Abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied by pain during urination, pain in the pelvic area or bleeding may be due to STDs like gonorrhea or chlamydia, both of which are treated with antibiotics.