What Causes White Vaginal Discharge?
It is very common for a woman to get white vaginal discharge during her reproductive years.
Such a discharge is not always pathological. It is, therefore, very important to know the various causes of getting a white discharge.
The causes include infections, medical conditions and normal variations.
Let us first begin with the description of a normal vaginal discharge.
Normal Vaginal Discharge
A healthy vagina secretes some secretions to keep itself moist, well lubricated and free from infections. This is basically mucus for the region. The normal vaginal pH is slightly acidic, around 4.5. It prevents the growth of unwanted pathogens in the area and keeps the vaginal canal free from infections.
Characteristics of a Normal Vaginal Discharge
Normal secretions of this area are clear and thin in consistency. However, they may be slightly white. On drying up on a cloth, it may appear yellowish in color.
The appearance of this discharge may change in different phases of menstrual cycle, sexual arousal, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies and by influence of hormonal pills. Excessive vaginal discharge is medically called leukorrhea.
Vaginal Discharge During Different Phases of Menstrual Cycle
The vaginal discharge becomes white and a bit thick, both during the beginning and end of the cycle. This is normal. During ovulation, women observe that the discharge is somewhat stretchy.
After any strenuous work, like prolonged standing, you may note more wetness down there. This is because the secretions are excessive, thin and watery in consistency.
Normal secretions are not itchy or painful in any way. They are not foul smelling, though your secretions may have some smell specific to you.
A normal variation in vaginal discharge occurs during pregnancy. The discharge becomes thick and milky (egg white).
As you approach labor, the discharge may become more in quantity.
In pregnancy, a protective mucous plug is formed outside the cervical opening. This plug closes the opening and doesn’t allow any pathogen to enter inside. Hence, it has a protective role.
This excessive white discharge is due to the constant renewal of this plug, as it flows from cervix, through the vaginal canal, carrying with it shed cells and other secretions.
Normal discharge is not itchy. If you notice any itch, pain, burning or change in color of the discharge, report to your doctor immediately.
During or After Sex
Secretions are increased due to sexual arousal. They aid in the act that follow. Such secretions are clear and slippery. They are excessive, enough to wet you, but absolutely not itchy and odorless.
Some females may have a female ejaculate after sex. This is watery, just like urine.
If the act is traumatic, you may have some reddish discharge due to blood. However, if you note any abnormal discharge, which is foul smelling, itchy or of any other color (brown, yellow or green), see your doctor to rule out infections.
Most of the infective conditions will have associated symptoms with it. You may have itch, burning, pain, redness or swollen vulva or foul smelling abnormal discharge.
The commonest vaginal infection, caused by a fungus (yeast).
There is white vaginal discharge which is thick, may be curdy or even chunky, resembling cottage cheese. Discharge increases if the infection is left unattended.
There is a lot of itch. The vulvar region may be swollen and red in appearance. Clumpy discharge may be present there. Read more on candidiasis of genital area.
Pasty and Cloudy White Vaginal Discharge
Some women complain of having such a discharge around ovulation.
All you have to see is that whether the discharge is associated with other symptoms like itching, burning, redness, foul smell or not.
If not, it may be a normal variation.