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6th March 2019

What is ‘Normal’ Vaginal Discharge?

Consultant Gynaecologist Narendra Pisal explains what’s normal and what isn’t when it comes to vaginal discharge.

It is normal to get creamy whitish discharge, which can increase at certain times during the menstrual cycle. However, ‘normal’ can mean different things to different women and if your discharge has changed, you should see your GP. Excessive amount of discharge can be caused by some common and benign conditions such as cervical polyp and cervical ectropion.

Watery discharge may indicate leakage of urine or (in pregnancy) amniotic fluid.

Green discharge is often a sign of infection such as candida or bacterial vaginosis. It can also be present in presence of retained foreign body such a tampon. It is advisable to see your GP or gynaecologist promptly.

Smelly discharge can also be because of bacterial vaginosis or candida infection. The best way to get rid of the smell is to start appropriate treatment after seeing a doctor.

A sudden increase in discharge, which continues for weeks on end, means that you seek medical attention promptly. It could again be due to infections or retained tampon.

Swollen vaginal lips (labia) are often caused by severe thrush (candida / yeast) infection, or sometimes allergic reaction to sanitary products or even fabric softener. What other symptoms do you have? If there is itching and discharge, it is more likely to be thrush. If there is more redness, it may be allergic reaction. Again, it is best to see your doctor for an assessment and advice.

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