Student Village Academy Forums HEALTH AND RELATIONSHIPS What the color, texture, and smell of vaginal discharge can tell you

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      Vaginal discharge: what its colour, texture and smell can tell you

      Depending on what is happening with your body, discharge can have a variety of textures, odors, and colors.

      Wanting to learn more about vaginal discharge is not suspicious. It might even save your life.

      Women and those with vaginal protrusions frequently face obstacles from a society that undermine our self-confidence. But when it comes to our sex organs, we’re frequently at the mercy of stigmatizing STIs and offensive cleaning stereotypes.

      It can be challenging to get over body myths as a young adult (or as an adult who has reached adulthood, for that matter). That’s because the vagina and vulva receive a lot of attention and guilt, especially when it comes to how they smell.

      If it smells like chicken, get licking; if it smells like trout, get the fuck out, is a very ominous rhyme that you may have heard. And I’m sorry I brought it into your life if you haven’t. But playground language like this, which occasionally makes its way into discussions about lad culture, can make having a vagina and vulva feel embarrassing. So much so that over two-thirds of women, according to a 2019 Vagisil research, are self-conscious about their odor. Over 50% of women avoid oral sex, and a startling 58% of women avoid intimacy altogether, which has an impact on things like enjoyment.

      Discharge is a natural aspect of the vagina’s self-cleansing process, and I cannot emphasize this enough. Occasionally slimy, occasionally a little odorous, completely normal. Discharge can come in a variety of textures, odors, and colors depending on what’s going on with your body, your diet, and your menstrual cycle. It is frequently seen in underwear or in the folds of the inner and outer labia. In addition, it might reveal a lot about your fertility and general health.

      Having some discharge, according to Dr. Deborah Lee of Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy, is totally normal (told you). The female vaginal tract normally produces secretions during the reproductive years to lubricate and clean the genital area, according to her.

      Discharge is a natural aspect of the vagina’s self-cleansing process, and I cannot emphasize this enough.

      Young women begin to detect their vaginal fluids when ovulation starts, the author continues. The ovary generates estrogen during the menstrual period, which naturally increases vaginal discharge. She explains to Mashable that the fluid is a transudate, a tissue fluid that naturally exists throughout the body, and that it exudes from the mucous membranes in the pelvic floor and vaginal area.

      Desquamated (read: scaly) epithelial cells from the endometrium (womb lining), the cervix, and the vagina, as well as white blood cells and a variety of germs, are picked up by the fluid as it seeps lower. She informs me, “Especially lactobacilli.” “Since lactic acid is produced by lactobacilli, the pH of the vagina is already acidic. Its acidity renders the environment hostile and prevents the growth of other microorganisms.”

      What is a typical discharge volume?

      The fact that a typical amount varies from person to person and that pregnancy and other factors, such as the progesterone-only tablet, might influence how much your body secretes may not come as a surprise to you.

      According to Lee, oestrogen levels peak around day 14 of the monthly cycle and subsequently drop if no pregnancy develops. As a result, vaginal discharge frequently increases in volume in the second week of the cycle, just before ovulation, as a result. To aid in the movement of sperm toward the egg, the cervix also creates mucus that thins down and stretches out halfway during the menstrual cycle, similar to raw egg white. This mucus thickens in the second half of the cycle following ovulation.

      How to determine if your discharge has changed for the worst

      Our discharge may occasionally alter. When this occurs, it may be a sign of a bodily imbalance, a STI, or a bacterial infection—neither of which should be ashamed of.

      Even though we shouldn’t feel ashamed if we have a STI or bacterial illness, we should go get help. Discharge might be deemed abnormal if it is more frequent than usual, has changed in color and consistency, smells strange—possibly like rotten fish—has accompanying symptoms like itchiness, irritation, or discomfort, or is stained with blood.

      What distinguishes anomalies associated with STIs from those that are not?

      According to Lee, candidiasis (thrush or a yeast infection) or bacterial vaginosis may be to blame for non-STI abnormalities (BV). Furthermore, even though many people could quickly diagnose any issue with their genitalia as thrush, BV is more likely to be the cause.

      This is a result of the vagina’s acidic environment. It is ideally balanced to prevent other bacteria from colonizing the microbiome. The natural protection from the lactobacilli diminishes when you frequently wash and use hygiene products, which raises the pH of the vagina and makes it more alkaline. As a result, other bacteria can now flourish. “You can see that by repeatedly cleaning with the improper products, you are just making the beneficial lactobacilli disappear by washing them away.”

      The only method to cure BV, according to Lee, is with a course of antibiotics, but you’ll also need to modify your hygiene routines to prevent recurrent BV. “No soapy products should be used inside or close to the vulva or vagina. You can merely shower the vulva’s exterior while ignoring its interior.”

      A foreign body in the vagina, such as a forgotten tampon or sex toy, a gynecological disease, or abnormal discharge can all be signs of other health issues. These include allergic vulvovaginitis, which is a sensitivity to hygiene products like soap, douches, vaginal deodorants, shampoo, bubble baths, and shower gels. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that ovarian, endometrial, and cervical malignancies can all result in an abnormal discharge, even though the latter is uncommon in young women of reproductive age.

      Discharge from STIs is a little different because it can be brought on by trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, herpes, or chlamydia. Although having sex with several partners, engaging in unsafe sex, or failing to utilize barrier defenses like condoms and dental dams make it simpler to contract a STI Regular gynecology health checks are crucial, especially if you’ve had a new sexual partner because anyone might contract a STI.

      What else could you possibly do?

      It’s recommended to visit your doctor if you have any questions. Lee advises switching to a less oestrogenic tablet, like a 20 mcg pill, or a progesterone-only method of contraception if you’re concerned about having an excessive amount of discharge and are using hormonal contraception because these often thicken the discharges.

      She also emphasizes how crucial it is to stay away from soaps and washes that change your body’s natural PH balance. Avoid purchasing feminine hygiene products to protect your vagina and save a lot of money, she advises.

      It’s expected that vaginas and vulvas smell like those things. Not sugar and spice.

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