Discharge from the vagina in the norm does not cause any inconvenience to the woman. However, many seek to get rid of any vaginal discharge completely, considering them to be a sign of illness or impurity, not realizing that the secretion of mucus from the vagina is just as normal as the secretion of saliva in the mouth.
Allocations are a kind of signal for a woman. If they drastically change their color and smell, this is a sign of a possible disease.
Vaginal discharge: description, meaning and characteristic
Vaginal discharge is a peculiar and special indicator of women's gynecological health.
Vaginal discharge is absolutely normal and does not indicate any pathology or illness. The vagina and cervix itself is lined from the inside with a mucous membrane with many glands that secrete mucus. If you know what kind of discharge is considered normal, you can time to suspect inflammatory process in yourself and consult a doctor.
Like the intestines, the vagina has its own microflora. It is inhabited by various bacteria, fungi that maintain the condition of the mucous membrane, protect the walls of the vagina and uterus from the penetration of pathogenic microorganisms. Trying to get rid of secretions completely is not only meaningless, but also dangerous. The absence of any mucus suggests that the mucosa does not have a protective layer, and therefore the path to infection is open.
Discharge is the process of cleansing and protecting the female genitals.
Normally, a woman, starting from the moment of the arrival of the first menstruation, regularly secretes mucus from the vagina, supporting the microflora of the genital organs. The amount of mucus can increase during ovulation or before menstruation. Before the beginning of the monthly discharge from the vagina should not be. Regular secretion of mucus before puberty speaks of pathological processes in the body, inflammation, etc.
The composition of vaginal discharge is determined by cells and various microorganisms. Normally, they may contain coccus bacteria, viruses, and fungi, but with active reproduction they will cause an inflammatory process.
- Mucus from the cervical canal. In the area of the cervix are glands that secrete mucus that protects the uterus from infection.
- Epithelial cells from the uterus. The epithelium cells are constantly updated, and the old cells descend into the cavity of the vagina and go outside.
- Various microorganisms. The vaginal flora is represented by various lactic acid bacteria, cocci bacteria, Dederlein sticks, as well as mycoplasma and ureaplasma in small quantities. Conditionally pathogenic bacteria can also be contained in the secretions, but at the beginning of the inflammatory process, their number increases, which leads to various complications.
Color: norm and possible diseases
Changes in the color of vaginal discharge in women may indicate an inflammatory process or disease.
Gynecologists claim that normal discharge from a healthy woman is scanty, transparent and odorless. However, taking into account the physiological characteristics of the organism, the color of secretions can vary to yellow.
As soon as the inflammatory process begins in the vaginal cavity, the color of the discharge changes. This is a signal to consult a doctor and undergo an examination. It is not recommended to make a diagnosis yourself on the basis of only the color of the vaginal discharge. The same symptom may be a manifestation of various diseases.
What color says:
- Yellow. Yellow vaginal discharge does not always speak of pathology. If they are light, not abundant, then this is the norm. Even brighter yellow discharge is considered normal if they appear a day or two before menstruation. In this case, there is no cause for concern. Vaginal discharge of a pronounced yellow color is a sign of an inflammatory process, if they have a sharp unpleasant smell, increase sharply in quantity, which was not previously observed, and are also accompanied by irritation and redness of the genital organs.
- Green. The green color of the discharge does not apply to the norm anyway. Even if other signs of inflammation have not yet appeared, this is already a signal that should not be ignored. As a rule, green discharge indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the vagina. The secretions become green when their leukocyte count increases. Green secretions sometimes appear with vaginitis, inflammation of the ovaries, cirvicitis (inflammation of the cervical canal).
- White. White or milky secretions are considered normal if they appear in small quantities, do not have a pronounced odor and are not accompanied by pain, cutting, itching. Thick and heavy white discharge may contain pus. As a rule, they are accompanied by an unpleasant smell.
- Red. Red discharge contains blood. They are perfectly normal during menstruation and the day before it (scant bleeding). Breakthrough bleeding and hemorrhage between periods may be a symptom of endometriosis, cervical cancer, miscarriage in early pregnancy, etc.
Smell and consistency: types, norms and pathology
If you change the smell of discharge, it is urgent to contact a gynecologist for examination
In the absence of disease, vaginal discharge has no odor. They are watery, not abundant, without inclusions and seals, clots. The consistency of secretions may depend on the characteristics of the organism. Even if the discharge has become somewhat thicker, this cannot be considered a pathology in the absence of other signs of inflammation.
Changes in consistency are more likely to occur when other symptoms appear, for example, when color changes, odor, blood, etc. The appearance of bloody, dense discharge with obvious clots and pain requires medical assistance and consultation of the gynecologist.
In the case of odors, any unpleasant odor that was not present is taken into account. It is advisable to visit the gynecologist if any odor appears, however, sometimes the reason for this condition is the lack of personal hygiene.
It is necessary to take into account the smell that appears under the condition that a woman is daily washed, changes linen and towels:
- Sour smell. Most often the sour smell of discharge occurs with the active reproduction of fungi (with candidiasis). In the people, this disease is called thrush. Yeast fungi begin to actively proliferate with a decrease in immunity, causing an unpleasant sourish smell, frothy or thick cheesy discharge, itching and irritation of the genital organs. This disease occurs in many women and is not completely cured. If there are provocative factors, thrush can appear again.
- The smell of fish. The strong smell of fish in the discharge indicates more often vaginosis. The balance of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in the vagina is broken, there are gray or greenish discharge with a strong unpleasant smell of stale fish.
- Metallic smell. Metallic odor (the smell of iron, blood) occurs when bleeding. If they appear in the middle of the cycle, accompanied by severe pain, it can be a sign of an inflammatory disease or cervical cancer.
- Putrid odor. The smell of rot and abundant yellow discharge can also be signs of cancer.
What if the discharge is bad
Vaginal flora swab - effective diagnosis of gynecological diseases
The first thing that needs to be done when a suspicious discharge occurs is to see a doctor and be examined. The gynecologist will hear complaints, conduct an examination and take a smear. A smear test will help identify the infection and clarify the pathogen.
It is not recommended to make a diagnosis yourself and start treatment, writing off any discharge to thrush. Acceptance of various antifungal drugs in the absence of candidiasis can only aggravate the situation.
If you go to a doctor at the moment there is no possibility, you can use universal anti-inflammatory local remedies that will help alleviate the symptoms before going to the doctor. These drugs include Lactagel. This is a single tube vaginal gel for single use. The drug helps to restore the normal microflora of the vagina, enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria. However, this measure cannot be considered universal in any disease.
To cure the cause of unpleasant discharge, it is necessary to make a diagnosis and undergo a comprehensive comprehensive treatment.
After the diagnosis, it is necessary to strictly follow the recommendations of the gynecologist. Many diseases can be recurrent, so it is not recommended to interrupt treatment at the first signs of improvement.
No inflammatory and infectious diseases of the genital area should be treated at home with folk remedies. Only complete treatment and regular observation will help to avoid such serious complications as infertility, cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases, endometriosis, etc.
More information about vaginal discharge can be found in the video:
Most often, the treatment of such conditions begins with drug therapy. The doctor prescribes antibacterial or antifungal preparations for oral use, as well as local suppositories, ointments, gels, douching to eliminate the infection. Often for a full recovery it is important to treat with a partner.
In some cases, physiotherapy, diagnostic and therapeutic curettage, as well as therapy to restore the normal microflora of the vagina are prescribed.
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy
Any vaginal discharge during pregnancy causes concern to the woman because of fear of harming the baby and causing infection. Most often frightening are bloody discharge during pregnancy.
They may not be abundant or sufficiently abundant. In any case, bleeding during pregnancy is a bad sign. It is necessary to immediately consult a doctor. Sometimes spotting does not bring serious complications, but it is better to err. In addition to bleeding from a pregnant woman, there may be a discharge with an unpleasant odor and a changed color, which indicates an inflammatory process and also requires immediate treatment.
- White. During pregnancy hormonal changes occur, which leads to an increase in the amount of secretions. This is perfectly normal if the discharge is clear, odorless and does not cause irritation, burning and redness. It is worth paying attention to the so-called mucous plug. It is a clot of mucus with streaks of blood. It forms in the area of the cervical canal and protects the uterus and the baby from infection. Cork should go before childbirth. If she came out earlier, it speaks of premature birth, the woman should be hospitalized.
- Yellow discharge. If the discharge is yellowish, this is not a pathology. Dark or saturated yellow discharge with an unpleasant odor is a sign of an inflammatory process.
- Brown. Brown discharge suggests coagulated blood in the discharge. Like scarlet blood, such secretions cannot be normal during pregnancy. They can indicate both an ectopic pregnancy and a possible threat of miscarriage. This may cause pain in the lower abdomen. If the gestation period is large enough, such discharge refers to the beginning of the birth process. They can appear simultaneously with contractions.
Any questions about the discharge during pregnancy should be dealt with by a doctor. The presence of an inflammatory process in the vagina is dangerous for the fetus.
The importance of the secret and its composition
Vaginal secretions are the norm. Its production occurs in all women / girls of reproductive age, starting from the beginning of puberty. Therefore, vaginal discharge from virgins is a physiological state that is not related in any way to the onset of sexual activity.
Normal discharge in its composition include:
- a small number of uterine mucous cells, as well as excess plasma and lymph,
- mucus produced by cervical canal cells
- vaginal microflora, including opportunistic pathogens,
- the minimum number of leukocytes - exceeding the permissible 10 units indicates the development of the inflammatory process.
Female whites perform many functions. The main ones are:
- vaginal debridement,
- maintaining the required level of microflora,
- moisturizing the walls of the vagina during sexual contact,
It is the change in the appearance of the vaginal secretion that indicates the development of vaginal infections or other pathological changes in the work of the reproductive organs.
Symptoms of pathological secretions
Vaginal discharge in the event of any problems change not only the color, but also the consistency. The cause in most cases are various infections caused by the active reproduction of representatives of conditionally pathogenic microflora or pathogens that have penetrated from the outside.
The provoking factors are:
- failure to comply with the rules of the organization of intimate hygiene,
- antimicrobial treatment
- disruptions at the hormonal level.
Focusing on the types of changes, we can assume that was their cause. But for accurate diagnosis requires laboratory tests.
The following signs indicate pathological discharge:
- the appearance of unpleasant sensations in the groin area, itching and / or burning sensations,
- female whites change shade - they get yellow, green and milky white color, sometimes contain foam,
- as part of the secret there are cheesy inclusions of white or orange tint, which cause irritation of the external genital organs,
- an increase in vaginal secretions and the appearance of a specific herring odor,
- the appearance of abundant whiter yellow in combination with pain when urinating,
- a thick vaginal secretion containing impurities of pus / blood, with an unpleasant smell
Pathology is also recognized bleeding from the cervical canal in the intervals between menstruations. The appearance of an unpleasant amber and a change in the color of the vaginal secretion may be a sign of the development of candidiasis, trichomoniasis, gardnerelleza.
Characteristic changes whiter depending on the pathogen:
- Chlamydia is a foaming transparent secret.
- Bacterial vaginosis (Gardnerellosis) - gray color in combination with a strong fishy smell.
- Thrush (vaginal candidiasis) - thick mucus, resembling cottage cheese, causes swelling and itching of the vulva.
- Trichomoniasis - sticky yellow discharge, accompanied by itching, hyperemia and swelling of the mucous genital organs.
- Vaginitis, cervicitis, inflammation of the ovaries - whiter green.
Breakthrough bleeding may indicate the presence of endometriosis, cancer pathology, spontaneous miscarriage, and other pathologies.
What secretions are considered normal in women
Vaginal discharge is present in every representativeness of the female reproductive age. They are the physiological norm.
Normal discharge from a healthy woman is completely transparent - there are no extraneous inclusions in them - and practically no odor. Signs of infectious infections becomes a change in the appearance of the discharge and their consistency.
Normally, vaginal and uterine secretions should be completely transparent in color. The smell is either completely absent, or the secret has a light sour flavor.
If there is a change in the composition of the mucus secreted from the vagina, then the reasons may be different. These are often endometritis and vaginosis.
The appearance of girls and women mucous discharge from the vagina in white can also be considered as a valid physiological option. But only if they have a normal smell and are homogeneous in texture.
This color of the discharge may appear before the onset of menstruation, the release of a mature egg (ovulation) and early gestational periods.
White whites - the norm. But if they become cloudy, thick, contain foreign particles, an unpleasant smell, then this is a clear sign of infection.
To provoke changes in the composition and appearance of the vaginal secretion - in addition to infections - can:
- the use of low-quality tools for intimate hygiene,
- regular rehabilitation of the vagina, violating the natural microflora,
- prolonged use of oral contraceptives
- maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.
The appearance of a large amount of white whiter in the middle of the cycle indicates ovulation has occurred.
Yellow leucorrhoea in women can be both the norm and pathology. They are normal if:
- not accompanied by the appearance of an unpleasant odor, burning, itching or any other discomfort,
- have a slight yellow tint
- consistency watery, do not contain clots.
В ситуации, когда у женщины появляется желтый (насыщенный по цвету) секрет, необходимо проконтролировать наличие дополнительной симптоматики. It:
- значительное увеличение объема выделяемых белей,
- жжение, зуд наружных половых органов и слизистой,
- pain when urinating.
The reasons may be various infections, in particular, vaginitis, trichomoniasis. It is necessary to consult with the gynecologist and undergo a course of treatment.
Gray discharge indicates the development of serosometers - clusters of serous fluid in the uterus. The condition is most often diagnosed during menopause, but it also occurs in women of childbearing age.
Pathology is accompanied by a grayish, odorless discharge - if the accumulated fluid is not infected. If pathogenic microorganisms penetrate the uterus, the whites begin to smell unpleasantly.
Dull in consistency and green in color feminine discharge is considered a pathology. They are a sign of a bacterial infection affecting the uterus and its appendages. In most cases, green whites accompany gonorrhea.
Leucorrhoea has such a hue due to the large number of leukocytes, which is caused by a strong inflammatory process. They are also accompanied by a strong unpleasant smell.
Bloody cervical discharge is considered the most dangerous variety, although their appearance can be explained by the period of the menstrual cycle - they can occur before the onset of bleeding, as well as during puberty, when the menstrual cycle is just being established.
The reasons for the brownish color of the secreted vaginal mucus can be:
- forced interruption of gestation,
- the beginning of menopause,
- taking inadequate oral contraceptives,
- rough sex
- the presence of tumors.
The appearance of bloody discharge is a reason for obtaining qualified advice from a specialist.
Discharge from the vagina of any uncharacteristic type should alert the pregnant woman, becoming the reason for going to the gynecologist. If necessary, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment. Especially dangerous is the bloody secret.
A pregnant girl may also have other types of whiter:
- White. Due to the constantly occurring hormonal changes. They will be considered the norm if they remain sufficiently transparent, mucous and do not cause a feeling of itching, irritation on the skin of the genital organs.
- Yellow. The presence of a slight yellow shade is an acceptable physiological norm. Danger is the secret of a rich yellow color, which is accompanied by an unpleasant smell. It indicates the presence of infection and inflammation.
- Brownish. This option is a sign of clotted blood. He is recognized pathological and may indicate the beginning of a spontaneous abortion, or become a harbinger of premature labor. In this case, accompanied by the development of contractions.
After childbirth - lochia
Bloody brownish discharge after childbirth is present in all women, without exception. Their appearance is due to the clearing of the uterus.
Normally, the discharge is not too strong, in terms of volume resemble classical menstruation. The first four days they are quite abundant, then their number decreases. Lochia disappears completely after about 7-10 days after birth.
The fact that something went wrong indicates a change in color to bright scarlet. Too much bloody leucorrhea is a symptom of bleeding.
When menopause is normal
Vaginal secretion is present in women of all ages. Its changes occur depending on the days of the cycle. But in the period of menopause, accompanied by the extinction of the reproductive function, the total amount of whiter is significantly reduced.
In the absence of pathologies and disorders of the natural microflora, the secretions continue to remain transparent, sometimes they may acquire a slight yellowish tint.
With the development of vaginal infections, the quality of the secret varies significantly. He has a non-characteristic flavor, changes in consistency, color and composition.
The appearance of brown, odorless discharge is the physiological norm. They are explained by hormonal changes occurring in the woman’s body.
In more detail about a vaginal secret at a climax, we recommend to read in separate article on our website.
What to look for
Vaginal discharge helps to independently assess the health of the reproductive organs. Any transformation in the composition, color and consistency of vaginal mucus is a pretext for obtaining qualified medical care.
Changes in whiter volumes while maintaining physiological transparency and odor can occur as a result of hormonal imbalance. Such a deviation often accompanies the period of carrying a child.
Signs of STDs are radical changes in the vaginal secretion. It changes color, for example, it is possible the appearance of a shade of gray, impurities in the form of blood / pus. The smell also changes: whites acquire an uncharacteristic aroma, in particular, with gardnerellosis, they strongly smell of fish or ammonia.
Delivery of tests and instrumental diagnostics will allow to establish the true reason for the change of vaginal secretions. Treatment will be assigned based on the results.
Vaginal discharge, as already mentioned, is present in all the females. Normally, it is a clear, odorless mucus, a slight yellowish or whitish shade is allowed. Changes in composition, consistency, color and smell indicate the development of a pathological process in which the body of the uterus and appendages may be involved. A woman is recommended to visit a gynecologist and undergo an appropriate examination.
How secretions are formed and what are they?
Before considering what should be whites in the norm, we define what they are. As a rule, the secret secret natural phenomenon is that it is produced by glands located on the mucous layer of the vestibule of the vagina, the cervix. The composition of the mucus joins a certain amount of effusion of the vaginal vessels, discharge of the uterine cavity. One of the main tasks of the secret is to protect the uterine and vaginal walls from the introduction of pathogens. It is also necessary to prevent vaginal drying out and to clean the genital tract. Accordingly, eliminating those whites that are the norm, the woman removes the protective layer, opening access to infections.
Usually, from 1 to 5 ml of vaginal mucus is secreted throughout the day, while its characteristics may change during the menstrual cycle, including hue and texture. The volume can also change, the natural reasons affecting this indicator are:
- ovulatory period
- carrying a child
- sexual arousal.
With inadequate production of vaginal fluid, there may be pain in the process of sex, frequent infection of the body. If we consider the parameters of vaginal mucus in a woman, its composition includes cells and various microorganisms:
- The mucus that forms the cervical canal, which is a protection against infectious pathologies in the cervix.
- Constantly updated cells of the uterine epithelium, while the separated cells descend into the vaginal cavity, then go outside.
- The microflora, which includes from 5 to 12 species of microorganisms, including a small number of coccal bacteria, viruses and fungi. Actively multiplying under the influence of negative factors, they are able to provoke the development of the inflammatory process.
It is believed that in normal conditions, the ovaries, uterine cavity and fallopian tubes, along with the cervix, are completely sterile and microorganisms colonize only the vagina.
In women and girls of reproductive age, natural vaginal microflora for the most part includes lactic acid bacteria, due to which the normal secreted secretion is an acidic medium with a pH value from 3.8 to 4.4. This explains the possible sour smell of mucus.
Characteristics of natural vaginal discharge
Every girl who has reached child-bearing age should have discharge indicating the health of her reproductive system.
There are a number of signs, according to which a woman is able to independently determine how far the secreted secret meets the norm:
- It is estimated what color the secret is, the results correlate with the period of the menstrual cycle - the shades may be white, cream, yellow or be transparent.
- For the most part, the natural vaginal discharge has almost no smell or there are acidic shades.
- The consistency of mucus can vary from liquid to viscous.
- Although the volume of the secret may vary, it should not exceed about a teaspoon.
- The amount of mucus increases significantly before menstruation, after sexual intercourse, during sexual arousal.
The nature of a woman, the hormonal background of her body, the presence or absence of sex life, and other factors affect the nature of vaginal secretions. In girls, whites should be absent until the adult period, taking into account the peculiarities of the hormonal background and the structure of the genital organs inherent in this age.
Allocations are evidence of pathology, if they have a smell, color, and appear in girls 10-12 years of age. Usually such mucus indicates problems in the urinary or digestive system. Approximately 12 months before the onset of the first menstrual cycle, vaginal fluid production begins to occur in adolescent girls, due to hormonal changes. The leucorrhoea may be liquid or mucous, painted white or a faint yellow color; when they leave the vagina, there should be no discomfort - soreness, burning or itching, swelling and redness. After the monthly cycle stabilizes, cyclical changes in the properties of excreta are observed. Considering that most often girls and women have a monthly cycle of 28 days, consider the natural changes in vaginal discharge, taking it as a basis:
- In the initial phase of the cycle - and this is the period from the first to the twelfth day after the end of menstruation - the secreted mucus is often liquid, of a uniform consistency, sometimes with the inclusion of lumps, which consist of dead epithelium. Its color is transparent, but white or yellow shades are not considered pathology. The smell is absent or gives slightly sour.
- On the thirteenth - fifteenth days, an ovulatory period begins, in which the volume of daily excretions increases to 4 ml, their consistency is similar to viscous mucus, the color varies from transparent to white or light beige tones.
- In the second phase of the cycle, which begins on the fifteenth or sixteenth day, the normal discharge from women is reduced in volume, the consistency is similar to kissel or sparing cream. The color remains clear, whitish or yellowish. Immediately before the monthly discharge, it becomes slimy and smearing, acquiring a brown tint.
Why do whites change
In addition to the monthly cycle and pathological conditions, there are many most often hormonal factors that affect the nature of the secret:
- When a girl begins to have sex or there is a change of partners, a new microflora, non-pathogenic in essence, but completely alien, penetrates into the vagina. As a result, during a certain time period, the duration of which is individual for each individual organism, the reproductive system adapts to the changed composition of the microflora. At such times, there may be an increase in the volume of secreted secretion, a change in its consistency and color. At the same time, any discomfort, including itching or burning, should be completely absent.
- Sexual contact itself also provokes the development of specific whites - after an act without using a condom for several hours, vaginal discharges are similar to transparent clots, painted in whitish or yellowish shades. After six or eight hours, the mucus changes again - it becomes liquid and rich, painted white. When using a condom or when the act is interrupted, the secret released later has a structure similar to cream, since it consists of “spent” vaginal lubrication. Its color is whitish, the amount is rather meager.
- Female oral contraceptives significantly alter hormones, inhibit ovulation and during their admission contribute to a decrease in the amount of secretions. After the termination of the use of funds, the nature of vaginal discharge is restored. Similarly, the nature of the white has a lactation period. When the lactation period ends the amount of mucus produced is quite low.
- Consider what discharge is considered normal for women carrying a child. Usually their number increases, since blood circulation in the genitals is accelerated and some plasma penetrates into the lumen of the vagina. In the last trimester, the volume of secretion is growing even more noticeable, which is a precursor of labor activity.
Pregnant women need to pay increased attention to the nature of the substance released from the vagina, since it may indicate hidden problems. For example, the liquid mucus in the last trimester often indicates the discharge of water.
Bleachies that appear after labor are called lochia, they are uterine secretions, which include blood, mucus, rejected due to the lack of viability of the tissue. Normally, lochia stand out from three to six weeks, sometimes this period increases to almost one and a half months. At this stage, the tendency to a decrease in the volume of lochia and their lightening is important - the first seven days of discharge are reminiscent of the usual heavy periods, which may contain clots. Gradually, the volume of lochia is reduced, and the color changes in the direction of yellow-white shades, which is facilitated by the large amount of mucus contained in them, and there may be bloody inclusions. Closer to about the fourth week, the discharge becomes smeared, at the end of the sixth week (this period may last until the eighth week) the whites become the same as before the conception of the child.
Hormonal background in women varies significantly in the period before the onset of postmenopause. Consider what should be the selection at this time - their volume is significantly reduced, in the composition for the most part coccus microorganisms are observed, which include streptococci and staphylococci.
It should be remembered: regardless of the period of the menstrual cycle and other circumstances, vaginal secretion should not be accompanied by unpleasant sensations. Otherwise, an immediate gynecological examination is necessary.
Red blood cells
Single red blood cells found in a smear, pathology is not considered. Investigating the discharge before menstruation and after menstruation, the reasons for which are explained by physiology, experts concluded that during this period the red blood cells rise. That is why an appointment with a gynecologist needs to go when the menstruation is complete.
In addition, red blood cells get into the smear with a rough take, when a sharp instrument injures the mucous membrane.
The inside of the vagina is lined with squamous epithelium. It is updated regularly. Therefore, it is considered normal for epithelial cells to enter the discharge from the vagina.
If a woman has a low amount of estrogen with an increased number of androgens, then she will have fewer epithelial cells in vaginal secretion. In case of excessive number of desquamated epithelium, additional research is necessary to eliminate inflammation.
Experts investigate colorless, odorless discharge from women in the following ways:
- Microscopic method. The material taken is superimposed on the glass and examined under a microscope. If too much mucus is taken for analysis, the result will be distorted. Not everyone takes this into account.
- Cytology. Thanks to this method, it is possible to assess the condition of the integumentary epithelium. Analyze to identify cancer and precancerous cells of the cervix.
- Determination of pH. Today, many experts neglect this study, although the acid-base balance could tell a lot about which vaginal discharge is prevalent.
- Crops It is often necessary to determine which bacteria are active in order to find an effective remedy in combating it. But here there are some flaws. If you take a smear carelessly, then microbes living on the eve of the vagina will fall into it.
- An immunological study (PCR and the like). The method is effective and expensive. Today it is prescribed to many, although there are no less informative counterparts.
In the vagina is always a rich set of microorganisms. There are fungi, viruses, and bacteria. They could get inside in different ways: during intercourse, during operations, injuries and other situations.
It should be noted that the perineal area is considered the most polluted area of the human body. During intestinal emptying the body leaves many germs. Also in women, secretions include various microorganisms.
As a result, the area around the anus and vulva is inhabited by bacteria. К концу дня всегда запах прокладки или нижнего белья подтверждают сказанное. Личная гигиена помогает решать этот вопрос без проблем, хотя идеальной чистоты достичь никогда не получиться. And that's fine.
Ранее считалось, что выделения в норме у женщин должны содержать только лактобактерии и все. Microbiology has evolved, so scientists have refuted this claim. So, it was found that residents of the vagina can be about 100 species. And the “population” is different for everyone. In total, it is possible to detect about 5 species of opportunistic bacteria in one woman.
It can be viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoa. Most of their lives, they do not harm the body of a woman. If optimal conditions for reproduction are created for them, then the inflammatory process begins. Abundant secretion appears, even from the uterus discharge may occur. It all depends on the pathogen.
Today there is no single opinion as to why the human body is a haven for many bacteria. In the absence of pronounced symptomatology, a woman is considered healthy, despite such a rich flora.
The most common microorganisms of the vagina are Candida, Mycoplasma, Ureplazma, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.
Opinions of doctors are divided into which group they are referred to - normal flora or conditionally pathogenic. Microbes can live in the body without causing disease. Normal vaginal discharge, the photos of which can be searched on the Internet, even if they contain a lot of bacteria, is not “cured” until symptoms and other signs of the disease appear.
The body of an unborn baby is instantly populated by a diverse flora. If you examine the vaginal secretion of a girl, intestinal bacteria will often be found there. Such a phenomenon is normal. In adolescence, when the first uterine bleeding begins, the vagina is colonized by lactic acid bacteria. From the first days of life there are very few or none at all.
Vaginal discharge will change its composition during the growth and development of the girl's body. Gradually, some types of bacteria displace others. Observing the rules of personal hygiene, it is possible to keep the genitals clean, but not absolute. Anyway, under different conditions, the vagina is colonized by various bacteria that live in the intestines. In addition, sexual intercourse and imbalance when taking antibiotics also regularly change the flora.
We mentioned earlier that only lactobacilli were considered beneficial to the health of the genital tract. But everything turned out to be more difficult. Vaginal discharge from some women does not contain lactobacilli at all. Or they are very few. Such patients from 10 to 42%.
Subsequently, the term ecosystem was coined as applied to the vagina flora. For its equilibrium, both beneficial and opportunistic bacteria are needed. Lactobacilli that inhabit the vagina, there are about 135 species. They got their name due to their important function - to convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. An ecosystem can contain either one type of lactobacilli or several.
They can be divided into three types:
- producing hydrogen peroxide,
- lactic acid producing
- bacteria that attach to vaginal epithelium cells or other microorganisms.
Vaginal discharge without smell can contain any kind.
Let's see what effect these or other lactic acid bacteria have in the genital tract. Thus, hydrogen peroxide adversely affects fungi and pathogens. Due to lactic acid, an acidic environment is created in the vagina, neutralizing some bacteria.
In the case of the attachment of lactobacilli to the microorganisms of the intestinal group, the movement of the latter is restricted. This contributes to the fact that the infection spreads more slowly.
Lactic acid bacteria do not act on the yeast fungus Candida. But they stimulate the immune system and are responsible for the balance of the vaginal flora. Their active vital activity interferes with the reproduction of many opportunistic microorganisms. Therefore, their number is under control all the time and vaginal discharge is normal, there are no accompanying symptoms of inflammation.
Recent studies have shown that most often in smears are the following types:
Previously it was believed that acidophilic bacteria dominate the vagina. Therefore, many pharmaceutical companies still produce drugs with their content, designed to restore microflora and to treat all sorts of infections. Unfortunately, their effectiveness is rather low.
Video, how the smear process takes place:
The presence of ectopia or as it is also called pseudo-erosion, which is often found in young girls, also causes abundant discharge without smell and without itching.
Many specialists in the post-Soviet space call this state of the cervix erosion and actively carry out the cautery procedure. It is highly undesirable to “cure” an ectopia for women who are planning a child. Because during labor there may be problems with the opening and smoothing of the cervix, leading to ruptures.
There is also such a factor as weight, affecting the amount of secretion. Thin women have a shortage of fatty tissue, so they have a lot of secretion and it is abundant, especially during arousal.
This is explained by the fact that fat in the human body is involved in metabolic processes involving hormones. By the way, for the same reason, lean women have a longer menstrual cycle and have no ovulation more than once a year.
Adipose tissue - a kind of depot for important substances that accumulate during stress. In addition, fat is a layer that protects the organs and structures of the body. The reproductive system of a woman has many blood vessels. Nature took care of this so that the processes of reproduction proceeded successfully.
Note that the discharge on the 8th day of the cycle gradually increases in its quantity and its consistency changes - ovulation is approaching. It happens at all, regardless of weight. With anovulatory cycles, this does not happen.
Dysbacteriosis. After taking antibiotics, the intestinal microflora is disturbed. Often, immediately a similar picture is observed in the vagina.
Sexually transmitted infections. When confirming one of the infectious diseases, hardly anyone wonders why there are vaginal discharge. But if this causes discomfort in the anus or urethra, the woman may be frightened. But everything is explained by the anatomy of which we spoke above. Mucous membranes have a special structure, and therefore there is such a chain reaction.
During intercourse, excitement and friction of the penis against the vaginal walls causes an increase in blood flow in the vessels, both external and internal. The liquid part of the blood is in the vagina - sweats there.
In girls, the allocation of a similar consistency and abundance cause embarrassment during sex. Although the gynecologist takes into account their complaints, they are not always able to help. Drug therapy for such problems is not.
The fact that you need to wash twice a day, every woman knows. In this case, you should do it correctly and use natural care products.
Let's look at what modern hygiene products cause vaginal discharge in women:
- soap dries the skin and mucous membranes,
- gels with fragrances and dyes,
- pads for daily use because of its synthetic origin,
- detergents and gels based on aggressive chemistry,
- tight synthetic clothing.
It is worth noting that after defecation, wipe the anus with toilet paper from the vagina to the fold between the buttocks, and not vice versa. After the act of urination, the movements change direction. They wipe the genitals just the same from the vestibule of the vagina to the pubis.
Before and after sex you should wash with warm water and soap. So you protect your reproductive system from many inflammatory pathologies.
We considered what types of vaginal discharge are outside of menstruation. More precisely, what composition they are normal. There is still a discharge in case of diseases of the genital tract, but it also connects with special symptoms - pain, unpleasant smell, deterioration.
In addition, there may be minor bleeding during ovulation, and during implantation, a woman can detect a discharge with blood. In any case, if it seems to you that the secretion has become something unusual, consult a doctor. The test results will help to understand what is happening with the reproductive system.
There are several varieties of normal vaginal discharge, the nature of which depends on the woman's age, hormonal status, the presence or absence of sexual activity and other factors.
Immediately make a reservation that the girls before the start of puberty vaginal discharge should not be. This fact is due to the peculiarities of the hormonal profile and the structure of the genital organs in this age period. The appearance of discharge from the vagina in a girl up to 10-12 years old, especially discharge with color and smell, indicates trouble either in the reproductive system or in the adjacent digestive or urinary tracts.
Approximately a year before the start of the first menstruation, girls experience vaginal discharge due to hormonal changes in the body, transitioning from the “girl” state to the “girl” state. These discharges are liquid, sometimes mucous, have a whitish color or a slightly pronounced yellow tint, odorless or with a weak sour smell. These secretions are physiologically normal and necessary to moisturize the vaginal wall and protect the genitals from infectious agents. Naturally, normal discharge is not accompanied by such sensations as pain, itching, burning and does not lead to redness and swelling of the skin and mucous membrane of the external genital organs.
After the onset of menstruation and establish a regular menstrual cycle for normal vaginal discharge is characterized by a cyclical change of properties and qualities depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle.
In the first phase of the menstrual cycle (with a 28-day cycle — from the end of the menstrual period to 12–13 day of the cycle, which is counted from the first for menstrual periods 0) —the discharge is not abundant (1-2 ml per day — the spot diameter on the daily wipe is 2 3 cm), watery or slimy, have a uniform consistency (or there may be impurities in the form of small (up to 2 mm) lumps), they are colorless or have whitish or yellowish shades, odorless or with a weak sourish odor.
During the period of ovulation (1-2 days in the middle of the cycle), the amount of discharge increases to 4 ml per day (the spot size on a daily pad increases to 5 cm), they become slimy, stinging, sometimes the shade of discharge becomes beige.
In the second half of the menstrual cycle, the amount of discharge (compared with the ovulatory period) decreases, the discharge may become creamy or kishelepodobny character. A few days before the onset of menstruation, a repeated increase in the amount of discharge is characteristic.
Such a cyclical change in the nature of secretions conditionally persists throughout the entire reproductive period of a woman - from the establishment of a regular menstrual cycle to the appearance of the first signs of extinction of the hormonal function of the ovaries in premenopausal women.
However, there are many factors that, while not being pathological, change the nature of vaginal discharge. Such factors include the onset of sexual activity and a change in sexual partner, sexual intercourse itself, hormonal contraceptives, a change in personal hygiene or underwear, pregnancy, and the postpartum period. Consider the influence of these factors on the nature of the discharge in detail.
The beginning of sexual life and change of sexual partner they lead to the fact that a new, alien, unfamiliar, although absolutely normal, non-pathogenic microflora enters the female genital tract. As a result, during a certain period of time (especially individual for each woman), the reproductive system and the whole body of a woman are adapted to the “new tenants”. This period is characterized by an increase in the amount of discharge, discoloration and texture. The main thing is that there are no unpleasant sensations (discomfort, itching, burning).
Himself sexual intercourse also contributes to the appearance of specific vaginal discharge. Within a few hours after unprotected intercourse (without using a condom), vaginal discharge has the appearance of transparent clots with a white or yellowish tinge. 6-8 hours after intercourse, the nature of the discharge changes: they become liquid, white, and abundant. If sexual intercourse was protected by a condom or the method of interrupted sexual intercourse was used, then it was characterized by a creamy white secretion of secretion consisting of a “worked together” vaginal lubricant.
Hormonal contraceptives helps to change the hormonal profile, which plays a fundamental role in the formation of vaginal secretions. The inhibition of ovulation, on which the action of almost all hormonal contraceptives is based, leads to a decrease in the amount of secretions (during the period of taking the pills). After the cancellation of the contraceptive nature of vaginal discharge is restored. A similar effect on the nature of the discharge has breast-feeding. At the end of the postpartum period, the amount of vaginal discharge is very insignificant (provided that the baby is “on demand” and not monthly).
During of pregnancy a change in the hormonal status of the organism also occurs, affecting the structure and function of many organs. The amount of vaginal discharge in pregnant women, as a rule, increases due to increased blood supply to the organs of the reproductive system and the penetration of a small amount of plasma (the liquid part of the blood) through the walls of the vagina into its lumen. Discharges become abundant, watery and cause more daily changes in panty liners. At the end of pregnancy, the amount of discharge is still increasing due to the mucus coming out of the cervical canal, which serves as a precursor to the approaching labor. A pregnant woman should be very attentive to her condition, including tracking the nature of vaginal discharge. For example, the appearance of very liquid discharge in the second half of pregnancy must necessarily alert the woman and become a reason for going to the doctor, since such a picture can be observed during the discharge of amniotic fluid.
Normal discharge after childbirth are called lochia. Lochia is a physiological postpartum discharge from the uterus, consisting of blood, mucus and detached, non-viable tissues (decidual uterus). Normally, the duration of lochia discharge is 3-6 weeks after birth (sometimes, up to 8 weeks). It is important that there is a tendency to lighten and reduce the number of lohii. In the first week after birth, the lochia is comparable to the usual monthly, only they are more abundant and may contain clots. Then their number decreases every day. Gradually, they acquire a yellowish-white color due to the large amount of mucus (become similar to egg white), may contain a small admixture of blood. At about the 4th week, scanty, “spotting” discharges are observed, and by the end of the 6th – 8th week after birth, vaginal discharge becomes the same as before pregnancy.
The amount of discharge in perimenopause (the period including the period before the end of the menstrual function, the last menstruation and the whole subsequent life of a woman) is progressively decreasing. In the composition of the vaginal secretions in this period (as well as in girls before puberty,) coccal microorganisms predominate (staphylococci, streptococci).
Once again we recall: normally there should not be the slightest sensation of discomfort in the genital area, no pain, no itching, no burning. The appearance of these symptoms, even against the background of the supposedly normal nature of the discharge, should be a signal of the need for immediate consultation by a gynecologist.
Now let's talk about the apparent pathological discharge from the vagina. At once, by the nature of the discharge, it is almost impossible to accurately establish a reliable diagnosis, since in most cases there is a combination of two or more pathological processes, and often doctors encounter atypical manifestations of a particular disease. Therefore, by the appearance of discharge, one can only assume the development of a certain pathological process, and data from clinical, laboratory and instrumental examinations must prove it.
The most common causes of changes in the nature of vaginal discharge are specific infectious and inflammatory diseases of the reproductive organs, namely trichomoniasis, candidiasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, as well as bacterial vaginosis and non-specific inflammatory diseases of the genital organs. Let us see what the discharge looks like during these pathological processes, and with what methods you can confirm or deny the diagnosis.
Trichomoniasis: copious white, yellowish or greenish frothy discharge with an unpleasant odor, accompanied by itching and / or burning, painful urination. Для уточнения – необходимо исследование нативного мазка или мазка после окрашивания по Романовскому-Гимзе, или ПЦР исследование влагалищных выделений или культуральный метод.
Thrush (candidiasis) - thick discharge, similar to lumps of yellow curd, the amount of discharge is significantly increased. As an accompaniment - exhausting intense itching of the genital organs and irritation (redness, swelling) of the external genitalia. Confirmation - a microscopic examination of vaginal smears, bacterial seeding of secretions.
Bacterial vaginosis - The amount of discharge increases significantly, the color of discharge is a grayish-white, an unpleasant smell appears (smell of rotten fish) and a slight periodical itching of the external genitalia. Symptoms worse after intercourse. With the prolonged existence of the process of separation become yellow-green, sticky, when viewed in mirrors - evenly "smeared" on the walls of the vagina. To confirm the diagnosis, bacterial culture of vaginal secretions is performed.
Chlamydia - An increased amount of discharge is rare. Yellow discharge is characteristic (this symptom is especially noticeable to the doctor during examination of the woman in the mirrors, since discharge occurs from the cervical canal and flows down the vaginal walls), often accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen, painful urination, an increase and tenderness of the Bartholin gland. The diagnosis is confirmed by culture and PCR studies of the discharge from the cervical canal.
Gonorrhea - moderate yellowish-white vaginal discharge, accompanied by lower abdominal pain, pain during urination and, often, intermenstrual bleeding. To confirm the diagnosis, microscopic examination of secretions, bacteriological culture and PCR are used.
Nonspecific vaginitis (colpitis): vaginal discharge is the main symptom. Their characteristics are varied: liquid, watery, sometimes thick, purulent, often offensive, often with blood. Acute inflammation is accompanied by itching, burning sensation or heat in the genital area. The diagnosis is confirmed by microscopic examination of vaginal smears.
A special place in gynecology is occupied by discharge from vagina with blood. In most cases, bleeding outside of menstruation indicates the presence of the disease and indicates the need to consult a doctor.
Some doctors believe that intermenstrual bleeding from the vagina is a non-hazardous phenomenon caused by hormonal fluctuations associated with ovulation. However, such secretions sometimes occur in connection with violations of the menstrual cycle, and may also indicate the presence of genital infections (eg, gonorrhea), endometriosis, polyposis, chronic inflammation of the uterus (endometritis), etc. and therefore require special attention and examination (consultation gynecologist, microscopic and bacteriological analysis of secretions, colposcopy, ultrasound of the pelvic organs).
Any bloody discharges (of any color, in any quantity, of any duration) occurring during pregnancy should be alarming. Even if they are not accompanied by pain. The reason for such discharge may be the threat of termination of pregnancy, improper location of the placenta (placenta previa), premature detachment of the placenta. A less dangerous cause of the appearance of bleeding in pregnant women are micro-rupture of the vessels of an eroded cervix that occur after intercourse. To establish the true cause of bleeding can only doctor, therefore, with any appearance of such discharge shows a visit to the doctor.
Summing up the above material, we repeat: vaginal discharge, in most cases, is the norm. Their absence, change of characteristics, the appearance of an admixture of blood, itching, burning, discomfort should be alarming. In all these cases it is necessary, without shelving, to seek advice from a gynecologist. Take care of your health!
Author: obstetrician-gynecologist Rumyantseva Tatiana Stepanovna