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7 Common Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge You Shouldn’t Ignore
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7 Common Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge You Shouldn’t Ignore
7/6/2021
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

The female reproductive system produces vagina discharge throughout the menstrual cycle that can vary a little. For example, before and during ovulation, your discharge can become more sticky and thick. But if your vaginal discharge has completely changed its color, texture, and/or smell, it can be a sign of a certain gynecological condition. In this article, we have gathered seven common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an inflammation that occurs in the vagina when bacteria naturally found in the vagina overgrow and lead to disruption of the natural balance. The number of "good" bacteria called lactobacilli usually exceeds the number of "bad" bacteria. But if there are too many bad bacteria, they disrupt the natural balance of microorganisms in the vagina and cause bacterial vaginosis. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include abnormal discharge with fishy odor, burning sensations during urination, and vaginal itching. 

2. Yeast infection

Yeast infection is a condition that occurs when the fungi called Candida that naturally inhabit your vagina in small amounts start to multiply actively. The most common symptoms of yeast infection include thick white discharge, vaginal swelling, genital itching, and pain during sex. Yeast infection can occur because of antibiotic intake, weakened immune system, diabetes, or hormonal therapy. 

3. Sexually transmitted infections

There are certain sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis that can cause abnormal vaginal discharge. Chlamydia causes abnormal discharge with an unpleasant odor, pain during sex, and spotting. Gonorrhea manifests itself through increased watery, creamy, or slightly green vaginal discharge, an urgency to urinate, pelvic pain, and pain during sex. Trichomoniasis leads to white, gray, yellow, or green vaginal discharge with a strong smell, genital itching, and pain during sex. 

4. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a condition that occurs when the pelvic organs become infected and inflamed. This inflammation usually occurs because of untreated vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Symptoms of PID include fever, abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, pelvic pain, severe periods, pain during urination, vaginal bleeding between periods (spotting), and pain during sex. 

5. Cervicitis

Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix that can occur because of sexually transmitted infections, bacterial vaginosis, and allergic reactions. This condition can manifest itself through increased vaginal discharge, pain during urination, spotting, and pain during sex. Treatment for cervicitis depends on the exact cause of the condition. 

6. Vaginitis

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina. This condition is usually caused by a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria or an infection. Decreased estrogen levels after menopause, certain skin conditions, and some hygiene procedures (such as douching or using scented sprays or soaps) can also lead to the development of vaginitis. The most common symptoms of vaginitis include abnormal discharge, spotting, pain during sex, and vaginal itching. 

7. Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a condition that occurs when cells of the cervix change. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by certain strains of human papillomavirus, an STD that can be passed through unprotected sex and skin-to-skin contact. Cervical cancer can develop asymptomatically. Byt when it progresses, it can cause vaginal bleeding after sex and between periods, abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell, and pain during sex. 

The bottom line

It is important to understand that many conditions that cause abnormal vaginal discharge can have other similar symptoms. That’s why it is better to avoid self-diagnosing and self-treatment. In the case of any unusual symptoms, make an appointment with a gynecologist to evaluate your condition and undergo proper treatment. 

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