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Leukorrhea (Leucorrhea) - Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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Leukorrhea (Leucorrhea) - Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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Leukorrhea is the natural discharge through the vagina that almost all women get during the menstrual cycle. Read to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Amit Kyal

Published At November 1, 2019
Reviewed AtNovember 21, 2023

What Is Leukorrhoea?

Vaginal discharge is widespread and can vary in quantity and quality based on different days of the menstrual cycle. The medical name for normal vaginal discharge is leukorrhea. It can be yellow or white, but it does not cause pain, itching, irritation, or burning of the tissue around the vaginal opening. It is sometimes hard to specify the difference between normal vaginal discharge and leukorrhea caused by a yeast infection or sexually transmitted diseases. It is mostly odorless and pale. It helps to keep the vagina free of infections by flushing out foreign bodies. But sometimes, the discharge can be due to underlying pathology like an infection that needs medical attention. They have different symptoms and causes which will be focused on in this article.

What Are the Causes of Leukorrhea?

There are various causes for this condition, but the most common ones are as follows:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse.

  • Nutritional deficiency.

  • Poor maintenance of hygiene in intimate areas.

  • Any injury to the cervix or any other part of the female reproductive system during pregnancy.

  • Infection of the urinary tract.

  • Fungal or bacterial infections.

  • Vaginal irritation due to the insertion of contraceptive devices.

  • Anemia.

  • A contraceptive device used by the partner that irritates.

What Are the Symptoms of Leukorrhea?

The following symptoms suggest that an individual might be suffering from leukorrhea:

  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

  • Pain in the stomach or cramps.

  • Constipation.

  • Headaches.

  • Itching sensation.

  • Pain in the lumbar region and calves.

What Are the Types of Leukorrhea?

There are various types of this condition are listed below based on the cause:

  • Physiological: It is a natural secretion from the vagina. This happens mostly due to a change in hormonal levels. Commonly seen scenarios include the sexual excitement stage, during early-stage pregnancy, one of the signs of puberty in young girls. Also, it is noticed in newborns for a week post-birth due to maternal estrogen.

  • Pathological: It is due to disease conditions. The discharge has a different color and smell. It turns yellow with a foul smell. It can be due to an underlying infection and needs medical attention. Some of the pathological conditions are as follows:

    • Cervicitis - Pain in the lower back is a very common symptom of this condition. It will be accompanied by inflammation of the cervix caused due to sexually transmitted diseases or allergy to intrauterine devices used for contraception or any other contraceptive method.

    • Yeast Infection in the Vagina - It is also called candidiasis and is commonly found in diabetic women or people who are taking antibiotics and contraceptive pills. The associated factor is related to changes in the vaginal pH (potential of hydrogen). Also, poor hygiene can lead to vaginal yeast infections.

    • Trichomonas Vaginitis - It is well known by the name of trichomoniasis. It is seen with a yellow, frothy discharge, along with an itching sensation. The cause can be attributed to sexually transmitted diseases and poor hygiene. It takes three to 28 days after the infection for the symptoms to show.

What Are the Tips to Be Followed With Leukorrhea During Pregnancy Time?

The tips to be followed during pregnancy time are as follows:

  • Take frequent baths and use underpants with breathable cotton liners. Keeping the private parts clean and dry to prevent vaginal infections from bacteria.

  • Wear panty liners or pads. It absorbs excess discharge and helps to feel more comfortable. It is recommended to skip the tampons as they can allow germs into the vagina.

  • Leave the douches at the drugstore. During pregnancy, douching is not safe, and it should be avoided. It can also collapse the natural balance of microorganisms in the vagina and drive bacterial vaginosis.

  • Do not bother with wipes. The vagina has a self-cleaning ability. It could change the pH in the genital tract and increase the risk of infection.

How Is Leukorrhea Diagnosed?

The healthcare provider may advise some diagnostic tests to detect leukorrhea.

  • Medical History: The healthcare provider may ask about the associated symptoms and the characteristics of the discharge.

  • Laboratory Tests: It can be diagnosed by examining the vaginal fluid for microbes and WBC (white blood cells) counts. Greater than 10 WBCs under a microscope aids in the diagnosis of the same.

  • Infection Testing: If an infection is suspected, then tests for sexually transmitted diseases or other types of infection can be conducted.

How Is Leukorrhea Treated?

  • Home Remedies: Coriander seeds are perfect for vaginal infections. The coriander seeds can be soaked in lukewarm water and can be left as such overnight. Consuming these seeds on an empty stomach might help to subside the symptoms.

  • Medical Treatment: Since it is caused by various causes, treating the underlying cause will lead to the cure of the disease, like sexually transmitted infections. The treatment modalities include the use of antibiotics like Metronidazole depending on the causative organism. Consult the doctor or physician before taking any of these.

How Can Leukorrhea Be Prevented?

This condition can be prevented by following the measures.

  • Having a healthy diet.

  • Maintaining good personal hygiene.

  • Taking care while using contraceptives.

Leukorrhea is a common condition but can be embarrassing as well as hazardous to health if left untreated. Hence, it is important to consult the doctor as soon as possible when an individual is in doubt or notices any change in the vaginal discharge

When to Contact a Doctor During Leukorrhea?

Most women experience pregnancy discharge, and there is nothing to be worried about. It does not mean it is not sometimes worrisome or annoying. It is necessary to contact the doctor or healthcare advisor if a person has the following.

  • Chunky.

  • Copious (large quantity).

  • Heavy discharge.

  • Foul-smelling.

The above changes are signs of an infection, and further investigation is required. In some cases, experiencing enhanced leukorrhea can mean that the person should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. The concerned person will typically have a routine screening in early pregnancy. If an individual ever experiences new symptoms, be sure to ask for additional testing or screening.

Conclusion:

Leukorrhea is a common medical condition that most women face. The thick vaginal discharge can occur during pregnancy, sexual arousal, or the menstrual cycle. If there is excessive vaginal discharge, then it may indicate an underlying issue. Then there is a need to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. The condition can be diagnosed through medical history and laboratory tests. If an individual is experiencing unusual symptoms, then timely medical attention is recommended to maintain vaginal health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Is leukorrhea dangerous for health?

Leukorrhea will not affect the health if it is caused due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, sexual excitement, early pregnancy, and puberty. If the vaginal discharge is yellowish and has a foul smell, it is commonly due to bacterial or viral infection (sexually transmitted infection). If left untreated, it can lead to severe complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.

2.

Is leukorrhea a sign of early pregnancy?

Vaginal discharge during early pregnancy is thin and milky white. If you have missed your periods and have leukorrhea, you are most probably pregnancy. If the pregnancy test is negative, then consult a gynecologist to rule out other conditions that can cause these symptoms.

3.

Does leukorrhea affect periods?

Leukorrhea does not affect periods, but it is a normal physiological process. Most women have white vaginal discharge before they get periods. This discharge is a normal part of the menstrual cycle and it contains fluid and cells that are shed from the vagina. This phase of the menstrual cycle is called the luteal phase, where the hormone progesterone is at its peak.

4.

Is it normal to have leukorrhea?

Leukorrhea is not something to worry about unless it is white, thin, and somewhat odorless. If the discharge has a foul smell or is accompanied by pelvic pain or other symptoms, consult a doctor immediately, as these are signs of infection.

5.

What causes leukorrhea?

This type of vaginal discharge can be a normal physiological process, or it can be caused by infections like trichomonal vaginitis, candidiasis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

6.

Can leukorrhea cause weakness?

Leukorrhea normally does not cause weakness. Abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied by weakness and other symptoms can be due to urinary tract infection, pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, or sexually transmitted disease (STD).

7.

Can a yeast infection cause leukorrhea?

Yes, yeast infections like candidiasis can also result in leukorrhea. Yeast infection can result in thick, whitish, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge, vaginal pain or irritation, and itching.

8.

How to treat excessive Leukorrhea?

If the discharge is thick, sticky, yellow or greenish, foul-smelling, and in excess, it is best to get it checked. If it is due to an underlying infection, then your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.
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Dr. Amit Kyal
Dr. Amit Kyal

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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