Published on Nov 01, 2019 and last reviewed on Jun 06, 2020 - 3 min read
The whitish or yellowish vaginal discharge that almost all women get during the menstrual cycle is called Leukorrhea. Learn about its causes, symptoms, types, diagnosis, and treatment.
Vaginal discharge is very common and can vary in quantity and quality based on different days of the menstrual cycle. It is mostly odorless and pale and helps to keep the vagina free of infections by flushing out the 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 this article.
There can be various causes for this condition, but the most common ones are as follows:
Sexual intercourse that is unprotected.
Poor hygiene maintenance of the intimate areas.
Any injury to the cervix or any other part of the female reproductive system while pregnancy.
Infection of the urinary tract.
Fungal or bacterial infections.
Vaginal irritation due to insertion of contraceptives.
Contraceptive used by the partner causing irritation.
The following symptoms suggest that you might be suffering from Leukorrhea:
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
Pain in the stomach or cramps.
Pain in the lumbar region and calves.
There are various types of this condition and they are listed as below based on the cause:
It is a natural secretion from the vagina. This happens mostly due to change in hormonal levels. Commonly seen scenarios include 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 the maternal estrogen that is present in them.
It is due to disease conditions. The discharge has a different color and smell. It turns yellow with foul smell. It can be due to 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 is an inflammation of the cervix caused due to sexually transmitted diseases or allergy to intrauterine devices used for contraception or any other contraceptive method used.
Yeast infection in the vagina - It is also called as candidiasis and commonly found in diabetic women or women taking antibiotics, contraceptive pills. The associated factor is related to change in the vaginal pH. Also, poor hygiene maintenance can lead to this.
Trichomonal vaginitis - Also known by the name of trichomoniasis is seen with yellow discharge that is frothy along with itching sensation. The causes can be attributed to STD, poor hygiene maintenance. It takes a time period of 3-28 days after the infection for the symptoms to show.
It can be diagnosed by examining the vaginal fluid for microbes and WBC count. Greater than 10 WBC under microscope aids in the diagnosis of the same.
Since it is caused due to various causes, treating the underlying cause will lead to cure of the disease, like the STD. The treatment modalities include the use of antibiotics like Metronidazole, etc., depending on the causative organism. Consult your physician before taking any of these.
This condition can be prevented by following some measures as follows:
1. Having a healthy diet.
2. Maintaining good personal hygiene.
3. Taking care while using contraceptives.
4. Notice any change in the vaginal discharge and consult your physician as soon as possible.
Leukorrhea is a common condition but can be embarrassing as well as hazardous to health if left untreated. Hence, it is necessary to consult your physician as soon as possible when you are in doubt or notice any change in the vaginal discharge and with the help of online medical platforms, it has become easy to consult your physician at the comfort of your home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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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