Leukorrhea refers to an excessive amount of thick or thin, milky, vaginal discharge, which could either be white, yellow or green in color depending on its cause. It may be associated with an unpleasant odor at times. It could be due to several reasons, mainly because of estrogen imbalance or any infection of the reproductive tract.
The discharge could have a source of origin from any part of the reproductive tract, such as the fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries and even the vagina. It can occur as a natural phenomenon too, in physiological conditions like pregnancy. It could be practically harmless, or maybe the sign of a more serious etiology. Understanding your body is crucial in this case.
Causes of White Discharge
Physiological: When the chemical balance of the vagina is altered, such as due to hormonal imbalance, especially estrogen, leukorrhea can occur. It commonly occurs before you are about to get your period, or for a few days before menarche occurs.
Pregnancy: Due to increased estrogen in the body, there is an increase in the flow of blood to the reproductive tract. This can cause leukorrhea, which is highly common in pregnancy.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs): Leukorrhea occurs quite frequently if a person has an STD. The discharge may be thicker, dirtier in color, either yellow or green depending on the causative organism, and may be associated with a foul odor and itching in the perineal region.
Vaginitis: Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vaginal mucosa. It could be due to the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis or due to the fungus called Candida Albicans. This discharge is quite irritating and causes severe itching. This needs prompt medical attention before any complications develop.
Improper Vaginal Hygiene: Not cleaning your perineal area thoroughly could lead to irritation of the vaginal mucosa. Douching quite frequently can also upset the vagina’s normal bacterial flora.
Symptoms of leukorrhea include:
- Vaginal discharge – either white, yellow or green
- Unpleasant vaginal odor
- Burning micturition
- Painful intercourse
- Rashes or sore spots in the perineal region
- Abdominal cramps
Treatment of Viginal Dishcharge:
Leukorrhea can easily be managed or treated depending on the cause. The most important thing to take care of, personally, is your vaginal hygiene. Make sure to wash thoroughly after passing stool or urine. Douching should be avoided at all costs. If you must use public restrooms, make sure you rinse the toilet seat with water and apply toilet covers for your protection. Changing your lifestyle, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising frequently are always beneficial factors.
If your discharge bothers you a lot, or you develop a foul-smelling, frothy, colored discharge, make sure to visit your doctor. These are signs of an underlying infection, which should not be left untreated at any cost. STDs and UTIs (urinary tract infections) are quite common nowadays, but the good news is that they are easily treatable through a short antibiotic course.
During intercourse, using barrier contraceptive methods can give you and your partner an extra bit of protection. In the case of physiological leukorrhea, panty liners could be used which are easily available at any drugstore or pharmacy. These can be conveniently carried around in your bag and are quite simple to use.
Leukorrhea is very common and every woman experiences it at multiple occasions in her life. It is not something to be embarrassed by, as it is a natural defense mechanism of your body is trying to get rid of any offending agent. To be on the safer side, consulting your doctor and getting regular checkups is ideal.