Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
All women have vaginal discharge at some time or the other in their lives. This vaginal discharge may be normal or abnormal. Normal vaginal discharge occurs due to a normal physiological process in the body.
Vaginal discharge is termed abnormal or pathological when the discharge is due to some disease process.
Most cases of normal vaginal discharge does not cause itching. But while most causes of abnormal vaginal discharge causes itching, there are some diseases which may cause vaginal discharge but no itching.
Most women are unaware of the causes of normal vaginal discharge and may get unduly distressed. Some may even present themselves at the doctor's clininc for treatment.
Vaginal discharge without itching may be:
The vagina is the passage that connects the internal reproductive organs with the external female anatomy or the Vulva. The glands of the vagina and cervix secrete small amounts of fluid and mucus throughout a woman's life.
Some of this fluid may leak out and cause a normal vaginal discharge.
This discharge helps to cleanse out the vagina of any pathogenic organism and keeps the vagina moist and well lubricated. The secretions also help to maintain the ph of the vagina and protect it against infections.
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The ph of the vagina is normally acidic, preventing disease-producing organism from growing. This ph is mainly maintained by a variety of organisms that grow normally in the vagina. Of these, one of the commonest organism is Doderlein's bacilli, a type of lactobacilli.
The normal vaginal discharge contains tissue fluids, old vaginal and cervical cells, WBC's, glycogen, electrolytes, proteins and lactic acid.
Normal vaginal discharge that occurs at various times in a woman's life is thin and clear or faintly cloudy. It turns yellowish when dry. It may sometimes be seen as a stringy discharge sticking to the underwear. It does not smell when wet but may have a faint musty smell when dry. It does not cause itching or burning of the vagina.
Usually the amount of vaginal discharge is such as to just moisten the vaginal opening and to occasionally leave a stain on the undergarments. But it can be increased at certain times:
At around the time of ovulation, the level of estrogen in the body increases, stimulating the glands of the cervix. These secrete large amounts of clear, watery fluid. The main function of this cervical discharge is to help any sperm deposited in the vagina to swim up through the uterus. This secretion is usually copius, thin and watery, clear with occasional specks of white. and quite stretchable.
Since, ovulation occurs about 14 days after the last menstrual period, the secretions also increase at around this time.
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