Abnormal Vaginal Discharge without Itching
Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Previous - Normal Vaginal Discharge without Itching.
Vaginal discharge without itching is usually due to normal physiological causes like ovulation or pregnancy. Sometimes however, it can be in response to some disease process in the body.
Although this vaginal discharge can be clear or whitish, presence of an infection can cause the colour of the discharge to change to greenish or yellowish or creamy. If there is presence of pus, it will be thick and mucoprulent (mucous mixed with pus) or purulent (similar to pus). Infection may also cause the vaginal discharge to smell different - foul-smelling or fishy or musty.
Vaginal discharge due to a disease process like infection invariably causes itching as well. But sometimes only vaginal discharge without itching can occur in certain specific infections or conditions. Some of these conditions are :
Chlamydia Infection: Chlamydia, caused by the organism Chlamydia trachomatis, is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease. Clamydia spreads easily by oral, vaginal or anal sex. It usually causes a thick pus-like foul-smelling discharge with painless ulcers in the vulva. Sometimes, the infection may be characterized by a thin vaginal discharge which does not clear up easily. There is generally no itching but in chronic cases, irritation of the vulva by the discharge can cause mild itching.
Bacterial Vaginosis Bacterial vaginosis is a condition in which there is overgrowth of a bacteria called Gardnerella vaginallis. This bacteria is a normal inhabitant of the vagina but multiplies in number when the ph of the vagina changes.
The normal ph of the vagina is slightly acidic and this acidity is maintained by lactobacilli present in the vagina. If the lactobacilli decreases in number due to any cause, the ph becomes less acidic allowing Gardnerella to grow and cause Bacterial Vaginosis. It causes a typical fishy odour that is more evident after sex or during the menstrual period.
Clue Cells of Bacterial Vaginosis
Cervical erosion Cervical Erosion is a condition where the normal squamous mucosa of the cervix changes to a columnar mucous memebrane, usually in response to an increased estrogen level of the body, e.g. in pregnancy and in women who take birth control pills. Since the columnar mucous membrane contains glands, there is an increase of vaginal discharge.
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Vaginal Adenosis Vaginal adenosis is a benign condition, usually seen in female babies due to exposure in uterus to a hormone known as diethylstilbesterol. Occasionally it can also occur in healthy adults.
In this condition, the normal squamous mucosa of the vagina may get replaced by columnar mucosa in some areas of the vagina. These patches of columnar mucosa contain glands that secrete a white mucoid discharge.
Foreign body Sometimes, a foreign body, like a tampon or a condom, may be forgotten and left inside the vagina for days.
Very young girls may also insert small objects like beads or pebbles inside the vagina while playing.
These foreign bodies can stimulate the cervical glands to produce more mucous in an attempt to get rid of the foreign body. Mucus is also produced to cover the object and make it less irritating to the tissues. Excessive mucus can cause increased vaginal discharge.
Tumours of the genital tract Most tumours in the lower genital tract, e.g. a cervical polyp, causes a white or creamy, thin vaginal discharge which does not smell and does not cause itching.
But infection of the tumour by bacteria can change the nature of the secretions to a foul smelling, yellowish or greenish discharge.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Congestion of the veins of the pelvis can occur due to pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID), prolonged ill health or not being active for a long time. This can result in increased vaginal discharge that is thick, white and sticky.
Secondary infection Secondary infections of wounds, abrasions, burns and tumours in any part of the lower genital tract can cause increased vaginal discharge. Itching can occasionally occur in the presence of infection.
Next - Treatment of Vaginal Discharge without Itching.
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