Vaginal discharge can be harmless or deserving of therapy. Experts explain how to make the correct diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment. Most women find changes in vaginal discharge distressing.
Showering every day with mild soap and warm water usually does the trick to feel clean and fresh in general, but if you have a vaginal discharge, itching, or vaginal odor, it may be caused by a change in the bacteria that normally live in the vagina bacterial vaginosis or by a yeast infection. Causes of vaginal odor are a forgotten tampon left in the vagina or not showering or bathing regularly. However, vaginal discharge can mean that you have a sexually transmitted infection, especially if you are having unprotected intercourse.
Sometimes the skin around the vagina can be red, swollen or cracked. See 'How to treat vaginal thrush' below for more information. Mild thrush can usually be treated with a short course of antifungal medication.
The first question you may have is what causes a fishy odor? There are around nine most common causes of vaginal fishy odor, each with their own unique symptoms and treatment options. In some cases, you may be able to solve the problem yourself with home remedies and in other cases, you may need medical treatment.
As women, we all know that vaginal discharge is a fact of life, and we may not even think twice about it. But what is discharge, actually, and how can you tell what is normal, or what may be an indication of a problem? These glands produce small amounts of fluid also known as vaginal secretions.
Normal vaginal discharge is a healthy way for your body to get rid of fluid and old cells — but discharge can also be a sign of something more serious. Clear or white fluid that comes out of the vagina is called vaginal discharge also known as leukorrhea. This discharge contains mucus that is normally produced by glands in the cervix and the walls of the vagina.
Glands inside your vagina and cervix make small amounts of fluid. This fluid flows out of the vagina each day, carrying out old cells that have lined the vagina. Vaginal discharge is completely normal.
Unusual vaginal odor happens from time to time. Intercourse may change the smell temporarily. Your vagina cleanses itself naturally.
Vaginal discharge is fluid that contains a mix of vaginal secretions and cervical mucus. The amount of vaginal discharge produced varies from woman to woman but is often normal and healthy. Pregnancy, changing hormones, or the presence of an infection can also affect the consistency and amount of vaginal discharge.
As women, we grow to learn what is normal and healthy for our bodies. The same is true when it comes to our natural feminine odor. Our noses can be the best detectives in identifying whether everything is ok, or whether there may be a problem. A healthy vagina may have a subtle but not unpleasant odor, but when the bacteria is out of balance due to an infection, our noses are likely to detect it right away.