Vaginal discharge and irritation
A healthy vagina cleans itself naturally. A clear or opaque vaginal discharge is part of this cleaning process.
But, several conditions can cause irritation in and around the vagina and changes in the color, smell, amount, or consistency of the vaginal discharge.
These include vaginal yeast infections, nonspecific vaginitis, trichomoniasis, and sexually transmitted diseases, such as the herpes simplex virus type 2.
Vaginal yeast infections are usually marked by a thick, white discharge like cottage cheese, although sometimes it is clear. The vagina and labia (the lips of the vagina) may be red and swollen.
Yeast infections also cause intense itching and burning in the genital area. An overgrowth of normal vaginal flora, Candida albicans (Monilia), is the usual culprit. This type of infection is more likely during pregnancy, after taking antibiotics, when using birth control pills, or if you have diabetes. Spreading yeast infections through sex is rare, but if your partner has genital itching, an over- the-counter antifungal cream may be used topically.
One type of bacteria-caused vaginal infection is Gardnerella. Symptoms include a yellow or white vaginal discharge, itching, burning during urination, and pain in the vaginal area following intercourse. If you think you may have Gardnerella, consult the doctor. Bacterial vaginal infection is usually treated with specific oral antibiotics.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a tiny organism. Symptoms include a yellow-green frothy discharge from the vagina, itching, and sometimes pain. The discharge may or may not have bad odour.Because the Trichomonas can live in the male prostate gland, your partner should also be treated to prevent reinfection.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), can also cause vaginal irritation.
- Clean perineal area (area between the vagina and rectum) daily with water.
- Wear cotton underwear or underwear with a cotton crotch.
- Avoid tight-fitting jeans and pantyhose.
- Avoid deodorant tampons or frequent douches.
- Avoid a high-carbohydrate diet.
- Use adequate lubrication during intercourse.
- Avoid scented or deodorant soaps, detergents, or fabric softeners that cause irritation.
Signs and Symptoms that needs care
- Use an over-the-counter anti-fungal vaginal cream.
- Apply cool compresses to the perineal area (area between the vagina and rectum).
- Avoid bubble baths, vaginal sprays, and douching (unless prescribed). Soaking in a tub of plain, lukewarm water, however, is helpful.
- Avoid sexual intercourse for a few days to prevent further irritation.
- If home treatment doesn’t relieve your symptoms, or if symptoms get worse, call the doctor.
- Yellow or greenish vaginal discharge with itching, burning during urination, and/or pain during or after intercourse.
- Sores in the genital area.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Itching; white, cottage- cheese-like discharge; redness and swelling around vagina and labia.