Vaginal Discharge and Vaginal Infection
Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy for women’s reproductive system to help protect it from infections. The quantity and type of cervical mucus changes during the menstrual cycle as a result of hormonal fluctuations. The concern of vaginal secretion begins when vaginal discharge becomes yellow brown colored, smelly and accompanied with itching and burning feeling.
Vaginal infection is a common condition caused either by bacteria, virus or fungi and causes excess vaginal discharge. It occurs when there is an imbalance of good bacteria in the vagina which causes a spread of pollutants such as bacteria and fungi. Pollutants and contaminants change the PH of the vagina and secrete toxins that penetrate the vaginal tissue and cause inflammation or fungus.The reduction in the count of good bacteria usually happens before menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, in menopause, after the use of vaginal hygiene products (antimicrobial, pantiliners), or due the intake of some medications such as antibiotics, steroids and birth control bills.
Causes for vaginal infection
- Bacteria (in particular chlamydia and Vaginosis). These bacteria is transmitted with sexual intercourse or through the anus and intestines to the vagina.
- Fungi (especially candida)- candida exist normally in the vagina only in small amount. However, in certain cases when there is a reduction in the amount of the good bacteria in the vagina such as in case of malnutrition or the intake of antibiotics, it is possible for candida to spread. Candida can pass from the anus and intestines to the vagina.
- Viruses (herpes simplex, papillomavirus)- these viruses may be transmitted through sexual intercourse, oral sex, or direct contact with an injury caused by the virus.
- Parasite especially Trichomoniasis, which transmit through sexual intercourse and may cause pelvic inflammation if not treated.
- The use of certain medications such as antibiotics, steroids, and birth control pills.
- Low level of estrogen especially in menopause.
- Chemicals in personal hygiene products such as soap, scented towels, daily towels and others.
- Unprotected sex and multiple partners.
- Unhealthy diet that may weaken the immune system and change the balance of good bacteria may cause vaginal infection.
- A burning sensation during intercourse.
- Vaginal secretions with bad odor.
- Vaginal pain.
- Grey white secretions with strong smell (bacterial infection).
- Itching and thick white excretions like agglomeration (fungal infection).
- Yellow secretions that look similar to pus and itchiness (Trichomoniasis).