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Vaginal Discharge and Infections

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Vaginal discharge is normal, and it varies during different points during the menstrual cycle. A healthy vagina produces secretions to cleanse and regulate itself. This contains normal bacteria and fluids secreted by vaginal cells.

Certain bacteria create an acidic pH balance in the vagina, so as to minimize the occurrence of infections. A normal vaginal discharge consists of about a teaspoon (4 milliliters) a day that is white or transparent and odorless. Any interference with the delicate pH balance sets up an environment conducive to a vaginal infection.

Vaginal discharge can be more noticeable at different times of the month depending on ovulation, menstrual flow, sexual activity and birth control. Women sometimes experience clear and watery mucus at different times of their menstrual cycle. Some find that it is particularly heavy around mid-cycle and/or after exercising.

The pH balance of the vagina fluctuates during the menstrual cycle. It is least acidic on the days just prior to and during menstruation.

Accordingly, infections are most common at this time. Shortly before ovulation, a lot of clear, stretchy mucus is generally produced. Thick, white discharge is typical at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle.

Normal vaginal discharge is not accompanied by itching. Thick white discharge coupled with itching is often an indication of a yeast infection.

Any changes in color or amount of discharge often indicate the presence of a vaginal infection, which is extremely common. The vast majority of women will experience some form of a vaginal infection during their lifetime.

Yellow or green mucus may indicate an infection, especially if thick or clumpy like cottage cheese or has a foul odor. It’s not uncommon for women to notice brown discharge, especially at the end of the menstrual cycle.

Simply put, old blood appears brown. Brown discharge or spotting blood may occur during ovulation (mid-cycle). Some women experience spotting or a brownish discharge early in pregnancy, generally the time your period would normally come.

Accordingly, if you have spotting around the time a period would normally begin, and you have had sex without using birth control, you may want to do a pregnancy test.

As a general rule, if the discharge has a yellow or green color, is clumpy (e.g., cottage cheese), or is accompanied by a foul odor, you may want to see a doctor. Also, if pain, discomfort, and/or a rash or sores accompany discharge, be sure to see a doctor.


Vaginal Discharge. Web. www.mayoclinic.com Accessed 13 Feb. 2012. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-discharge/MY00097

Knowing the Difference Between Normal Discharge and Infections. Web. www.mckinley.illinois.edu. Accessed 13 Feb. 2012. http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/vaginal_discharge.html

Female Vaginal Discharge. Web. www.pamf.org. Accessed 13 Feb. 2012.

Vaginal Discharge Symptoms. Web. www.medicinenet.com. Accessed 13 Feb. 2012.

Identify Your Vaginal Discharge with Three Symptoms. Web. www.womenhealthzone.com. Accessed 13 Feb. 2012.
http://www.womenhealthzone.com/womens-reproductive-health/identify-your- abnormal-vaginal-discharge-with-three-symptoms

Vaginal Infections and Discharge. Web. www.wdxcyber.com. Accessed 13 Feb. 2012. http://www.wdxcyber.com/mvagina.htm

Reviewed February 14, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

Been suffering from yeast infection for some months. None of the remedies helped except this one: http://sevenreview.com/health-beauty/yeast-infection-newest-2012-cure/

I cured my yeast infection in just two days, doctors couldn't believe it!

February 15, 2012 - 5:11am
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