Alternate Names : Discharge from the Vagina
Vaginal discharge is a fluid coming from the vagina.
What is going on in the body?
The vagina normally discharges a
small mount of fluid that is clear, cloudy, or whitish. There is usually more
discharge during exercise or sexual foreplay. A healthy vagina keeps a balance
of many bacterial and fungal organisms.
Many factors can affect the delicate balance of organisms within the
vagina. These include:
changes in estrogen levels that occur during menopause,
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Vaginitis, a swelling and redness in the vagina, may be caused by mental stress, poor hygiene, and irritants such as:
spermicides in foams, jellies, and creams
condoms and diaphragms
feminine hygiene products, such as perfumed sprays and powders
nonabsorbent clothing, such as nylon pantyhose
One third of all women have symptoms of abnormal vaginal discharge at some
point during their lives.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The causes of vaginal discharge include:
yeast infection, caused by the Candida fungus
bacterial vaginosis, caused by a change in the normal bacteria in the vagina
trichomonas vaginitis, caused by a parasite that is spread through sex
atrophic vaginitis, an
irritation of the vagina that causes dryness or burning
Other possible causes of vaginitis include:
a foreign body in the vagina, such as a forgotten tampon or intrauterine
human papillomavirus (HPV)