That is a common question I get from my patients. Vaginal Discharge is one of the most common complaints my patients discuss with me. It is a very sensitive topic and many patients are embarrassed to bring it up. However, once you are comfortable with your Gynecologist don’t be afraid to bring it up. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. All women have Vaginal Discharge. It’s your body; be comfortable in it.
Now that that is out of the way, lets tackle a very common myth, NORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. There is only YOUR NORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE. The color, quantity, consistency, and smell of Vaginal Discharge are unique to every woman. Your Vaginal Discharge is dictated by your normal vaginal flora. What is a “vaginal flora”? You ask. Well, the vaginal environment contains tiny bacteria that are regulated by Lactobacilli. I often refer to Lactobacilli as the police department of your vagina. Lactobacilli lower the vaginal PH to an acidic level, which keeps the other bacteria in low and balanced levels. If the vaginal flora gets disrupted, your Vaginal Discharge can change. To complicate matters more, its characteristics often change depending on your diet, exercise, sex and “time of the month.” Vaginal Discharge is often clear or milky white without sensations of itching or burning.
However, if you experience abnormal symptoms like “fishy odor”, chunky thick texture, itching, burning or blood, consult your Gynecologist. The vaginal environment can get infected by Yeast, Bacterial Vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea… YUCK! Some of these infections cause discomfort while others can cause fertility problems. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can cause inflammation and scarring on your fallopian tubes, which will lead to blockages. Once your fallopian tubes are blocked, the sperm and egg can no longer meet and fertilization is not possible. NO FERTILIZATION, NO BABY. Remember, if you experience any combination of these symptoms, see your Gynecologist for evaluation and treatment.
Some of my patients are bothered by their normal vaginal discharge and often ask me if there is anything they can do to reduce its quantity or odor. I happily respond – YES!
There are a number of measures that you can take to reduce the amount and the sharpness of the smell of your Vaginal Discharge. First, Drink more water. Water will dilute the discharge. Second, STOP SMOKING. The chemicals of smoking penetrate everywhere, and these chemicals smell…. Also reduce your alcohol. Alcohol increases sweating which intensifies your vaginal discharge. Next, I recommend adding a Probiotic to your diet. One that I recommend highly is Ultraflora Women’s made by Metagenics. This Probiotic will reinforce your Lactobacilli, which will lower your vaginal PH, which makes it much harder for bad stuff to grow. Probiotics have been shown to reduce Yeast infections, Bacterial Vaginosis and Urinary Tract Infections. Another great suggestion is to reduce Sulfur containing foods in your diet. Many popular foods are high in Sulfur – Arugula, Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Eggs, Garlic… Many women have difficulty clearing Sulfur from their system and poor tolerance to it can manifest in shortness of breath, itching, diarrhea and you guested it more intense vaginal discharge.
I hope this helps.
BE AWARE AND TAKE CARE of your health
By: Leonid Sorkin, MD, FACOG