What is Leukorrhea ?
It pertains to the thick vaginal discharge which may or may not have any odor. Women experience this kind of vaginal discharge during their entire reproductive years, but it occurs due to a variety of reasons. There may be times when this discharge is present in excessive volume and become smelly. It is important for women to note their vaginal secretions as these provide clues about their reproductive health.
If leukorrhea occurs as a result of vaginal infection, women should visit the doctor. The gynecologist is the most qualified person to shed light on the cause and prescribe the most appropriate treatment method or medication. It is very important to not take over-the-counter drugs or any home remedies without the doctor’s consent so as to prevent causing further problems.
Causes of Leukorrhea
There are different reasons why a woman would release this kind of discharge, and it can either be a good or bad indication. In general, vaginal discharges are the body’s means of protecting the reproductive system. However, it could also be a signal that something is wrong within the woman’s reproductive system.
Leukorrhea during Pregnancy – Early Sign
Leukorrhea is common among pregnant women. This is because the blood flow to the vagina significantly increases during this period. Furthermore, the body normally produces high amounts of estrogen hormone during pregnancy and this hormone is one of the major causes of such sticky vaginal secretion. It is a mixture of many secretions from the vagina and the cervix, normal flora of bacteria as well as dead skin cells. Leukorrhea also occurs in female babies too, normally within 2 to 3 weeks after being born due to estrogen exposure during their rapid fetal development.
In pregnant women, leucorrhea can be the very first sign. It will not be identifiable at the outset and other signs like a missed period, frequent urination and morning sickness may warrant a pregnancy test. Leucorrhea is safe and is not a cause for any problem.
Leukorrhea during Ovulation
It is likewise normal for non-pregnant women to release this kind of vaginal secretion during ovulation. The sticky substance makes the cervix hospitable for the sperm cells, allowing them to survive for a number of days. This cervical mucus also permits the sperm to travel more freely onto the cervix.
Leukorrhea during Puberty
This kind of vaginal discharge normally occurs during puberty. Young girls may notice a sticky discharge before their first menstrual flow. This has been a cause of concern for many of the young ladies but educating them about it beforehand will ease their worries significantly.
Generally, the presence of thick vaginal secretion is something women should not worry about. Its occurrence is relatively normal as it is the body’s natural way of staving off bacteria and infections. However, women must ensure that the sticky, white substance they notice during pregnancy, ovulation and puberty have little to no odor at all. Also, it should not come with itchiness or redness. Otherwise, it could mean that something amiss.
When does Leukorrhea become alarming?
There are times when the sticky vaginal secretion becomes abnormal and even frightening. It is important for women to identify and differentiate normal from abnormal leukorrhea. While normal sticky discharges are milky white and have little to no odor, abnormal discharges have foul-smelling scent. It also not normal if the discharge has a cottage cheese-like consistency with green or yellowish color. Sometimes, it could also be is blood-tinged. Women with this condition will also feel a burning sensation and itchiness in the vaginal region. These are indications that something is wrong in a woman’s reproductive system, which could be due to one of the following:
- Yeast infection
- Bacterial infection
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Inflamed or congested vaginal mucosa
Abnormal Leukorrhea symptoms
Women suffering from abnormal leukorrhea will exhibit varying symptoms, depending on the underlying cause. Generally, sufferers note that the sticky substance comes with a very unpleasant odor. Moreover, its consistency is like that of cottage cheese. The discharge may be yellowish, greenish or blood-tinged.
A yellowish discharge is often a manifestation of yeast infection, while a greenish discharge indicates some kind of bacterial infection. Furthermore, women who have foul-smelling and sticky vaginal discharge also feel generally weak and exhausted. Some likewise suffer from constipation and headaches. Many also feel pain on the lumbar region.
Affected women should consult the gynecologist if the sticky vaginal secretions have become abnormal because the condition might aggravate into a medical condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID which will eventually lead to infertility.
There is an appropriate medication for abnormally sticky and foul-smelling vaginal secretions. However, women should never try to self-medicate or even start a holistic approach in treating the condition. Whether it is normal or abnormal, the woman should consult a doctor first whenever she suspects that something is wrong or even if she is just uncomfortable. If these vaginal secretions are due to bacteria or yeast infection, the doctor will prescribe the right medication. If these secretions are part of a woman’s natural defense mechanism, the condition can be managed by simply wearing panty liners and observing proper hygiene. It will also help to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage leukorrhea properly.