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It is a question that is often asked: Is my vaginal discharge normal or should I be worried that something is wrong? The answer is: It depends. Every woman experiences some vaginal discharge and usually, it signals a healthy vagina but there are times when you should talk with your doctor.
What is Normal Discharge?
The pH in your vagina is naturally acidic to help prevent infections. This acidity is caused by “good” bacteria created by your body. Your vagina produces secretions to help cleanse your vagina, much like the saliva in your mouth. The secretions are released every day cleaning out old cells. The secretions also help prevent infections and keep your vagina lubricated.
As the secretions flow out of your vagina, you may see some discharge. Normal discharge is clear or milky white. It can sometimes appear yellowish when dry on clothing. You may also see small white flecks or, depending on your menstrual cycle, it may be thin and stringy.
Alternative Names Discharge from the vagina Prevention References Anderson M, Karasz A, Friedland S. Are vaginal symptoms ever normal? A review of the literature. MedGenMed . 2004;6(4):49. Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22. Sanfilippo JS. Vulvovaginitis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 549. Spence D, Melville C. Vaginal discharge. BMJ . 2007;335:1147-1151.
Menopause brings about many changes to the body. Some of those we can see; other changes aren’t so visible. For instance, vaginal atrophy affects about half of postmenopausal women, according to the Mayo Clinic
One type of atrophy is vulvovaginal atrophy. “During perimenopause, less estrogen may cause the tissues of the vulva and the lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier, and less elastic or flexible—a condition known as vulvovaginal atrophy,” More.com noted. “Vaginal secretions are reduced, resulting in decreased lubrication. Reduced levels of estrogen also result in an increase in vaginal pH, which makes the vagina less acidic, just as it was before puberty.”
Another type is atrophic vaginitis. According to More.com , “When ‘–it is’ is added to a word, it generally means inflammation. Inflammation of the vagina after menopause in a woman who is not using hormone therapy is called atrophic vaginitis. This cond...
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