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.
<p><strong>What Is Vaginitis?</strong></p>
<p>Vaginitis is a disorder of the vagina caused by infection or inflammation. It is often a result of infection by one of various microorganisms, but vaginitis may also be caused by irritation from soaps or medications, an allergic reaction, or hormonal changes. The three most common types of vaginitis are candidiasis (yeast infection), trichomoniasis (infection by a tiny, one-celled organism called a protozoan), and bacterial vaginosis. These three types account for more than 90% of all vaginitis seen in non-menopausal women. Menopausal women may get atrophic vaginitis associated with thinning of the walls of the vagina. This is due to estrogen deprivation.</p>
<p>Although irritating, vaginitis is not a serious health risk, and it typically subsides quickly with treatment. Recurrent or persistent cases may be associated with an underlying medical condition.</p>
Back in high school biology we all learned that there are many different organ systems in the body--the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the reproductive system, the urinary system and so forth. I think of them as having separate organs and operating differently. So it never made sense to me that something that had to do with the reproductive system (sex) would affect the urinary system (urinary tract infections). But Oh! How wrong I was.
Just about every young woman who begins her adult sexual life, no matter what her age, has dealt with the dreaded urinary tract infection ( watch a UTI video ), often as a result of sexual activity.
But why? My anatomy & physiology classes have come in handy; now I know that the urethra, which carries urine from your bladder to the point where it is excreted, is really, really close to the opening of the vagina, both of which are right above the opening of the anus, where your solid waste is excreted. Bacteria that's hangin...
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