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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 Wet prep Normal Values A normal test result means there are no signs of an infection. What abnormal results mean Abnormal results mean there is an infection. The most common infections are due to one or a combination of the following: Bacterial vaginosis -- bacteria that normally live in the vagina overgrow, causing a heavy, white, fishy-smelling discharge and possibly a rash, painful intercourse, or odor after intercourse Trichomoniasis -- a sexually transmitted disease Vaginal yeast infection Additional conditions under which the test may be performed: Atrophic vaginitis (associated with lack of estrogen)
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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