The type of discharge, its color, and symptoms that accompany it provide an indication of the cause. For example, white discharge accompanied by itching in the vagina could signify a yeast infection. A clumpy, cottage cheese textured yellow or green discharge with a foul odor indicates infection. Clear and stretchy discharge is "fertile "mucus. Brown discharge occurs immediately after the completion of a menstruation period. This is normal, and it is the body's way of cleaning out the vagina. Spotting is another type of discharge that is common during early pregnancy. Spotting instead of a normal period preceded by unprotected sex can indicate pregnancy, so taking a pregnancy test is recommended.
Infections Causing White Discharge
There are several infections that cause white discharge. The discharge may change and have a distinct odor depending on the infection. Some of these infections are sexually transmitted.
Yeast Infection - Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted. Yeast infections commonly occur in warm, moist areas. Any condition that affects the immune system causes yeast infections. These can range from stress to pregnancy to any illness as well as certain medications. Women on birth control pills are susceptible to yeast infections. Yeast infections produce a thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) - This is the most common type of vaginal infection, yet the cause of this "good" and "bad" bacterial imbalance remains unclear. The thin white, gray, or yellowish discharge associated with BV has a fish-like odor. The smell is most apparent after sexual intercourse. Bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of HIV. Complications may arise if having BV when pregnant.
Gonorrhea - Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. Yellow, cloudy discharge is a symptom of gonorrhea. Other symptoms include urinary incontinence and bleeding between periods. It requires treatment. Without treatment, the infection could spread and cause pelvic inflammatory disease.
White Discharge without Pregnancy
White discharge before your period and without pregnancy is common. This discharge has the same consistency as the discharge experienced during ovulation. However, the quantity of discharge increases closer to the date of the period. The discharge becomes a brownish color when the period is imminent and this is counted as the first day of the period. Brown discharge without a period could be due to a complication in pregnancy. Therefore, medical attention is necessary.
White Discharge with Pregnancy
White discharge is also common as an early sign of pregnancy. The white discharge before period is more pronounced if pregnant due to increased oestrogen production and blood flow to the vaginal area. The white discharge expelled during early pregnancy may resemble egg white or a runny nose. The discharge is the cervical secretions that created a protective barrier in the cervical canal. This is expelled by the thinning and dilating of the cervix. The discharge might be expelled at once and will resemble a gelatinous glob. This discharge may be white or brown as a bit of blood might be expelled with it. Medical attention may be necessary if the discharge is thin and clear as this could be an indication of leaking amniotic fluid.
A white discharge before your period also occurs in a woman before sexual intercourse; is quite normal. This provides the lubrication necessary for penetration. Sometimes, women on the "pill" (birth control) may experience a greater amount of white discharge than normal. This should not cause worry either. However, medical attention is necessary if there are other symptoms accompanied with white discharge, such as a bad odor.
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