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Dr. Sangeeta Gupta Professor, Deptt. Obstetrics & Gynecology Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi

Vaginal discharge per se is not abnormal for any women; rather it is a physiological or normal defence mechanism of the glands inside vagina and cervix that secret fluid to wash out dead cells and bacterial from vagina. We usually see anxious girls or young women in our OPD oftenly with their chief complain, yellow or white stain on their underwear and we have to convince them that it is a normal fluid that helps clean and moisten their vagina. We tell these women that it is completely healthy and normal if their discharge is cloudy white, has no odor or has a slightly salty odor, increases in amount and becomes “stringy” (like egg whites) during the middle of their menstrual cycle when they’re ovulating, and is white or light yellow when it dries on underwear.

Vagina harbours commensals i.e. healthy bacteria within which keep the vaginal pH acidic and protect it from infection. Any change in the balance of normal bacteria in vagina can change the smell colour and texture of discharge. The change in normal bacteria of vagina happens due to ingestion of antibiotics, birth control pills, yeast or bacterial infection, sexually transmitted disease, diabetes and use of scented soap and lotion. Yeast infection alters the discharge to thick cheesy, bacterial infection to white grey with fishy odour and cervical cancer to bloody and brown.

Majority of women who come to us with vaginal discharge complain that they feel very discomfort in going out as they wear western cloths. The working women say that they get distracted their mind from work. These problems really compromise their quality of life a lot break them psychologically. There are many Muslim women who come to us for medical advice, complain that they are not able to offer Namaz, as they become impure due to vaginal discharge and ultimately they feel very guilty for not fulfilling their spiritual obligation.

Since vaginal discharge is not so uncommon, we commonly advice simple things to control these problem and its further prevention. We recommend them to keep their vagina clean and dry always. Always wash vagina thoroughly before and after using bathroom. Try to avoid public toilet as much as you can and especially western toilets. Avoid soap, fragrance and powder in you vagina rather use mild soap or natural intimate wash for vaginal hygiene. We also advise them to wear loose fitting, airy cotton cloth and most importantly cotton undergarments. We tell them to rinse their undergarments properly while washing so that the detergent used is completely washed out as detergent remains is basic and may alter vaginal acidic pH. They should immediately report to gynaecologist if they have fever or pain in pelvis area with vaginal discharge.

Content Courtesy: Women Health Organization, Everteen Feminine Intimate Health & Hygiene Survey. The article is part of educational campaign on vaginal health & hygiene “I for Intimate Hygiene”, conceptualized by Women Health Organization and supported by Everteen Natural Intimate Wash.

Disclaimer: The content and information provided in the article is for educational purpose only and should not be considered as a medical advice. One should consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The author of the article does not endorse or recommend any product through this article.


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