Top 10 Diseases that Affect Vaginal Discharges!
Vaginal discharge is a true marker of female genital health. So every woman should constantly analyze her discharge, the easiest method being by using protect briefs. Depending on the discharge`s changes, the woman can notice if she suffers of an genital infection or disease, and can even direct the diagnosis with her doctor depending on the main characteristics of her discharge.
The existence of vaginal discharges is normal. They have the role of permanently clean the vagina and to maintain the pH which is unfavorable to the developing of infections.
There are many cases in which some pathologic diseases, especially genital, are discrete, they don`t have spectacular symptomatology or it`s barely distinguishable if the woman doesn`t pay too much attention.
Table of Contents
- 1 When Are Vaginal Discharges Normal?
- 2 Top 10 Diseases that Affect Vaginal Discharges
- 3 Which is the Cause for a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
When Are Vaginal Discharges Normal?
First of all, we need to clarify that the existence of vaginal discharges is perfectly normal. As highlighted above, they have a role to protect the vagina and maintain its balance. Normal discharges are usually transparent or slightly whitish, with a no specific odor (but not unpleasant). During period, the consistency and quantity of the discharge vary, so in a particular period the discharge is more reduces and watery, while in a different period is abundant and viscous.
When vaginal discharges change their color, consistency (for example, a cheesy aspect) and the odor becomes unpleasant, it means that there`s definitely a certain pathology at the vaginal level. These changes can be accompanied by a local discomfort, itching sensations, pain during sexual contact, urinary pain or pain when walking. Itching can also occur during the night, sometimes being quite disturbing and annoying, sometimes not being able to sleep. All these symptoms can accentuate after sexual contact.
There are several types of vaginitis: bacterial, fungus (especially candidiasis), parasitic (trichomoniasis), atrophic vaginitis (at menopause) etc. All these vaginitis show changes of a vaginal discharge, so here we`ll discuss about 3 of the most frequent changes of the vaginal discharge.
Top 10 Diseases that Affect Vaginal Discharges
Practically all pathological diseases from the genital area should visibly change the discharges, some of these diseases also being accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal or septic groin pain, pain during sex or after, itching in the genital area, menstrual changes, etc.
1. Bacterial Vaginosis
Good bacteria can be found in normal vaginal flora, but also a fungus known as Candida albicans. These bacteria, or microorganisms, live in a delicate balance which ensures a normal vaginal pH. In certain conditions, under the influence of these trigger factors (improper sexual hygiene, consumption of antibiotics, genital diseases, etc), this delicate balance of the microorganisms from the vaginal flora is disrupted and in these situations some bacteria multiply more than they should, causing a local inflammation known as bacterial vaginosis.
Unfortunately, there are also bacterial vaginosis triggered or to which there`s bacteria that joined them and which aren`t part of the normal genital flora, and the most frequent cases are when one of the partners don`t shower before sexual contact and he experiences a small infection in the genital area. There are also other situations in which bacteria can be contacted, such as wearing internal tampons, the diaphragm or other objects that are vaginally introduced (for example, sexual objects). A vaginal (or yellowish), with bad odor (the odor is stronger after the sexual contact) indicates a bacterial vaginosis.
2. Fungal Vaginosis – Vaginal Candidiasis
As mentioned above, Candida albicans is part of the normal vaginal flora, but in unfavorable conditions this can multiply over a certain limit, leading to vaginal candidiasis. This is manifested locally especially by vaginal itching, vaginal pain during and after sexual contact, burning, cramping when walking, etc. The specific changes of the vaginal discharges become more abundant, they change their odor becoming unpleasant, they turn to a cheesy consistency with clots, and the color is changes to whitish-yellowish.
Specific changes of the vaginal discharges:
- They become more abundant;
- They change their odor, becoming unpleasant, turning even into a “bad fish” odor;
- Cheesy consistency, like clots, and the color is modified, being white-yellowish.
3. Parasitic Vaginosis – Vaginal Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted parasitic disease given by Trichomonas vaginalis, a single-celled protozoan. Both men and women can have this disease. At women, the parasite affects the vagina, urethra, cervix, uterus, bladder, glands from the genital area such as the Bartholin`s glands or Skene`s glands. The woman can experience vaginal itching or irritation, pain during sex, redness, frequent urination and even pain when urinating (dysuria), red mucosa in the cervix and profound vaginal mucosa.. The characteristic changes include: abundant discharges, yellow or grey-greenish color, creamy appearance, bad odor.
Specific changes of the vaginal discharges:
- Abundant discharges;
- Color: yellowish, grey-greenish, sometimes with a foamy aspect;
- Bad odor, abnormal, mold odor.
4. Atrophic Vaginitis
After a certain age, when the woman approaches menopause, vaginal discharges decrease in quantity and quality, the vaginal mucosa becoming drier. It`s known as atrophic vaginitis and is appears because the female hormones decrease and which leads to a decrease of the discharge (even its absence), and vaginal mucosa becomes thinner and drier, leading to burning, pain and itching.
Gonorrhea is a contagious disease produced by Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is known even from antiquity. It can affect both sexes at any age. The disease can be transmitted through unprotected sex and is known as one of the most frequent STDs. Also, the infection can be made through oral sex and can lead to wounds at the neck (pharyngeal gonococcal infection), through anal sex (discharge and irritation of the anus), but also from the mother to the newborn.
In over 50% from cases, the disease can evaluate without any symptoms. So, the symptoms of the woman can sometimes be very discrete, but other times can be more obvious. They include abundant discharges of white-yellow color, burning sensation when urinating, severe inferior abdominal pain, signs of cervicitis (mucopurulent endocervical discharge, bleeding cervix at touch), bleeding between menstruation, anal irritation or discharges.
Chlamydia trachomatis is one of the most frequent STDs in the western countries with more than 4 million cases per year. This is an STD which most of the times has discrete symptoms, reason for which is also known as the “silent disease.” Women can experience signs of cervicitis, severe urethral syndrome, perihepatic, infertility, salpingitis or a pelvic inflammatory disease. Most of the times, the symptomatology is non-specific and ignored by women. Women may also experience purulent discharges, pelvic pain, urinary discomfort, etc. In more advanced cases, the woman experiences bleeding during and after sexual contact, sensation of burning when urinating and bleeding between periods. Changes of vaginal discharges include: more abundant discharges, muco-purulent aspect, green or green endocervical, small bleeding at touch (so the tampon inserted into the cervical canal for sampling will have fresh blood) and bad odor.
Specific changes in vaginal discharges:
- It becomes more abundant, with a purulent aspect;
- Yellowish-greenish endocervical secretion;
- The endocervix`s mucosa is friable and bleeds easily when touched, which means that on the tampon that is inserted into the cervical canal to take a sample of the discharge it can be noticed fresh blood;
- Bad odor.
Unfortunately, chlamydia is a disease that is hard to detect if the patient doesn`t do the necessary tests in a regular basis. There are patients that detect the disease after years.
Syphilis is a contagious STD which is caused by an infection with T. Pallidum. Unfortunately, this disease doesn`t start too obvious, having a serious but slow evolution during 10 – 15 years and is noticed by patients pretty late. In the first phase, the genital area will show some sort of injury with an appearance of ulcer in the middle and with the edges a bit swollen (hard, rough), but painful only if it gets infected, which rarely happens. Therefore, the respective injury doesn`t hurt and the patient ignores them rather often, and then it may even be forgotten because it goes away on its own after about 3 weeks, being followed by the secondary syphilis.
The symptoms of this disease at women are discrete and can be easily mistaken with urinary infections. There are signs of urinary burning, abnormal discharges with non-specific changes, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, pain during sexual contact, fever and general fatigue.
8. Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a viral infection, a chronic condition which at least for now doesn`t have any treatment. There are several types of herpes, but 2 of them are more often encountered: HSV1 (herpes simplex virus 1 or oral herpes) and HSV2 (herpes simplex virus 2 or genital herpes). These viruses have a general characteristic which is the fact that they are able to live in the organism latently for a long time. The virus activates and reactivates if the organism becomes weak, but it can be present with manifesting itself, a situation in which the carrier can transmit the virus to other persons without even knowing that he or she has it.
The symptoms during the latent state are almost non-existent, or if they exist, they aren`t obvious. They may include signs similar to cold or flu: headache, back pain, increased temperature, genital pain and burning or when urinating, itching or warm sensations in the genital area. Most of the times, the signs are non-specific and they pass rather quickly. In over 95% of cases, the patient ignores the symptoms.
There are small vesicles with clear liquid in the genital that can appear at around 4 – 5 days from the actual sexual contact that started the infection, which then can turn into painful injuries but heal in 1 – 2 weeks. At women it can be noticed erupting pustules located around the vagina, clitoris, cervix, and are accompanied by edema (swelling with water retention). It can also include the urethra, a situation in which the urination is painful, accompanied by burning and urethral discharges. The discomfort is so big that the infected person isn`t able to urinate anymore (dysuria). The lesions may extend around the genital area and can include the anus (especially if anal sex is practiced), buttocks and groin. There are also changes in the vaginal discharges which most of the times become more watery and lose their capacity of lubrication.
9. Allergies and Irritation at Tampons
There are a lot of women who are sensitive when utilizing tampons because these produce them allergies or irritation of the vaginal mucosa which manifest themselves by local pain during sexual contact or when introducing, removing the tampon, with changes of the vaginal discharge which becomes yellowish, more abundant, accompanied by itching, burning, bard odor, and which becomes more purulent when it develops with an infection. These types of reactions are extremely dangerous because in a short time on a specific immune fond can lead to toxic shock syndrome which in most cases ends in death.
10. Cancers from the Genital Area
Cervical or uterine cancer affects other genital organs (for example ovaries) determines pretty important hormonal and body changes, among which vaginal discharge is included as well. Changes in the discharges can be the most frequent depending on the type of cancer, the organism`s reaction and the evolutionary stage, etc. That`s why to avoid talking about these sad cases is recommended to do an annual Pap test and an analysis of discharges as it doesn`t take much time, it isn`t expensive, but can provide the safety of your health, and why not talk frankly, even life.
Monitoring vaginal discharges, rigorous intimate hygiene, a careful choosing of sexual partners as well as making annual general and genital consultation will ensure a good health which is so important for you and your family.
Which is the Cause for a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Maybe you already know that this disease is determined by a microorganism known as fungus. There are several types of fungi which cause Candidiasis, all of them being frequently encountered in the environment around us.
You should know from the start that there aren`t clear evidence that this disease can be transmitted sexually, and both partners are treated only if they show the symptoms.
You probably already heard that the microorganisms of the Candida type are usually found in our organism, especially in our intestines, which acts as a reservoir. In some conditions, the fungus is transmitted to the vagina and vulva.
Candida and the microorganisms that normally live in the vagina form a mutual balance. However, when the vagina has certain favorable conditions, the number of fungus increases, leading to an infection, which eventually may lead to a severe form of infection.
Factors that favor the vaginal yeast infection:
- Antibiotics used in excess;
How Does this Infection Manifest?
If you have Candidiasis, you`ll notice a thick white discharge, creamy or yellow, with a cheesy consistency. Along with these discharges, you can experience itching, discomfort and redness at the vulva.
Most of the times this infection appear suddenly, without an obvious cause, but other times it can appear due to treatment of antibiotics. Thus, along with the symptoms of yeast infection, you could also experience symptoms of the infection for which you take antibiotics.
Even if you are a shy person, you need to contact your gynecologist to find out if you have this disease or other severe disease. He`ll make you a pelvic exam where he`ll find out if you have a swollen skin at your vulva and vaginal mucosa.
The doctor will take a small sample of vaginal discharge to examine it under the microscope. He may also take samples or urine and blood for him to exclude other causes which offer the same symptoms.
How to Treat this Infection?
A lot of women place the diagnosis of Candidiasis themselves and buy the treatment from the pharmacy for this disease. It`s useful to know that bacterial vaginosis is often confused with candidiasis vulvovaginal when treated differently.
If the doctor tells you that you are experiencing Candidiasis, your treatment will include 1 or 2 tables of antifungal per day. Also, you`ll have to follow a few guidelines of hygiene:
- Avoid washing yourself with soap or regular shower gel in intimate areas of your body;
- Don`t wear tight underwear or made from synthetic materials;
- You can insert in your vagina tampons soaked with yogurt ferments if it`s itching you badly;
- You can also use eggs antifungal eggs to treat this disease. You need to insert them in your vagina as much as possible, during the evening, and to avoid sexual contact until the next morning.