Is vaginal discharge normal?
Vaginal discharge, or leucorrhea, is the clear or semi-opaque protein-like substance secreted to keep the vagina moist and healthy. It should be odorless. Many women find vaginal discharge annoying, but this is in fact normal.
The amount of vaginal discharge increases during pregnancy, before or after menstrual period or when subject to sexual stimulations.
Watch out for symptoms
The following are symptoms of vaginal infection. Consult the doctor promptly if you develop any of them.
Changes in vaginal discharge can also be caused by cervical cancer, cervical polyp or the use of tampons.
Common types of vaginal infection
1. Candidiasis (Moniliasis)
Causative agent: Candida, a type of yeast (fungus).
Characteristics: Candida is found in the natural world, particularly in moist and warm environments such as the oral cavity, digestive tract, skin and vagina.
Causes: Candida is a normal fungus living in vaginal. However, it causes problem if it is overgrowth. The following conditions make the vaginal environment favourable for candida to overgrowth and cause vaginal infection:
Candidiasis is usually not sexually transmitted. However, it sometimes causes the glan of the sexual partner to develop a rash or become inflamed. Medical treatment should be sought when this happens.
Thick white bean curd or cheese-like vaginal discharge,
Itchiness and redness around the genital area,
Burning sensation inside the vagina,
Painful intercourse, or
Burning sensation at the urethral opening and difficulty in urinating.
Causative agent: Trichomonas, a protozoa.
Characteristics: Trichomonas is a parasite of the urinary-reproductive tract.
Causes: It is mainly acquired through sexual contact.
Female may present with vulval itchiness, smelly and frothy yellowish vaginal discharges. Male usually do not have any symptoms, although occasionally they may have painful urination.
Oral medication is the mainstay treatment.
3. Abnormalities in vaginal discharge can also be caused by Gonorrhoea, Non-Specific Genital Infection, Trichomoniasis, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, other germs and even non-infected conditions.
Tips to prevent vaginal infection
Seek medical advice
Vaginal infection is not necessarily caused by sexually transmitted diseases. If in doubt,
People should seek medical advice as early as possible if they suspect to contract with sexually transmitted infections.
The social hygiene clinics of the Department of Health provide examination, treatment and counselling on sexually transmitted infections. Neither advanced booking nor doctor's referral letter is required. Information is kept confidential.