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Gynecology

Vaginal Discharges

Genital discharge, which begins with the onset of puberty and is experienced several times a year for almost a lifetime, is a natural discharge under the influence of hormones. Many women use daily pads so that their underwear does not become dirty due to these currents and they do not allow the currents to adversely affect their lives. There is no need to worry because of the odorless, colorless, small amounts of currents that do not give an unusual feeling of wetness. However, stinking, dark brown, green, yellow colored currents that cause an uncomfortable wetness in the laundry, and often experienced dark consistency may be a sign of a disorder. Since these currents cause severe itching and burning sensation, a gynecologist should be consulted immediately. Because bloody currents can mean uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers and require consulting a doctor as soon as possible.

Which kind of discharges are considered as harmless?
It is thought that small amounts of colorless, odorless discharge that every woman experiences every few months is not a symptom of any health problem, but is caused by natural changes in hormone secretions. Because it does not last long and does not cause any discomfort, it passes by itself. However, in some cases it does not disappear in a short time and continues at the same intensity for about a year. No problem can be detected in the tests, analyzes and examinations. It is known that these discharges, which increase in amount especially during the ovulation period of the woman and wet the underwear and daily pad very often, help the ovulation process. The wet and slippery structure of the cervix and the entire genital area during this period helps the sperm meet the egg more easily and facilitates fertilization. When the menstrual period approaches and during pregnancy, such structural changes in vaginal discharge are considered normal, and after these processes pass, the discharge returns to its normal course.

Which kind of discharges are considered as the symptom of a health problem?
When a problem such as an infection or inflammation occurs in the vagina, uterus or cervix, the woman's vaginal discharge becomes dark colored (brown, yellow, green), intense thiickness and foul smell. However, a woman who experiences excessive itching and irritation in the genital area, burning sensation, pain and burning during sexual intercourse needs to see a gynecologist. In the later stages of these symptoms, groin and abdominal pain and swelling in the genital area also occur. These complaints are caused by unusual formations in either the vagina or the uterus.
So much so that; fungus, inflammation, infection, microbe, a harmful bacteria occuring in the vagina can cause this discharge, itching and burning complaints. If it is in the cervix; diseases or viruses transmitted during sexual intercourse, deformation in the area, wound, cancer, polyps or an infection caused by the thread of the spiral used for birth control, can cause an abnormal discharge.

Which kind of discharges are considered to carry the risk of cancer?
If there is a blood-like discharge and severe pain is felt in the lower abdomen, a cancer formation in the ovarian canals can be mentioned. However, if bleeding occurs outside of the menstrual period or after menopause, uterine cancer may be suspected. If there is bleeding, foul-smelling bloody discharge during or after sexual intercourse, a doctor should be consulted with the suspicion of cervical cancer. Based on all these, it is useful to underline that; if the vaginal discharge is bloody or smelly, the situation is considered as serious.

How is vaginal discharge diagnosed and treated?
When a doctor is consulted with the complaint of an abnormal vaginal discharge, the factor causing the problem is easily revealed by vaginal culture or smear test. The reason is determined with the microscopic examination applied to the sample. Then, treatment is applied to eliminate the factor that causes this discomfort. Accordingly, any pain reliever or antibiotic type of medication should not be used except for the doctor's information and advice.
In order to reduce or prevent vaginal discharge, it is recommended to choose cotton clothes that do not tighten the body instead of tight nylon underwear, and to not keep the vagina wet and dirty. In addition, not using perfumed, scented pads, tampons, condoms, and avoiding genital sprays other than the doctor's recommendation will prevent discharge. In addition to all these, it is important not to change sexual partners frequently, not to have intercourse with people with unknown sexual history, and to be careful about the use of condoms.

  • Op.Dr. Zeynep Taşargöl
    Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist

    You can send me your questions and comments about Vaginal Discharges via this field. The answers provided are advisory. You need to be examined by your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.