We’re not too fond of taboo subjects around here when it comes to women’s health. You shouldn’t have to whisper your questions, or feel any shame at all when it comes to things like vaginal discharge.
Like today’s topic, which is yeast infection discharge. Maybe not the most glamorous thing in the world, but important to know about none the less. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it.
What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is fluid secreted by glands located in the vagina and vulva. It might seem like an annoyance sometimes but it has an important purpose. It’s meant to help with keeping the vagina clean. It also helps protect the vagina from infection and provides natural lubrication for sexual intercourse.
Normal vaginal discharge can vary depending on the woman, but it is typically clear, white, or pale yellow. Throughout the month it can change consistency based on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. This includes thick, thin, stringy, or elastic.
Stress levels, pregnancy, nutrition, breastfeeding, and some types of medication can all impact vaginal discharge. The amount of vaginal discharge can vary too. You might notice an increase when aroused or before ovulation for example.
When healthy, vaginal discharge should not have a noticeable odor. A faint smell is usually fine, but anything beyond that should get checked out by a doctor right away.
How Do I Know If My Vaginal Discharge Is An Infection?
Now that you have a better understanding of what is considered normal vaginal discharge, let’s talk about how a yeast infection might present itself.
One of the most telltale signs of a yeast infection is a vaginal discharge that can be described as thick and white with the consistency of cottage cheese. You may notice a yeasty smell or something more pungent.
A noticeable, pungent vaginal odor is a sign that you are dealing with a more complicated vaginal infection. A yeasty smell is likely related to a yeast infection.
Besides abnormal vaginal discharge, you might notice symptoms like itching, burning, redness, and irritation. Most women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection throughout their lifetime. It’s also not uncommon to experience multiple infections.
Women who experience four or more vaginal yeast infections in a year have a condition called recurrent yeast infection. This often requires treatment from a doctor to get rid of it for good.
What’s The Difference Between BV And A Yeast Infection?
Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infections are the most common vaginal infections affecting women worldwide. Both conditions are caused by an imbalance within the vagina but yeast infections are caused by a type of yeast called Candida Albicans. Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria.
Both conditions can cause uncomfortable symptoms like burning and irritation but there are some differences that set them apart.
Bacterial Vaginosis can cause thin, watery white or grey vaginal discharge with a noticeable odor. The odor is sometimes described as “fishy.”
Yeast infection symptoms can include discharges that are odorless with thick, white “cottage-cheese”-like texture. Even with these differences, if you have never experienced a vaginal infection before, it can be difficult to tell them apart. That’s why it’s important to schedule an exam with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis before getting the right treatment.
Your doctor will be able to identify exactly what’s going on, and then you’ll have a baseline set in case it happens again. You’ll also be able to rule out anything more serious.
Once you are comfortable identifying your own vaginal infection, yeast infections can be treated at home using OTC treatments.
Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated at home with options like boric acid suppositories. If those don’t work or you want a different option, it can also be treated with antibiotics.
Final Thoughts About Vaginal Discharge
There are a number of different types of vaginal discharge that can affect you in different ways, for different reasons. Understanding how to decipher your health, and knowing when to seek professional treatments is a valuable set of life skills.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.