Normal vaginal discharge

Topic: Normal vaginal discharge vs. Abnormal discharge

The vagina is a complicated and dynamic ecosystem. It contains a lot of bacteria and moisture, and it’s sensitive to internal and external changes. Fluids made by glands in the cervix and vaginal opening and fluid made by vaginal walls carry away dead cells and bacteria to help keep the vagina clean. This fluid is called vaginal discharge.

Everyone’s body makes a different amount of discharge. Exercise, birth control pills, and stress can all cause changes in discharge too.

You may occasionally notice a change in the colour, amount, or odour of your vaginal discharge. Does this mean you have an infection? Not necessarily. There are lots of types of vaginal discharge. Some are normal, and others may indicate a problem.

How to check your vaginal discharge

Paying attention to your vaginal discharge is an important part of your health. Being familiar with your normal discharge — and its normal fluctuations — can help you detect abnormal vaginal discharge earlier and start treatment sooner.

Here are three ways to check your vaginal discharge:

Before you pee, wipe the opening of your vagina with white toilet paper. Check the colour, odour, and consistency.

Take a look at the colour and texture of the vaginal discharge on your underwear.

Sit on the toilet, squat, or stand with one foot up on the toilet seat or bathtub. Insert one or two clean fingers into your vagina. Check the colour and texture of the discharge on your fingers.

To best check, the texture and consistency of the discharge, rub it and pull it between your thumb and index finger. Press your fingers together and slowly move them apart.

It might be helpful to write down everything about your daily discharge on a chart (or you can track it in an app like Flo). What’s the colour and consistency? How does it smell? Keep in mind that some medication may change your cervical fluids.

Being familiar with your discharge can help you spot problems early. Regular pelvic exams are also important.

Topic Discussed: Normal vaginal discharge vs. Abnormal discharge

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