What is vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a white or clear mucus from the vagina. It is produced naturally by the body and the amount of discharge can change throughout your monthly cycle.
Increases in, or changes in the nature of, vaginal discharge can be quite common over the course of a woman’s life. However if you are at all concerned, it is always wise to make an appointment to see your GP or a gynaecologist.
Usually a routine internal examination is all that is required and a swab taken to confirm the diagnosis. There are various common infections, such as thrush, that may be the cause and which can be very easily treated.
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Typical causes of vaginal discharge
Common causes for discharge include candida (thrush) and bacterial vaginosis (BV) and these simple common infections can be treated without difficulty. Usually a pelvic examination is required and a swab is taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Other less common causes of vaginal discharge include gardnerella, some other infections or indeed some non-infectious causes.
Sometimes a small area can develop on the surface of the cervix which weeps a little and this allows more discharge to form and is sometimes associated with some vaginal spotting or bleeding after intercourse. This is called an ectropion of the cervix and can be simply treated with cautery to the cervix if required.
Sometimes a small benign polyp can occur on the cervix or from the lining of the womb and again this can produce discharge. These conditions can be diagnosed via gynaecological examination and appropriate treatment offered.
Treatment for vaginal discharge
Many patients become concerned that their vaginal discharge has increased or changed in some way and look for help from their gynaecologist to diagnose and treat the problem.
If discharge is blood stained then this will merit further investigation, perhaps with ultrasound and/or hysteroscopy to look for causes of the discharge and to allow appropriate treatment.