Many women have questions about their bodies they have never felt confident asking. You may have wondered about your vaginal discharge and whether it looks or smells like you think it should. The good news is that healthy vaginas produce normal vaginal secretions. If your vaginal health changes, you may see it in your vaginal discharge.
What is Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is the fluid released from the vagina throughout the day. This normal process occurs as the vagina keeps itself healthy and clean. Your vaginal discharge has an acidic pH due to the lactobacilli in your vagina. Dr. Fowler at Fowler GYN International can determine whether your vaginal discharge shows signs of an imbalance.
Is My Vaginal Discharge Normal?
Each woman has a different definition of “normal” vaginal discharge. Secretions with a smooth texture, no color, and no strong odor indicate healthy vaginal conditions, but this is not always the case. Your discharge will often change throughout your menstrual cycle or with other hormonal changes. Your vaginal discharge may need attention if you notice a significant change in what is normal for you, including an unusual odor, color, or discomfort in the vulvovaginal area.
What Causes Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
Your vaginal discharge can change in many ways that share an underlying cause. Altered vaginal microflora (AVMF) occurs when the healthy population of lactobacilli in your vagina becomes disrupted. Without these bacteria to maintain the correct pH, yeasts and other microorganisms can thrive. Overgrowth of these problematic vaginal inhabitants can result in secretions with an unpleasant odor or a significant change in appearance.
How is Abnormal Vaginal Discharge Treated?
The first step in treating abnormal vaginal discharge is determining the cause. Dr. Fowler uses a Vaginal Fluid Analysis to gain an understanding of the conditions in your vagina. Important factors he will look for include:
- The quality and quantity of squamous cells that feed the lactobacilli
- The number of lactobacilli you have
- Whether you have an excessive population of yeasts or other microorganisms
- The pH of your vagina
- The presence of white blood cells indicates an inflammatory response
These factors can combine to turn your vaginal discharge into an irritant that traumatizes the tissues of your vagina and vulva.
Dr. Fowler treats AVMF with treatment protocols that address different causes of your vaginal changes. These treatments restore a healthy vaginal population of lactobacilli that suppress unwelcome microorganisms and maintain normal vaginal discharge.
Should I See a Vulvovaginal Doctor about My Vaginal Discharge?
You should not struggle needlessly with vaginal discharge if it concerns you. Dr. Fowler can determine with one test whether your vaginal microflora is healthy. If your vaginal secretions do not have a strong color or odor, you may not feel concerned, but itching and burning can also be a sign that your vaginal discharge has become an irritant.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ specialize in the treatment of vulvovaginal conditions. The team at FGI is led by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler. Dr. Fowler is an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board-certified gynecologist.
You can reach FGI at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.