It’s perfectly normal to have a vaginal discharge, but the volume and consistency is not the same for every woman. Vaginal discharge is a mix of cells and fluid from the vagina, cervix, or uterus and helps keep the vagina clean and healthy. However, certain types of discharge are abnormal and considered chronic.
Vaginal Discharge – What’s Normal?
When the vagina is healthy, the vaginal discharge typically has a watery consistency and varies in color from clear to milky white. Normal vaginal discharge has a subtle odor that is not strong or unpleasant.
The volume, color, and consistency of the vaginal discharge vary between individuals. Some women have vaginal discharge every day, while others experience it intermittently but especially at ovulation.
Normal vaginal discharge differs for every woman. There are also times when the vaginal discharge may change, e. g. during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
Is Chronic Vaginal Discharge Normal?
Chronic vaginal discharge is not normal if it occurs with changes in the color, consistency, odor, or texture of the normal vaginal discharge, or associated with vaginal itching, burning, soreness, unusual odor, and irritation.
Chronic vaginal discharge usually has a sticky creamy consistency and a yellowish-green or yellowish-white color.
What Causes Chronic Vaginal Discharge?
A chronic vaginal discharge could indicate an underlying health issue such as a sexually transmitted infection, so patients should check with their doctor for a diagnosis. In cases where a serious cause has been ruled out, chronic vaginal discharge may be caused by an altered vaginal microflora pattern.
An altered vaginal microflora pattern occurs when there is a disruption in the normal flora. The normal vaginal ecosystem is dominated by friendly bacteria known as lactobacilli. However, when there is a shift in the bacterial milieu it causes the ‘bad’ bacteria to overpopulate the vagina. This change can lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms, including chronic vaginal discharge.
The symptoms occur because the change in the vaginal microflora alters the composition of the vaginal fluid, so it irritates the vestibular tissues.
Can Chronic Vaginal Discharge Be Treated?
Chronic vaginal discharge caused by an altered vaginal microflora is treated by correcting the imbalance in the vaginal microbiome. Treating the symptoms and not targeting the underlying cause will only provide temporary relief.
At Fowler GYN International (FGI), they use the groundbreaking Vaginal Fluid Analysis (VFA) test to detect the presence of an altered vaginal microflora pattern. The VFA test was developed by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler, a board-certified gynecologist.
The VFA test verifies the health of the vagina by giving a quantitative analysis of the vaginal constituents.
FGI treats altered vaginal microflora with vaginal rejuvenate therapy. This is a customized treatment protocol that is designed to move the vaginal microflora pattern towards normal. Vaginal rejuvenate therapy combines medications and hypocontactant skincare products. The medications included in the treatment protocol are dependent on the results of the VFA test.
Hypocontactant skincare products are recommended for women with chronic vaginal discharge as they usually have sensitive external genital tissues. These products do not contain fragrances, dyes, or chemicals that can irritate the vaginal tissues and disrupt the normal microflora balance.
Patients on the treatment protocol may experience some improvement in symptoms after about 4 months, but it can take anywhere from 8-12 months to get a significant response.