Under normal circumstances, the vagina is supposed to be moist; always. This is its way of telling you that, “hey! don’t touch me, I can clean myself”. However, normal vaginal discharge undergoes different changes at different stages of a woman’s life. And yes, even babies and prepubertal girls have this normal moisture. Parents should always pay attention to their children’s body so as to quickly detect any deviation from the norm.
This writeup is going to focus on the normal, basically. So, if you notice anything outside these, go and see your doctor asap!
Characteristics of normal vaginal discharge:
Colourless: clear, no debris, sometimes with a tinge of white.
Smooth: no curdiness (like cheese)
Odourless: once it stinks, it’s abnormal
Mucoid: sometimes stretchy or “drawing” (like okro)
Non-bloody: unless it’s menses or postpartum bleeding
Non-itchy: unless you wear a panty for 3 days!
Non-copious: if you have to use a pad, panty liner, or change your panties often, that’s copious!
Note that some variants can be expected during:
*Pre-ovulation: a bit larger volume, more mucoid, more stretchy.
*Sexual excitement: larger volume, more mucoid, enhances lubrication and pleasure.
*Pregnancy: Pregnancy is not a disease. The discharge can be more watery and milky (known as leucorrhea of pregnancy). This can sometimes be confused with breaking of the “bag of water”; see a doctor or midwife if you’re in doubt.
Abnormal discharge can be due to a wide range of causes and these should be investigated and treated promptly:
*Hormonal medications: contraceptives, HRT, etc.
*Pelvic inflammatory diseases
*Foreign bodies: tissue, cotton wool, guaze, tampons etc.
*Benign and malignant tumours of the genital tract such as cervical cancer.
*Atrophic vaginitis: especially postmenopausal