Vaginal Discharges


Vaginal discharge is one of the most common complaints a woman presents with. The reasons for vaginal discharges may be varied More so vaginal discharges may be a normal phenomenon but when it is profuse or it results in foul smell it may give a sign of infection.

The common causes of vaginal discharges are

1) Infections-bacterial, fungal, viral.
2) Medications- Antibiotics, steroids, oral contraception pills.
3) Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
4) Chemicals like certain douches, soaps, detergents and talcum powders.
5) Certain cancers like that of vulva, vagina and cervix, endocervix and endometrium.

The commonest of them are fungal vaginal infections which are caused by a yeast of Candida species and affects upto 3 of the 4 women in their lifetime. The mainstay treatment is vaginal and oral antifungals along with probiotics and maintaining personal hygiene and use of local low pH washes. The other common type of discharge is bacterial and is called as bacterial vaginosis and the treatment stays the same and instead of an antifungal, an antibiotic of nitroimidazole group is used.
However before starting any treatment for vaginal discharges it is important to find out the underlying cause of it as it is also associated with other major pelvic infections and certain variety of cancers.