Vaginal discharge is perfectly normal – most of the time. Expert gynaecologist Dr. Fevzi Shakir explains which types of discharge are fine and those that need a doctor’s opinion
Vaginal discharge – the subject that is never spoken about but is actually completely normal, most of the time.
Firstly, it’s important to note that discharge is necessary to keep the vagina clean and healthy.
Normal discharge is usually clear or white and depending on the time of your menstrual cycle it also be thick and sticky, especially at the time of ovulation or when an egg has been released.
However, if you have other forms of vaginal discharge this could be a sign of infection.
Signs of abnormal discharge
- Unpleasant odour
- Yellow or green colour
- Frothy texture
- Blood within the discharge (associated pelvic pain) – if it is coloured a shade of pink, there will be blood in it.
- White and cottage cheese-like (this type of discharge is common with thrush).
If any of these are present, visiting your GP, gyneacologist or a sexual health clinic will help to get you treated quickly.
Some of the infections that we would look as doctors are things like chlamydia and gonorrhoea which usually require antibiotics and/or pessaries (tablets placed in the vagina).
What never to ignore
Any of the signs listed above should be looked at by your doctor and possibly a specialist, if your GP thinks it’s warranted.
However, bloody or pink discharge in older women who are menopausal requires a more urgent investigation to ensure there is no abnormalities in the lining of the womb as this can be an early sign of cancer. This is why it absolutely must be reported immediately.
If thrush seems to be the issue, it is important that women wash the vaginal area using water or plain soap only as the use of perfumed products, deodorants or douching can exacerbate the problem and in some cases cause it.
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Mr Fevzi Shakir is a Consultant Gynaecologist specialising in Advanced Minimally Invasive Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery.
He has completed a 2 year Senior Clinical Research Fellowship in Advanced Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery, based at the Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit (MATTU) in Guildford.
In 2014 he was elected as a council member in charge of the trainee portfolio for the British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) and re elected in 2016.
He has founded a trainee group as part of the BSGE called RIGS (Registrars in Gynaecological Surgery) aiming to improve training and resources.
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