How many times have you ignored a bump or itch on your vagina?
Do you know what is the normal appearance of vaginal discharge?
The vagina is not a well-taught human organ in schools. As a result, most women go through their lives without thinking too much about it. But sexual wellness is as important as your heart health or kidney. Typically, you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning the vagina because it is self-cleansing. But if you have been disturbing its natural pH balance with soap or scented cleansers, it may have become vulnerable to infections. In that case, you need to know about signs of vagina diseases. Fortunately, it’s very easy to recognise these signs. Here are the most common signs of vaginal diseases.
You may have noticed that your vagina is never odourless. It has a mild yet musky scent which varies from person to person. A metallic smell after periods is also normal because it caused by the iron in your blood. If you notice a smell that reminds you of tangy or fermented foods, that is also normal because the pH balance of your vagina is on the acidic side. It makes the friendly bacteria living there comfortable.
It is the more artificial scents that you need to worry about. If you ever notice a chemical-like scent, one that reminds you of a bathroom cleaner, you have reason to be worried. Sometimes urine buildup in the underwear or vulva can cause this smell. A pungent smell like smoked herbs is the result of excessive sweating. You can clean the vagina and nearby areas with water to prevent infection and rashes. A fishy or rotten smell emanating from the vagina is the worst-case scenario. It could be due to a bacterial infection or trichomoniasis (an STD). It can be treated with antibiotics. Foul smells are the most common signs of vaginal diseases.
Normal vaginal discharge is your body's way of cleaning the vagina. It can also tell you if there is something wrong going down there. You need to know what normal vaginal discharge looks like to identify the signs of vaginal diseases. It will look clear and watery. If the discharge is a bit stretchy like mucous, don't worry. It is a sign that you are ovulating. However, if the appearance of the discharge changes from clear to white, it may be a sign of a yeast infection. If the discharge is accompanied by itching, you should see a doctor.
You may have seen reddish or brownish vaginal discharge at times. During or right after your periods, it is completely normal. On other days, it could be indicating endometriosis, cervical cancer, fibroids, or abnormal growths. You can consult a doctor and undergo a pelvic exam or pap smear to rule out trouble. The worst kind of discharge that calls for immediate medical attention will appear yellow or green. It will be mostly thick, chunky and smell foul. It is the sign of an STD called trichomoniasis.
Inflammation in the vagina (also known as vaginitis) is a result of bacterial, yeast, or viral infection. However, sometimes, it is the result of a disturbance in the ecosystem of bacteria. Low estrogen levels can also cause swollen vulva. It may even be a reaction to chemicals in fabrics, creams, condoms, sanitary napkins or tampons, scented detergents, or lubes. Since you do not know what caused vaginitis, consult your gynaecologist. If goes untreated, it may lead to itching, pain, sores, or blisters.
Itching in the vaginal area may start as an embarrassing discomfort. But it can soon become painful. Most of the time, the reason behind vaginal itching is irritable substances or stress. But infections and STDs can also cause the same effect. In rare cases, the reason may end up being vulvar cancer too.
Vaginal itching is among the common signs of vaginal diseases like a yeast infection. It is a common problem that can be solved with antibiotics. You may also see lumpy discharge with it. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) caused by the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina also lead to itching accompanied by a foul-smelling, foamy discharge.
STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and trichomoniasis can also cause the same symptoms. If you have had unprotected sex in recent times, vaginal itching should be discussed with your gynaecologist.
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Pain and burning sensation during urination can be a result of inflammation in the vagina. A urinary tract infection also has the same effect because the perineum (the area between anus and opening of the vagina) will be infected. However, the possibility of STDs cannot be ruled out. If you suspect coming in contact with sexually transmitted diseases, you should be on the course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Painful sex can be the result of any discomfort in labial, vaginal, vulvar, or pelvic areas. It is one of the most noticeable signs of vaginal diseases. It could be a sharp pain or a deep pain. Women going through menopause may experience pain due to dryness and thinning of vaginal walls. This can be solved to an extent by lubrication. However, other possibilities like STDs, infections, injuries, or skin diseases need medical attention. The deep pain may even lead to muscle spasms, pelvic cramps, and muscle tightness. Sometimes, you may even see spotting or abnormal discharge after painful sex. Thinking that it will go away on its own is a mistake.
Unless you are on your periods or pregnant, spotting is not normal. Vaginal bleeding is a sign that it is infected. It is less common signs of vaginal diseases. STDs will almost always cause bleeding or spotting. It will be preceded by genital sores, ulcers, itchiness, fever, abnormal discharge. However, sometimes, yeast infection also causes bleeding. A weak immune system, poor eating habits, stress, and lack of sleep are common causes of vaginal yeast infection. Bleeding caused by vaginitis will be light. It is due to tears or cracks in the vaginal tissue. Bleeding due to STDs will be recurrent.