Most women don’t give their vaginal discharge much thought. It’s something that is always there. The consistency and amount might change from time to time, but as long as it feels normal there is no cause for worry.
The composition, (thickness, color and odor), of vaginal discharge varies from woman to woman. Usually, discharge has a whitish-clear to light-yellow color and the consistency is watery to thick. While the odor also differs, many women notice a slightly acidic smell.
Discharge can change during the menstrual cycle. The amount often increases during ovulation and shorty before your period. These changes in discharge are completely normal.
However, if you notice an abnormal change in your discharge this could be an indication of something more serious.
If your discharge changes to crumbly white, (similar to cottage-cheese), and you are experiencing itch, it could be a vaginal yeast infection. This is an infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast cells in your vagina.
Fortunately, this infection is fairly harmless, but nevertheless uncomfortable and can be treated with anti-yeast medication, (antimycotics), or self-care products that treat the infection and restore your natural vaginal flora (preventing recurrent infections).
Another change in discharge, that usually doesn’t go unnoticed, is a strong odor (almost fish-like). This could be an indication of an infection as it is one of the main symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your vagina. You recognize this infection by thin, grayish white discharge and the strong odor. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat bacterial vaginosis. As an alternative, you could choose self-care products, with natural ingredients, that treat the infection without any side effects.
A decrease in the amount of discharge can also cause problems. It is commonly associated with menopause but women of all ages can develop vaginal dryness. This can be quite uncomfortable as it is accompanied by other discomforts such as itching, burning, and pain during intercourse.
Most women use some form of lubricant to relieve the symptoms. There are many self-care products available that will increase the moisture levels; choosing a product with natural ingredients will prevent irritation and helps to restore the tissue.
After having unprotected sex, the discharge may also change as the acidic pH value of the vagina is temporarily increased by the alkaline sperm, which reduces the acidity of your vagina. Though this is not necessarily harmful to the vagina, it can increase the chance of developing bacterial vaginosis. If your discharge changes after unprotected sex, and you suspect it could be an STD, contact your doctor.