Thursday, March 19, 2009

All Wet

One of the most common concerns I hear from patients is about their vaginal discharge. "I have an infection…I’m too wet…I’m too dry…I’m dripping all the time…" Some women come into my office multiple times a year because they’ve noticed a change in their secretions. But vaginal discharge is a good thing--it's actually a sign of a healthy, working vagina.

What vaginal discharge means:
  • Your vagina is keeping herself clean, just like when your skin sheds cells all day long
  • Your vagina is keeping herself lubricated, so she doesn't stick to herself (ouch)
  • Your vagina is actually protecting herself from infection, by forming a slippery barrier between you and the outside world
What vaginal discharge doesn't (necessarily) mean:
  • You have an infection. I promise, most vaginal discharge is normal, especially when it changes throughout your cycle: from white and thick, to clear and stretchy, to downright watery.
  • You're not keeping yourself clean. Discharge has NOTHING to do with how often you wash or shower.
Okay, what discharge MIGHT mean:
  • You've developed a non-STD infection, like bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
  • You've caught an STD, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomonas.
  • You're pregnant.
  • You're on the birth control pill.
  • You're sexually aroused.
So what should you worry about? Changes such as color, consistency, amount, and/or smell of your vaginal secretions that are not like your normal monthly changes. Abnormal vaginal discharge may also come with itching, soreness, rash, a burning sensation when peeing, or pain. If you have any of these symptoms, see your gyno for an exam.

Do any of you have discharge worries?


lcapella said...

I took a round of Metrogel (GYN presc.) for my BV. Had my period after that and when that was finished the BV is back. Can I do another round of Metrogel (I have more left). I am 49 years old and have never had this prob. before. I have been on the ortho patch for 5 years (to slow endometriosis)and I have one small fibroid. I'd be interested in natural cures/diet change etc...

Dr. Kate said...

You CAN do another round of Metrogel - but if that doesn't work, I would see your GYN again to make sure it's not a different infection. BV can be difficult to get rid of, and she may suggest a weekly Metrogel dose for several months.