White discharge, also known as vaginal discharge, usually refers to the mucus or fluid that comes out from the vagina. These are fluids produced by the glands within the vagina or cervix that helps in carrying away the dead cells and bacteria and thus helps in keeping the vagina clean and free from infections. The amount of white discharge may vary among women depending upon the time of menstruation and the hue of the discharge varies from clear to milky whitish. A certain amount of white discharge is absolutely normal for most females unless it occurs with strong odour, burning, itching and/or other troublesome sensations.
Abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied by vaginal irritation and other discomforts may arise due to infections or other reasons. Some of the reasons for abnormal white discharge include side effects of some antibiotic or steroid use, bacterial infections such as Bacterial vaginosis, side effects of birth control pills, cervical cancer, gonorrhoea or other sexually transmitted diseases, post-surgical pelvic infection, vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, trichomoniasis, Pelvic inflammatory disease, diabetes, hormonal problems and others.
The symptoms among individuals having problems associated with white discharge include constipation, pain in stomach, redness, pelvic pain, itching, bad odour in the vaginal discharge, burning sensation in the vaginal wall, etc. Female patients suffering from such discomforts need to consult a gynaecologist for medical help.
In a few cases, there is a possibility for diagnosis and immediate initiation of treatment, depending upon the examination. On the other hand, in some cases the doctor may recommend for delay of treatment until the results of the physical examinations are available. It should be remembered that white discharge is just a symptom and it may occur due to a variety of underlying causes. Hence the treatment for the underlying cause should be done in order to provide relief to such patients.
White discharge is usually a normal phenomenon among women, on a condition that, this discharge is not accompanied by other symptoms of irritation or discomfort. It is important to keep in mind that white discharge is just a symptom and it might take place due to a variety of underlying reasons. Hence the treatment for white discharge problems involves treating the underlying cause that has led to this problem.
For individuals having white discharge problems due to yeast infections, the treatment involves antifungal medications available in the form of cream or gel that is inserted into the vagina. Problems like Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotic pills and/or creams. Drugs like metronidazole or tinidazole are used to treat symptoms of white discharge where the underlying cause is trichomoniasis. Female individuals suffering from white discharge due to gonorrhoea can be treated with intra muscular injection of ceftriaxone or with oral cefixime. Azithromycin or doxycycline can be used orally if the underlying cause for the problem is due to Chlamydia.
In order to prevent problems of white discharge due to various vaginal infections, it is important to maintain certain tips of personal hygiene. These habits of personal hygiene involve regular washing of vagina with mild and gentle liquid soaps and warm water. Use of scented soaps, feminine products or douche, female sprays and/or bubble bath for washing the vagina should be avoided. After going to the toilet, it is a hygienic habit to use baby wipes from front to back, in order to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina and thereby leading to an infection. Female individuals should avoid wearing highly tight clothing. It is advisable to wear underpants made of 100% cotton as this can prevent skin irritations and decrease the chances of infection.
A certain amount of white discharge is absolutely normal for most females. The amount of white discharge may vary among women depending upon the time of menstruation and the hue of the discharge varies from clear to milky whitish. However, female individuals having abnormal vaginal discharge accompanied by discomforts such as constipation, pain in stomach, redness, pelvic pain, itching, bad odour in the vaginal discharge, burning sensation in the vaginal wall, etc. are eligible for treatment and should consult a gynaecologist as soon as possible.
It is absolutely normal for female individuals to have certain amount of white discharge. Female individuals who are having normal vaginal discharge and it is not accompanied by any symptoms of discomfort are not eligible for this treatment.
The treatment for problems of white discharge is more or less safe. However, some of the medicines used for this treatment can have side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, vaginal itching or rashes, bad taste in the patient’s mouth, constipation, diarrhoea and others.
It should be kept in mind that a certain amount of vaginal discharge is absolutely normal for females within the age range of 18 to 45. However, for female individuals who have suffered from the problems of abnormal white discharge, it is important to follow the instructions given by their doctor. The post treatment guidelines for the treatment of problems of white discharge include keeping an eye on any notable changes in the odour, colour and consistency of vaginal discharge of the individuals (in case of recurrence of the problem), maintenance of personal hygiene using mild soap and warm water to keep the vagina clean and free of infectious bacteria as well as avoiding the use of scented soaps, feminine sprays and/or douches. It is advisable to wear clean 100% cotton underpants daily and wearing of highly tight clothing should be avoided to decrease the chances of infection. Another healthy practice may involve wiping the vagina properly front to back using soft unscented baby wipes every time after visiting the bathroom, in order to prevent bacterial or yeast infection.
The problem of white discharge is just a symptom of some other underlying infection. It is important to identify and treat the underlying cause of this problem. It takes about 5 days to a week’s time to recover from problems of vaginal discharge if the cause is yeast infection. Vaginal discharge due to sexually transmitted disease generally responds to the medical treatment within a week. In other cases where the infection advances and reaches beyond the pelvic region and leads to pelvic inflammatory disease then the treatment might take longer than a week’s time for the problem to recover.
The price of treatment for problems of vaginal discharge vary in different parts of India. Generally the price of treatment for such problems ranges between Rs. 250 to Rs. 800, including the cost of consulting a gynaecologist. However, the price for treatment is found to be slightly higher in the metropolitan cities in comparison to the treatment available in other small towns and cities of India.
The problem of white discharge is just a symptom and it is caused due to different underlying causes. Most of the causes of white discharge are seen to respond within a few days or a week. However, hormonal treatment response in case of atrophic vaginitis can take even a few weeks’ time since it needs time for the vaginal layer to strengthen. If in case, the underlying cause is not fully cured, then there remains a chance for the problem of vaginal discharge to reoccur. It is important to consult a gynaecologist regarding the various remedial measures to prevent the reoccurrence of this problem.
The various alternative treatments for the problem of white discharge include consumption of natural ingredients like fenugreek seeds (one teaspoon of water soaked seeds mixed with honey and taken in an empty stomach in the morning), apple cider vinegar (two teaspoons mixed with water) and Indian gooseberry (one teaspoon of Indian gooseberry powder mixed with honey to form a thick paste and taking it in an empty stomach). These natural treatments should be continued for a week for notable results.