White vaginal discharge is the appearance of a thick white discharge from the genital slit. Often there is a secret with a sour smell. The symptom is often accompanied by intense itching and discomfort in the perineum, pain during sexual intercourse. The appearance of whites can be provoked by natural causes, white discharge is also a sign of a fungal lesion of the vagina, dysbiosis. To identify pathological conditions that cause white discharge, an examination with mirrors, ultrasound of the pelvic organs, laboratory tests are performed. To eliminate the symptom, therapy of the underlying disease is carried out.
Causes of white vaginal discharge
The appearance of secretions from the genital tract (whites) is caused by the secretion of glands located in the vestibule of the vagina, the cervix. They produce a small amount of transparent mucus without a specific smell, but under the influence of sex hormones, the color and consistency of the secret change — it becomes light milky, viscous. If such a discharge is constantly bothering or white discharge with a subjectively unpleasant odor occurs, it is necessary to seek medical help. The most common natural causes of whitish vaginal secretions:
- The second half of the menstrual cycle. A few days before the start of menstruation, scanty white thick odorless discharge, similar to glue, is noted. White discharge usually has a light milky color, less often a slight yellowish tint is noticeable.
- Sexual intercourse. To facilitate penetration into the vagina during sexual arousal, a large amount of viscous white mucus is produced. This secret has a specific aroma, which is not considered a sign of a painful condition.
- Pregnancy. After 12-13 weeks of gestation, changes occur in the mucosa of the reproductive organs, the epithelium is renewed, therefore white discharge is observed. The sour smell indicates the pathological causes of the symptom.
Vaginal candidiasis (thrush)
With vaginal candidiasis, women notice an abundant discharge of an inhomogeneous consistency with a sour smell, which looks like grains of cottage cheese. An increase in the amount of secretions is caused by sexual intercourse, water procedures. In a chronic process, patients complain of a meager curd discharge about a week before menstruation, with the onset of menstruation, white discharge stops. A combination of the symptom with redness of the skin of the labia majora and minora, perineal itching, pain, and pain when urinating is characteristic.
White discharge with a faint odor may indicate a lesion of the fallopian tubes and other parts of the reproductive system with Koch sticks. The discharge is sparse, thick, its appearance is not associated with the menstrual cycle. Most women have a longer interval between periods, young patients complain about the inability to get pregnant. White discharge in genital tuberculosis occurs against the background of non-intense pulling pains in the lower abdomen, subfebrile body temperature.
Complications of pharmacotherapy
A common cause of whitish discharge with an unpleasant odor is taking medications that reduce local immunity in the vagina (antibiotics, corticosteroids). Vaginal discharge appears 5-7 days after the start of antibacterial therapy. White discharge is combined with itching in the vagina and perineum, painful sexual intercourse. The pathological secret is associated with a violation of the vaginal flora and intensive reproduction of pathogenic microorganisms. The causes of whites in the treatment of glucocorticoids are immunosuppression and activation of opportunistic flora.
The presence of a woman’s abundant white secretions coming out of the vagina, especially with a noticeable sour smell, is an indication for visiting an obstetrician-gynecologist. Diagnostic search involves a comprehensive physical and instrumental examination of the genital tract to determine the cause that provoked the white discharge, as well as clarifying laboratory methods. The most informative are:
- Gynecological examination. The technique is aimed at studying the condition of the mucous membrane of the reproductive organs, during the examination, areas of hyperemia or destruction of the epithelium, a dense curd coating surrounded by an inflammatory border are determined. Examination in mirrors is necessarily complemented by a finger vaginal examination.
- Endoscopic methods. Detailed visualization of the epithelium of the cervical mucosa during colposcopy allows you to detect erosion and other suspicious changes. To clarify the cause of the discharge, it is necessary to conduct a Schiller test and an acetic test. With a possible lesion of the uterus, hysteroscopy is required.
- Sonography. Ultrasound of the pelvic organs is a standard non-invasive method that effectively detects signs of the inflammatory process of the uterus and appendages, volumetric neoplasms. In doubtful cases, diagnostic laparoscopy may be prescribed.
- Laboratory tests. As a screening, an analysis of the vaginal microflora and bacteriological seeding of secretions is recommended. When a curd is separated with an obvious acidic odor, the smear is examined under a microscope to detect candide. In case of a probable tuberculosis infection, specific tests are performed for mycobacteria.
A comprehensive gynecological examination includes determining the level of estrogen and progesterone in the blood on different days of the menstrual cycle. In case of difficulties in diagnosis, X—ray visualization of the internal organs of the reproductive system with contrast is performed – hysterosalpingography. According to the indications, consultations of other specialized specialists are appointed.
Help before diagnosis
A scanty, odorless white vaginal discharge is considered physiological and does not require drug therapy. Women need to carefully monitor hygiene, avoid hypothermia and wearing tight synthetic underwear. With abundant fetid white discharge, the patient should contact a gynecologist as soon as possible to find the cause of the symptom and select the optimal treatment. Before the diagnosis is verified, the use of any medications is undesirable.
Effective treatment of diseases accompanied by vaginal discharge includes medical methods and means of physiotherapy. To cleanse the genitals and relieve inflammation, baths with decoctions of oak bark and chamomile are prescribed. Antihistamines are used to eliminate itching and swelling. Etiotropic and pathogenetic therapy is carried out with the use of such groups of drugs as:
- Antifungal agents. Medications in the form of vaginal suppositories allow you to quickly and effectively destroy the pathogens of mycotic infection. With extensive candida lesions, therapy is supplemented with systemic drugs.
- Antiseptics. Candles with chlorhexidine and drugs of similar action help to cleanse the vagina of pathogenic microorganisms. Douching with antiseptic solutions and herbal decoctions are prescribed.
- Lactobacillus. In order to influence the pathogenetic mechanisms of the appearance of secretions, special vaginal suppositories with beneficial bacteria are included in the treatment regimen. Candles are designed to restore microflora.
- Anti-tuberculosis drugs. In case of genital tract damage caused by Koch’s wand, specific etiotropic treatment is necessary. Antibacterial agents of several pharmaceutical groups are usually used.
In most cases, careful implementation of the recommendations of the attending physician allows you to quickly eliminate white vaginal discharge, treatment of genital tuberculosis is longer. In the future, to prevent the resumption of pathological secretion, it is important to take drugs with caution that violate the composition of the vaginal flora. It is necessary to take care of maintaining immunity — it is enough to rest, eat well, exclude stressful situations.