Any female from age 11 – depending on the age of the first menstrual period – experiences vaginal discharge. Physicians say vaginal discharge is absolutely normal, as it is caused by the changing level of hormones in a female body. They submit that the discharge helps to keep the vagina healthy, and it continues until menopause, when a woman’s body can no longer produce much discharge. While the years when a woman is able to produce vaginal discharge lasts, the fluids help keep the pH balance of the vagina intact. Experts assure that being a natural lubricant, the discharge helps clean the vagina, keeping it free of germs.
Gynaecologist, Dr. Angela Abiodun, says normal vaginal fluids vary in consistency, as they might be thin and slightly sticky. “They also vary in colour. They can be clear, cloudy, bloody,
She notes that the amount of discharge can also vary, depending on a woman’s menstrual cycle. Gynaecologists say, for instance, that vaginal discharge tends to be a bit heavier around the time a woman ovulates, when the body is actually getting ready for possible conception.
Your diet and discharge
Just like every aspect of life, what you eat affects the quantity and quality of your vaginal discharge. Scientists at the Oregon State University say foods such as coffee, onions, garlic and strong spices might change your vaginal odour. They advocate eating of more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They also advise that excessive meat, dairy and alcohol consumption might affect your vaginal scent. A General Practitioner, Dr. Soga Onibiyo, notes that some women keep assorted range of feminine products such as special soaps and creams that supposedly make the vagina to smell fine. He warns that the products are absolutely unnecessary and that it is rather advisable to allow the vagina to smell like… well, the vagina! “While you may not be able to avoid antibiotics when prescribed by the doctor, you have no business with douching or using scented feminine products. This is because they are simply bad for your body,” Onibiyo counsels.
When you’re at risk
However, despite the positive function that vaginal discharge has for the female body, Abiodun says there are reasons to be careful because normal vaginal discharge should have a slight odour and should never cause itching or burning. Physicians say a lot of things can impact the health of the vagina. For instance, Onibiyo says a woman should be careful when a condom breaks of during sexual intercourse, because having a broken condom trapped in there, or forgetting to change the tampon as at when due, could lead to infection that will, in turn, make the vagina to discharge offensive fluids. He warns that by the time a woman experiences problems such as itching, a strong odour, or a change in colour (such as brown, gray, or green), she should not hesitate to see the doctor because it might be an indication that she has vaginal infection.
If you experience copious vaginal discharge, you may need to see the doctor to get assurance that all is well. You may also use baby wipes to take care of excess discharge. Experts advise you use unscented wipes. Some adults are careless with the way they use underwear. However, for the sake of your vagina, please change your underwear! And if you experience copious, harmless discharge, you may have to change your panties a few times a day, if only to keep bacteria away from your vagina, reduce discomfort and the smell.
Again, use full cotton underwear, instead of going for those nylon panties that heat up your bum.
In addition, Abiodun counsels you to get as much air exposure as possible. “Sleep naked; and if possible, when you are at home in the daytime, don’t wear pants. Getting aerated around that region has a way of calming down things and restoring its pH balance,” Abiodun concludes.