The human body is fascinating, and there is a reason for every function of its working. One such function is vaginal discharge, a whitish fluid that keeps the vagina clean and moist, and prevents infections. It contains lactobacilli, which is good bacteria, and is essential for it to be healthy.
If the balance of the bacteria is disturbed, or there is excessive growth of yeast or bad bacteria, it may lead to infections. This is sometimes caused by a health condition or a reaction to medicines that might irritate the vulva or vagina.
During or after the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and while breastfeeding, this discharge pattern may be different for different women. A healthy person has a creamish or whitish discharge which does not smell too strongly.
It is normal to have discharge during pregnancy, which is whitish or clear, and does not have a bad odour. It might be more than normal, but is not a cause for concern.
Whether one is pregnant or not, abnormal discharge needs to be addressed by a doctor, as it may be an indicator of an infection. Make an appointment if:
- It is greenish, greyish or brownish in colour
- It has foul odour
- It is bloodstained
- It is too water or frothy
- It feels painful or itchy
Difference between ‘vaginal discharge’ and a ‘show’
When your baby is about to arrive, there is a specific type of discharge, known as a ‘show’.
When you conceive, a plug of mucus seals the opening of the cervix to prevent infections from entering. As the baby is ready to come, the cervix starts to dilate and this ‘plug’ comes off. It is sticky or jelly-like and called ‘show’, and may be pink or brown.
Difference between vaginal discharge and ‘Water-breaking’
The baby in the womb is in a sac surrounded by amniotic fluid, and when the sac opens to allow the baby to be born, the fluid gushes out from the vagina. It happens around the time of labour, and is called ‘water breaking’.
If you experience something similar, much before you are due, you should immediately call your doctor.
No matter what the situation, do not panic or get distressed. Immediately meet your doctor, and get a correct diagnosis.