White discharge is a common issue among women. It can be cured if not taken as a taboo and treated properly. Guwahati-based gynecologist Dr. Saurav Kumar Das in an exclusive conversation with Fit Northeast spoke on different aspects of the problem of white discharge and has given some tips to keep the problem at bay.
Fit Northeast: What is white discharge?
Dr Das: In simple words, white discharge is nothing but excessive vaginal discharge. During the reproductive age group, as the woman is ready to have physical relations, nature secretes some juicy substance inside the vagina, so that the lubrication can be done. This lubrication prevents wear and tear of the vagina during the physical relation. If this secretion secreted by the cervix is more and comes out of the vagina, that is called white discharge or leucorrhoea.
Fit Northeast: Can white discharge be accompanied with abdominal pain or cramps?
Dr Das: Yes, of course. There may be chances of having stomach cramps. If you go for the cause, there is a cause of uterus and pelvic inflammatory disease. If the pelvic inflammatory disease occurs, then it may go towards the tubes, which is known as Salpingitis. During the white discharge, when the discharge is more, then the woman may suffer from white discharge.
Fit Northeast: Why is it important to visit the doctor after having a white discharge?
Dr Das: It is actually very important to visit a doctor but before that one has to know why the white discharge occurs? It is not always due to a disease. It is also physiological. It is the doctor's duty to find out whether it is due to physiology or pathology. Physiology means which is natural. A white discharge can occur in many physiological ways where there is no disease, where it happens before and after menstruation. If a woman menstruates on the 1st of every month, then if she gets white discharge on the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, then it is not a disease, it is physiological.
During pregnancy, it is a natural one. If a girl child is born, within the first 6 months there is white discharge, this is not pathological. It is physiological.
If it is pathological, the doctor has to find the cause and start treatment.
When there is a physiological reason, there are many things a doctor has to do. It is important for us to understand and realize that one cannot dry the secretions of the vagina during the time of reproductive age. The vaginal secretion increases before and after the menstrual cycle due to some hormonal changes.
If the cause is physiological, the doctor has to give a proper time to the woman and her family, to decrease their anxiety.
These days white discharge is a very common problem among women and girls. It is mostly ignored in most of cases. So in order to make our readers aware of white discharge,Fit Northeast: Can frequent discharges indicate the presence of any tumor in the ovary/uterus?
Dr Das: There are chances that it can happen. Usually, the ovarian relation with white discharge is less. The vagina has got an opening of the lower portion of the uterus known as the cervix. The vagina is connected with the cervix and the uterine endometrial. So any problem in the uterus or cervix or vagina can cause white discharge. If it is related to pelvic inflammatory diseases, there may be white discharge, even in ovarian diseases also.
Fit Northeast: Can there be any test done if the discharge happens too frequently?
Dr Das: There are lots of tests a gynecologist may prescribe if he thinks that there are pathological reasons underlying. They usually do blood tests and ultrasonography to detect the presence of any endometrial pathology of cervical pathology. Then if the doctor wishes, they can go for a speculum test to find out any cause inside the vagina or cervix. There is another test, which is swab test to detect the presence of bacteria and fungus.
Fit Northeast: What are the common causes of white discharge?
Dr Das: The physiological causes, which are due to ignorance are the most common cause. Some people can be treated only through counseling. Usually the vaginal infection is the main cause, which may be due to
Bacterial infection or due to fungal infection or due to anaerobic infections. In some rare cases, there might be viral infections.
Fit Northeast: What medications are given to treat it?
Dr Das: If the cause is physiological, then simply counselling is enough. If it is pathological due to some infection, then we have to find out the cause. If it is bacterial, then anti-biotic, if the reason is fungal, then an anti-fungal. If there is cervical erosion, there is another treatment called cautery. If there is some polyps hanging from the wall of the cervix, we have cut it.
Fit Northeast: Is there any alternative colour of the white discharge (like mild pink).
Dr Das: The physiological white discharge is a clear mucoidal, slippery type of fluid and tends to make the whole area moist and the stain of the cloth will either be light yellowish or light brownish or a mixture of these two. But in the case of some other type of infection, it might become curd-like. Or it may be pinkish if it is associated with blood.