All women produce a small amount of vaginal discharge daily. It is not abnormal to have a small quantity of creamish or clearish vaginal discharge staining your underwear or your panty liners.

Just like everyone has a body odour predominantly from our armpits, a women’s vaginal discharge also has its own distinct odour. This odour is unique for each woman.

The point at which you should worry about your vaginal discharge is when it starts to smell pungent or it it looks remarkable different from your normal.

There have been many descriptions of what a foul discharge smells like. Some women call it fishy others says it smells like old rice.

Some other features that should raise red flags about your vaginal discharge are:

  • An increased quantity of discharge, soaking through panty liners

  • Thick curds or whitish clumps especially associated with itchiness

  • Brownish or blood tinged

  • Watery clear fluidy

  • Frothy or bubbly

  • Yellow- greenish

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If It Is Pungent And Foul Smelling Then It Could Be Due To:

Infection

  • Bacterial Vaginosis

    • most common infection is that from a bacteria called Gardnerella. This is known as Bacterial Vaginosis.

    • This is not exclusively sexually transmitted. It also occurs in women who are not sexually active. This is not an STD.

  • Fungal infection

    • some girls describe it as smelling like bread

  • Bacterial overgrowth

    • these can be common organisms found in the vagina

  • Foreign bodies

    • eg. tampons left behind in the vagina

  • STD infection

  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

    • the 2 forerunners of vaginal STDs , bacterial infections that are sexually transmitted

  • Trichosomonas

    • parasites that can be sexually transmitted. Causes a frothy fishy discharge

  • Mycoplasma Genitalium

    • very small free-living organism that can infect the vagina

Non-Infection

  • Fistulas

    • these are connecting tracts that develop between 2 different organs

      • for example – a fistula between the anus and the vagina or a fistula the bladder or urine tract and the vagina

An Actual Case Of Vesicovaginal Fistula That We Have Encountered:

Lady, 54 yrs old, comes in complaining of being diagnosed as having bacterial infection every month. Each time this lady was given antibiotics after antibiotics.

Examination of her vagina, yellowy watery fluid in good amounts pouring out of her vagina. Oddly enough this smelt a lot like urine.

A scan done confirmed she had a Vesicovaginal fistula which is an opening between the bladder and the vagina. She was pouring urine out of her vagina!

Another Similar Case Encounter:

Lady , 58 yrs old, almost monthly foul smelling discharge.

When the device inserted in to her vagina to take a look into the vaginal vault was opened, it was impossible to pull down the back wall of her vagina to look inside the vaginal canal. This raised concerns. The back wall of her vagina was so hard and firm it suggested there might be a growth or a cancerous tumour there that was discharging foul smelling material into her vagina.

An MRI scan was then done for her and it showed she had a colon cancer.

A Woman Should Always Be Empowered To Know How To Manage The Changes In Her Vaginal Discharge.

A vagina should always be acidic. It is darn difficult to keep the vagina constantly acidic between a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. It’s an organ through which bloods flows on a monthly basis and then there’s semen that enters during ejaculation and minitrauma to the vaginal walls during sex. Semen and menstrual blood are alkaline. They throw off the vagina’s acidity making it more likely for bacteria and fungus to grow.

So come on ladies, our vagina is one busy organ, we need to assist it to keep it in a steady state of acidity.

Some Tips:

  • Avoid ejaculation inside – unless of course you are trying to get pregnant

  • Do not flush water into your vagina – it damages the acidity

  • If you are prone to vaginal fungal infections, and if you have received antibiotics for an ongoing illness like a sore throat then be sure to inform your doctors of your tendency to flare up with a fungal infection. Antibiotic use can trigger a vaginal fungal infection. Ask for prevention in advance. It’s what we call Fungal Prophylaxis.

  • Always! Always question the possibility of an STD – chlamydia and gonorrhoea are nasty culprits. This is regardless of whether you are convinced you are in a monogamous relationship. You never know when you partner might have had an unexpected sexual encounter with someone other than you. These STDs can be simple to treat so don’t be complacent.

  • If you keep having abnormal discharge and each time it’s been brushed off by your doctor as a no big deal situation, find yourself a good doctor who will examine you thoroughly to ensure that there are no rarer abnormalities like fistulas, or tumours/fibroids of the uterus contributing to the excessive discharge.

  • Everyone has a small amount discharge – the discharge has an odour to it but an offensive odour and a change in the quality of your discharge should be brought to the attention of a doctor.

Our Female Doctors are ready to listen to your issues. Visit us at InSync Medical Located along East Coast Road in the heart of Katong, Singapore. We also open on Sundays to Serve you.

Book an appointment now.

Take charge of your sexual health today