If you are beginning to notice changes to your vaginal discharge then chances are that something, in regards to your intimate bacteria, is off! The majority of reasons why your discharge might change, as a woman, are usually an indicator that your intimate bacteria is disrupted. It’s a chance that your body could be trying to tell you about a bacterial-related infection you might be in the early stages of; should your discharge change so abruptly or drastically. ‘Normal’ and healthy discharge should appear to be clear or white and have no unpleasant odour; thickness is likely o change during your menstrual cycle so that can be expected. Whereas a discharge that differs from those main characteristics is likely to be a sign that your intimate health requires attention. So, what exactly does ‘unhealthy’ vaginal discharge look like? Let's explore this further…
Does your discharge change if you have Bacterial Vaginosis?
In the beginning, you might not notice any symptoms or visible signs that your intimate health has been disrupted. If the intimate bacteria, inside and surrounding your vagina are disrupted (buy anything from unprotected sexual activity to poor hygiene) then it's highly likely to trigger a bacterial-related infection, like Bacterial Vaginosis. Bacterial Vaginosis is another topic that we have explored in great depth many times on the Health Insiders Blog. Therefore, if you would like to know even more about what can trigger Bacterial vaginosis and how to treat it, then we suggest you read through our other blog posts for additional support. So, now you know that a disruption to your intimate bacteria is likely to be the reason for your discharge to change, what exactly might ‘unhealthy’ discharge look like?
Unhealthy discharge, which is often classed as Bacterial Vaginosis discharge, will appear to be white or grey, have a thin or water texture, and have a strong unpleasant smell. This odour can smell fishy and is a sign that your pH and intimate bacteria are not ‘healthy’.
If my discharge changes, is it a sign of Bacterial Vaginosis?
The most common reasons for a change in your discharge are likely to be linked to the unbalance of ‘harmful’ and ‘good’ bacteria inside and around the vagina. This disruption might not always cause or trigger Bacterial Vaginosis; especially if caught early. However, you can expect that the majority of reasons for your discharge to change relate to some kind of bacteria imbalance. Bacterial Vaginosis is not always just detected through discharge either, as many cases have no symptoms. Therefore to say that a change in discharge is Bacterial Vaginosis is not completely accurate; although if you are noticing changes to your intimate health like strong smelling discharge or any discomfort then you will want to speak to your doctor to see what (antibiotic) treatment would be best for you and your needs.
Are there any other reasons why my discharge might change?
Bacterial Vaginosis or yeast-related infections are not the only triggers or reasons behind changes to your discharge. However, it’s believed the major reasons are to do with an imbalance in intimate bacteria and should be treated immediately with appropriate treatment advised by your doctor. You can experience changes to your discharge (that are not what is considered ‘normal’) during the different stages of pregnancy. If you are sexually active or using birth control, those can also affect your discharge as they are all examples of your intimate health (bacteria) going through changes and disruptions. Menstrual cycle discharge can also change in texture and be quite wet during ovulation. Many women think that certain discharge is normal during your menstrual cycle as you are expecting it to be different, and whilst this can be right (in some cases) it’s also important to know that strong, fish-like odours are not a sign of healthy discharge! Menstrual blood can temporarily alter the odour of your discharge during your cycle due to the blood and tissues needing to exit the body via the vagina. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your intimate health and ensure that your discharge is still healthy and considered normal even if you are pregnant, taking birth control, sexually active or going through your mental cycle. All of those instances can change your discharge odour, texture and maybe even colour and not be associated with a bacterial or yeast infection (like Bacterial Vaginosis). However, getting advice from a sexual health clinic or your doctor will ensure that you know whether or not your discharge changes are concerning one of the reasons listed above or if it is the body's way of alerting you to a bacterial-related disruption or infection!
What should I do if my discharge has changed?
If you have noticed changes to your vaginal discharge then it’s important to be able to identify the cause and reason behind the change. It could be about pregnancy, birth control or even during your menstrual cycle; so knowing what might have caused a change is important to understand whether it’s ‘normal’ or needs to be treated. In most cases, unpleasant changes to your discharge are a sign that your natural pH is either off-balanced or that you might have an imbalance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ intimate bacteria. It can be difficult to distinguish whether or not a change in your discharge is normal or a sign of something else; therefore, it's always advised to speak to your doctor to determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment if necessary. If your discharge changes are linked to a bacterial-related infection like Bacterial Vaginosis (or similar) then your doctor will be able to prescribe you the appropriate antibiotic treatment.If you ever need additional support or information about intimate health or more specifically Bacterial Vaginosis then be sure to check out other posts on the Health Insider Blog. Our blog is full of personal health-related posts. You can bookmark our blog to help you find it easily. If you still need further assistance with a question, send us a DM on Instagram and we will help you with any questions you may still have.