Vaginal discharge, also known as leucorrhoea, refers to non-bloody, physiological secretions in women. In plain terms, it is a combination of fluids (often white in colour) that can flow from the vagina at certain times. This is entirely natural.
Why do women have vaginal discharge?
There are many reasons why women have vaginal discharge. During the menstrual cycle, vaginal discharge generally occurs between periods or ovulation. Thicker, more abundant leucorrhoea may be observed during pregnancy. The flow of these secretions varies from one woman to the next. It may be light or heavy. Consult a gynaecologist in the event of any unusual discharge (appearance, colour, odour).
The main role of these secretions is to cleanse and lubricate the vagina, by eliminating dead cells and microbial debris. Vaginal discharge during ovulation can help the sperm to travel as far as the uterus to fertilise the egg.
What does foul-smelling leucorrhoea mean?
Vaginal discharge may be foul-smelling. This may be due to an imbalance in the intimate flora. Several risk factors have been identified:
- Excessive personal hygiene, inappropriate personal hygiene or vaginal douches
- Hormonal variations (pregnancy, contraception with the mini pill, intrauterine device and menopause)
- The use of antibiotics or antiseptics
- Wearing clothes that are too tight.
Should you seek medical advice for vaginal discharge?
If it is unusual (heavier than normal, foul-smelling) and/or changes colour (grey and/or yellowish, for instance), you should seek medical advice.
Can good personal hygiene help in the case of unusual vaginal discharge?
Yes. But not on its own. Once again, in the case of unusual discharge, it is essential to make an appointment with your gynaecologist. Only your gynaecologist will be able to prescribe appropriate treatment for you.
What procedures are recommended in addition to treatment?
In addition to a good personal hygiene routine, a dose of vaginal probiotics can help restore the balance of your vaginal flora.