Is vaginal discharge normal?

For some reason I dislike the term vaginal discharge. Discharge to me carries some negative connotation that implies the body is rejecting or expelling fluids because it’s bad or somehow unhealthy. However vaginal discharge is in fact a very normal function of the vagina to ensure the area of the vagina and vulva is kept clean by removing bacteria and maintaining moisture.

So now that we now know that vaginal discharge or secretions are normal, let’s talk about the secretions and why it’s such an interesting topic and why every woman needs to know.

Throughout our monthly cycle, our secretions change in colour, viscosity, smell and even taste as a result of the hormonal changes happening in our bodies!

The skin of the vulva is very sensitive and delicate, so it’s important to recognise any changes that may indicate an infection or irritation. Some things that aren’t normal include redness, swelling, burning or itchy sensations, the skin is splitting or cracking, the skin feels too dry or that the odour is unpleasant.

Some immediate things you can do is avoid wearing tight underwear such as G-strings and clothing. Switch to breathable underwear that’s made of cotton.

Avoid using products that can further irritate the skin and may contain harmful chemicals that affect the balance of the bacteria. Consider switching your laundry detergent / powder to clean label products, avoid feminine hygiene products that often have synthetic perfumes and toxic chemicals, use organic cotton sanitary pads / tampons, avoid any perfumes to make the area smell fresh, switch to plain unscented or natural toilet paper, avoid “fancy” condoms and when looking at lubrication used for intercourse perhaps opt for natural oils like almond oil.

It’s important to seek the advice of your healthcare provider and in the meantime, since the weather is warming up in Sydney, make a trip to the beach, it’s amazing how healing a swim in salt water can do!

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