Leucorrhoea or vaginal discharge or white discharge is the most common and annoying problems of females. It is not a disease in itself but a symptom of some underlying disease. The origin of the discharge may be from uterus, cervix, vagina or vulva.
Types of Leucorrhoea
- Physiological: Some vaginal discharge at puberty, during pregnancy, at the time of ovulation and during premenstrual phase is quite normal due to increased vascularity of the genital tract and requires no treatment. In small girls and aged women, the vaginal epithelium is thin and ill protected against infections, glycogen content is low and vaginal pH is higher, exceeding 7.4.
- Pathological: It is a discharge occurring due to disease or malfunction of the female reproductive tract. It needs immediate attention, cleanliness and treatment. Ignoring pathological leucorrhoea may lead to serious problems like infertility and complications of uterus. The nature of discharge varies from thin to thick bloody discharge with foul smell. This condition is commonly present in both the cases of vaginitis and cervicitis.
Types of Discharges and Probable Causes:
Vulval discharge is seropurulent, viscid and offensive.
Vaginal discharge originates in vagina itself and is oestrogen dependent is of creamy white, purulent, bland or excoriating. Local congestive states of pelvic organs such as pregnancy, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, even chronic constipation with sedantry habits cause increased vaginal discharge. Cervical discharges are thick, mucus from endocervical glands as in chronic cervicitis, erosion or mucus polyp. An excessive mucoid discharge at external os is of cervical origin.
White vaginal discharge- nonirritating and nonoffensive is due to cervical erosion.
Yellow discharge is due to uterine and vaginal infections.
Purulent discharge is due to septic abortion, pyometra or puerperal sepsis.
Offensive discharge is because of necrotic lesion in the genital tract, septic myomata, septic IUCD, forgotten tampons.
Blood stained discharge is caused by ca cervix and uterus, ulcerated lesion of the genital tract due to retained products of conception or placental polyp.
Watery discharge may be due to urinary fistula or hydrosalpinx.
Amber coloured discharge is present in ca fallopian tubes.
Fecal discharge is caused by rectovaginal fistula.
Some common associated symptoms of leucorrhoea may be lower abdominal pain, backache, headache, general debility, soreness and burning in the genital tract, intense itching with oedema of vagina, burning urination and frequent urge to pass very little urine, digestive disturbances like constipation or diarrhoea or vomiting, rashes in and around the genitals and loss of strength.