A complete list of vaginal discomforts is long, and it goes from discharge and odor all the way to pelvic pain. Some of these symptoms are a sign of a minor problem that can be solved using OTC products, while others demand medical attention and appropriate therapy. Take a look at some of the most common types of vaginal discomforts and the criteria that can help you decide whether you need to book an appointment with your doctor.
Discharge is normally clear, white or pale yellow, sticky or elastic, varying in amount and consistency depending on factors such as your menstrual cycle, whether you are pregnant or while having sex. However, if you notice any sudden or significant changes in discharge such as color, consistency (e.g. thick discharge resembling cottage cheese is a sign of yeast infection) or amount (even though the amount of discharge does increase around ovulation or when you are sexually aroused, larger amount of discharge than usual is a sign that you may be developing an infection), you should consult a medical professional.
Even though it is true that every vagina has a unique smell, anything that smells significantly different than usual can be a cause for concern. Some types of odor are characteristic for certain infections – for example, fishy smell is characteristic for bacterial vaginosis.
Itching can develop as a symptom of an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, but it can also be a sign of irritation or an allergic reaction, for instance caused by condoms or a vaginal spray. In this case, a natural soothing product can help soothe irritation and help skin recuperate.
Similar to itching, burning can be a sign of infection or a side effect of irritation. If you do use a product like lotion or vaginal spray and you feel a strong burning sensation afterwards, make sure to wash the residues off as quickly as possible to minimize the irritation.
Pain while urinating could indicate a urinary infection or a vaginal infection. Pain that occurs during sexual intercourse can also be a sign of infection, or it could indicate that you may be suffering from endometriosis, but more often than not it is a side effect of vaginal dryness. This most commonly happens during menopause, when estrogen levels are low, causing vaginal tissue to become thinner and lose its elasticity and natural lubrication. When the vagina doesn’t have sufficient lubrication, penetration can cause friction and tissue damage. This can result in pain, or even an infection. If you do suffer from vaginal dryness, try relieving symptoms by using a vaginal moisturizer or a lubricant. A moisturizer is applied daily and it can provide you with a long-term effect, giving you relief from pain and friction, while lubricant is used prior to intercourse and has a short-term effect.
Vaginal discomforts can have several causes, some more serious than others. If you notice any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above or other unusual symptoms, you could always contact your doctor to discuss the appropriate treatment.