“It is smart to take some time to learn about the five types of menopause discharge, what is normal and when to see a doctor.”
Perimenopause is a time of ongoing changes for most women. You may not know what to expect or what is normal. Perimenopause may last for several months or for a year or more. During this time, your vaginal discharge may begin to change as well.
Rather than letting this cause you extra worry or stress, it can be smart to take some time to learn about the five types of menopause discharge, what is normal and when to see a doctor.
What are the 5 Types of Menopausal Discharge?
There are five basic types of menopause discharge that you might experience during perimenopause or after menopause.
If you see a clear to milky-colored, thin, non-odorous discharge, this is most likely quite normal.
This type of discharge is the result of fluids secreted from your vaginal tissues that helps transport toxins, bacteria, dead skin cells and other undesirables out of the vaginal area.
One change you may see during perimenopause is a reduction in the quantity of this normal maintenance vaginal discharge. This is the result of a drop in estrogen levels that can cause tissues and skin to be drier.
White discharge that is thick, clumpy and odorous is not normal. The most common reason you might see this type of discharge at any time in life is when you have contracted a yeast infection.
If you have additional symptoms such as vaginal itching, burning, irritation, redness and discomfort, suspect a yeast infection.
“A gray-colored vaginal discharge is indicative of bacterial vaginosis, or BV.”
When you see a vaginal discharge that is darker yellow to green in color, the most likely culprit is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. If there is an odor and your discharge is quite thick, this is further indication you may have picked up an STD.
It is worth noting that a light yellow, thin discharge may not be signs of an STD, especially if there is no odor and you have recently added a new supplement or vitamin to your diet.
A gray-colored vaginal discharge is indicative of bacterial vaginosis, or BV. BV is a fairly common bacterial infection that can also give rise to other symptoms such as burning, redness, itching, odor and irritation in the vaginal area.
Any vaginal discharge in the pink to red to brown color spectrum may have a few different possible causes.
If you are still experiencing monthly menses, this type of vaginal discharge may be the result of irregular spotting before or after your period.
If your period has ceased for at least 12 consecutive months and you are officially past menopause, seeing discharge in the pink to brown color spectrum can have a number of possible causes ranging from HRT (hormone replacement therapy) treatments to cervical cancer.
When to See a Doctor?
“It is important to remember that perimenopause signs and symptoms will be different for each woman.”
When you start paying attention to your vaginal discharge, you may notice it subtly changes in color and/or texture before, during and after your menses. When your period becomes more irregular as perimenopause continues, this pattern can also get disrupted.
Rather than let this disruption become worrisome, it is always wise to talk with your doctor if you see changes that you don’t understand.
There are also certain times when it is important to consult your doctor without delay. Anytime you notice a strong or foul odor, this can be an indication of infection that may need medical treatment. Seeing bright red discharge outside of what feels normal or after menopause should always prompt a call to your doctor.
As well, if you experience any unpleasant symptoms such as burning, irritation, itching or pain during urination, contact your doctor right away.
It is important to remember that perimenopause signs and symptoms will be different for each woman. Your family history can give you some indication of what to expect, but your experience of perimenopause is likely to be different than even what your mother or sister experiences.
Keeping a daily record of your vaginal discharge – colors, odors, increase or decrease and other changes – can help you track your vaginal health and spot any warning signs as early as possible so you can talk with your doctor as needed.
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