VAGINAL DISCHARGE

What’s it?

Also called vaginitis or vulvovaginitis, it consists of changes characterized by na abnormal vaginal flow, usually with increased volume, with or without unpleasant odor, irritation, itching or burning in the vagina or vulva, along with the need of constant urination. It’s one of the most common gynecological problems and one of the most frequent motives for visiting a gynecologist.

How does it develop?

The existence of vaginal discharge is normal during the reproductive years. It originates from the secretion of cervical glands and Bartholin’s glands, scaling of vaginal cells, and bacteria present in the vaginal flora. In this phase, the vagina normally is resistant to infections, as its epithelium is quite resistant and its environment highly acidic, inhibiting the excessive growth of pathogens. The cervical mucus and the menstrual flow are alkaline, and so are the arousal, sexual intercourse and stress, which lead to an elevation in vaginal pH and may predispose to vaginitis. In childhood, non-specific vulvovaginitis is common, it being caused by improper hygiene and incorrect way of performing the hygiene after evacuation. After menopause there’s a decrease in estrogen production, and a modification occurs in the vaginal epithelium, which once again becomes susceptible to external aggressions. Some chemicals found in soaps, absorbents and perfumed substances may cause irritation and significant discomfort.

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