According to Marla Ahlgrimm, normal discharge is clear, smooth, and has a very slight smell that can be described as soapy or sweet. On the other hand, discharge that is discolored, smelly, itchy, or irritating, might be a sign of infection and a reason to see a doctor, notes Ahlgrimm. An abnormal vaginal discharge is also any discharge that has blood in it when the woman is not menstruating and it is typically thicker in consistency. If a woman experiences any of these symptoms or is worried about her vaginal discharge she should speak with her doctor, cautions Marla Ahlgrimm.
But what causes abnormal vaginal discharge? There are several reasons, notes Ahlgrimm. Changes in vaginal discharge may be a result of bacterial vaginal infection, cancer, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, diabetes, birth control pills – even scented soaps, shower gels and lotions.
Treatment for abnormal vaginal discharge depends on the cause. For example, yeast infections are usually treated with anti-fungal medicine in gel or cream form. Bacterial vaginosis, says Marla Ahlgrimm, is treated with antibiotic creams or pills. Trichomoniasis is usually treated with the drug metronidazole or tinidazole.
Tips for preventing vaginal infections resulting in abnormal discharge include keeping the vagina clean by washing regularly with a gentle, mild soap and warm water, wiping from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing an infection, and wearing 100% cotton underpants.