Discharge, mucus and bleeding: When is a vaginal change a warning sign?

Discharge, mucus and bleeding: When is a vaginal change a warning sign?

For many women, a dry vagina is synonymous with gynecological health, but not quite. Cervical mucus (the fluid secreted by glands in the cervix) is important for fertilization and discharge to indicate how the vaginal flora, bleeding, and menstrual cycle function.

It is normal to find some residue on underwear, but density, consistency, odor and color are critical factors for suspicion when a change is a sign of concern.

The vaginal flora, also called bacteria of the vagina, is a group of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, that live in harmony in the vaginal area, forming an ecosystem capable of protecting the intimate area from pathogens harmful to health.

Changes in the characteristics of vaginal secretion are the main indications of imbalance, usually caused by poor diet, stress, diseases, prolonged use of certain medications, and are risk factors for the emergence of infection.

“Uncontrolled diabetes, use of antibiotics, especially for more than 7 days, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can disrupt the flora and cause discharge, which is one of the major gynecological changes, in addition to abnormal uterine bleeding. And fungi. In addition to contaminated seawater, it is also a cause of vaginal infections,” explains Venina Barros, researcher and obstetrician-gynecologist at Albert Einstein Hospitals, Serio Lebanon and Samaritano, all in São Paulo.

cervical mucus

Photo: iStock

Cervical mucus is a naturally clear or odorless secretion produced by a gland in the cervix, also called the cervix, with the immune function of lubricating the vagina, facilitating the entry of sperm and protecting the uterus from contamination by microorganisms. which can generate complications during pregnancy.

Its presence is associated with the phase of the menstrual cycle, which begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts an average of three to eight days, when mucus production is low and almost imperceptible until the arrival of the fertile period.

At this point, estrogen levels increase in focus, making it thick, sticky, and white until ovulation, when it becomes crystalline, thin, and pliable, like an egg white, to aid the sperm pathway. wind instrument; After ovulation, the amount of estrogen decreases and the mucus becomes sticky and sticky.


woman vagina vulva sex bed gynecologist - Getty Images / iStockphoto - Getty Images / iStockphoto
Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Secretions are abnormal secretions, usually permanent and abundant, and may have colour, odor, consistency and symptoms associated with various types of causes such as infection with bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.

when you appear yellowishwith low volume, fluid consistency and no odor, may indicate only a wet physiological period, but in larger quantities, with a purulent consistency and a characteristic odor, it indicates infection with bacteria, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeaethat causes gonorrhea or Chlamydia trachomatisChlamydia, which causes chlamydia, are both sexually transmitted diseases.

unloading white A specific period of ovulation or flora imbalance can be determined with the proliferation of fungi Candida albicans Which leads in large quantities to weaken the immune system, causing candidiasis or bacteria Gardnerella Vaginaliswhich causes bacterial vaginosis with a grayish-white secretion in a larger amount, a foamy texture and an odor resembling “rotten fish”.

Although they represent a physiological imbalance, fungi and bacteria can also be transmitted sexually.

unloading greenish yellow or green Usually indicates the presence of protozoa, such as Vaginal Fistingwhich causes trichomoniasis, as well as sexually transmitted diseases and differences in Red, pink and brownThe presence of blood that may indicate pregnancy, hormonal changes, adaptation to the contraceptive pill and its interaction with other medications, or in certain cases, the presence of a tumor.

Abnormal uterine bleeding

During the menstrual cycle, it is normal for blood to leak out, when it is possible to notice a small amount of blood in the underwear for two or three days. When bleeding occurs for a longer period or in the postmenopausal period, it is necessary to investigate, as it can be associated with other gynecological diseases such as STDs, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and cancer ( cervix) and body). Changes in childhood gynecology should be noted, as they may be signs of sexual abuse.

Abnormal uterine bleeding during pregnancy can lead to a high-risk pregnancy when caused by disease or a change in the position of the placenta, such as in the case of displacement and the consequent risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

pelvic pain

Pelvic pain is a discomfort that occurs in the lower part of the abdomen called the pelvis, where nearby organs such as the intestines, bladder, uterus, and ovaries are located. The feeling of localized pain can mean something temporary such as constipation and a full bladder for a long time, but when the discomfort is persistent accompanied by bleeding that affects daily activities and sexual life, it should be evaluated by a gynecologist.

This pain can indicate endometriosis and adenomyosis, which are conditions in which endometrial tissue behaves abnormally and migrates to other areas causing symptoms such as severe cramping, bleeding, urinary and bowel bleeding during menstruation, pain during intercourse, and, in some cases, infertility.

The endometrium is a mucous membrane that lines the uterine wall, anchors the fertilized egg and ensures the nourishment of the fetus. When there is no fertilization, part of the tissue is shed during menstruation and the rest is replenished with each cycle. In endometriosis, inflammation is caused by the cells of the endometrium, causing the expulsion of what can migrate to other organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdominal cavity.

In adenomyosis, tissue grows in the myometrium, which are the muscles of the uterus. Treatment can be done through drug therapy, hormonal therapy, and surgical intervention, but in serious cases, it may be necessary to remove the uterus through a hysterectomy.

basic care

Perineum - Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

The best way to prevent STDs is to use a condom, male or female, during intercourse, including through the mouth. However, to maintain the balance of the vaginal flora and protect the area from inflammatory processes, some care of intimate hygiene is necessary:

  • Maintain a balanced diet because excess sugar can alter the vaginal pH making the area more acidic, which contributes to yeast infections.
  • Avoid tight clothing, synthetic materials, and undergarments, as they help breed harmful microorganisms.
  • Exercising regularly because strengthening the muscles of the perineum prevents the occurrence of vaginal wind.
  • Avoid vaginal douches because it upsets the balance of the flora with the resulting infection and secretions.
  • Use intimate soap in moderation as it may irritate and dry the area.
  • Do not use perfume because the intimate area is sensitive to allergies.
  • Be careful with waxing because reused wax can contain microorganisms that contaminate the vulva and vagina.
  • It is preferable to use unflavored condoms, as it can lead to allergic conditions at once.
  • Sex toys should be sterilized after use everywhere.
  • Choose lubricants with the help of a gynecologist, because vaginal dryness can be caused by various factors, such as lack of sexual stimulation, low hormones or the presence of vaginal infections, with different preparations indicated for each case.

Sources: Venina Barrosobstetrician-gynecologist, specialist in high-risk pregnancy and researcher at Hospital das Clinicas de São Paulo; Deborah Beltrami, a gynecologist at the Hospital Nossa Senhora das Neves, in Paraíba, the coordinator of the state organization of the Mother and Infant Network of the Department of Health of the Government of Paraíba and a professor at the USCS, in São Paulo; And the Larissa Cassianoobstetrician-gynecologist, high-risk pregnancy specialist and columnist for VivaBem.

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