Last modified on June 2021
With inputs from Dr.Sabha Faryal, General Physician & Emergency Medicine Specialist
– Leucorrhoea is another term to describe white discharge from a woman’s vagina. Leucorrhoea is normal and helps in keeping the vagina infection-free. However, when it turns abnormal is when it is indicative of a vaginal infection.
– Leucorrhoea is higher in women during pregnancy and is due to fluctuating hormonal levels and changes to the cervix. Some other occurrences of leucorrhoea in women include sexually aroused situations, ovulation period, breastfeeding and adolescents during puberty.
– Abnormal leucorrhoea is caused by many factors such as antibiotic/steroid use, birth control pills, bacterial and fungal vaginal infections, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, diabetes, vaginal atrophy, vaginitis, use of douches, tampons and penetrable contraceptive devices, sexually transmitted diseases and many more.
– Symptoms of conditions associated with abnormal leucorrhoea include foul-smelling discharge, constipation, burning/itching sensation in the vagina, abdominal pain, lower back pain/calf pain and frequent urination.
– Leucorrhoea treatments include antibacterial and antifungal medication to treat infections. Vaginal gels and creams are used to treat yeast infections. Treatments are usually based on the underlying cause and require a gynaecologist’s expert diagnosis before implementation.
– Remedies for leucorrhoea prevention and leucorrhoea treatment at home include maintaining proper intimate hygiene by washing the vaginal area frequently after water or moisture contact, wearing breathable cotton undergarments, avoiding the use of penetrable contraceptive or menstrual devices and avoiding the use of scented, fancy cosmetics in the vaginal area.
Chapter 1: What is leucorrhea?
Leucorrhoea: An overview
Leucorrhoea is another term for vaginal discharge that is usually whitish or yellowish in colour. The discharge is a mixture of cells and fluids that is continuously released through a woman’s vagina throughout the day. Leucorrhoea is produced by glands in the cervix and vagina and plays an important role in keeping the female reproductive organs clean and healthy. The vaginal discharge flushes bacteria and dead cells along the way keeping the vagina free from infection.
When is leucorrhoea normal?
In most cases, leucorrhoea is a perfectly normal occurrence in women and does not require specific leucorrhoea treatment. Vaginal discharge aids in safeguarding the vaginal tissues from disease and provides adequate lubrication that prevents it from irritation and infection. Differences in colour (whitish, milky) odour and texture (sticky, watery, clear) are usually seen depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. The discharge will usually be more when a woman is ovulating, pregnant, breastfeeding or sexually aroused. Leucorrhoea is also common in adolescents who are going through puberty. This normal healthy occurrence of white vaginal discharge is known as physiological leucorrhoea.
When is leucorrhoea abnormal?
Sometimes, leucorrhoea can turn abnormal if the colour, texture, amount of discharge and the smell seems different than normal. Leucorrhoea can be abnormal if the discharge showcases a thick mucus-like texture, a greenish, reddish, brown or blackish texture and has a foul-smelling odour. If it accompanies any sort of itching and burning sensation, chances are that you’re dealing with an infection. If the amount of vaginal discharge is more than usual, doesn’t stop, and needs a sanitary pad to control it, it also may be a sign of something being wrong. The underlying cause of abnormal leucorrhoea is usually an infection. This is known as pathological leucorrhoea. Pathological leucorrhea treatment options include plenty of home remedies that can be followed to lessen its symptoms and even prevent it from recurring.
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Chapter 2: Leucorrhea during Pregnancy in Indian women
When is it normal?
Leucorrhoea during pregnancy is a normal phenomenon. An increase in estrogen levels resulting in elevated blood flow to the vagina is one of the primary causes of leucorrhoea in pregnancy. This is caused by increased blood flow to the vagina due to increased estrogen. The normal texture of leucorrhoea during pregnancy is thin, milky, or even clear with a mild smell and is seen to continue throughout the term of pregnancy.
Factors affecting leucorrhoea during pregnancy
- Fluctuation in hormonal levels: Leucorrhoea, that is white discharge, tends to ebb and flow throughout the menstrual cycle due to continuous changes in hormonal levels. Changes in vaginal discharge can be noticed as early as 14 days after conception or even sometimes before. The discharge is usually the lightest at the start of your pregnancy and the heaviest before labour. In fact, the discharge at the end of your pregnancy term may even contain thick bloody mucus-like streaks which can seem abnormal. This is not of grave concern and is usually considered a sign of early labour.
- Changes to cervix: During pregnancy, the walls of the cervix and vagina soften leading the body to produce a larger amount of vaginal discharge as a defence mechanism for infections. Towards the end of your pregnancy, the pressure exerted by the baby’s head on your cervix may cause increased leucorrhoea. After delivery, girl babies can experience some amount of vaginal discharge for a short period right after birth because of their in-uterine estrogen exposure.
When is it abnormal?
Leucorrhoea abnormalities during pregnancy are dangerous and sometimes are also indicative of a complication. Some abnormal leucorrhoea pregnancy symptoms include:
- The discharge containing a green, yellow or being blood-stained
- The discharge has a foul odour
- The discharge is accompanied by swelling, burning, redness and itching
It is vital that you let your gynaecologist know immediately if you show any of the above signs so that an appropriate leucorrhoea treatment plan can be put in place for the safety of you and your baby. Moreover, if the vaginal discharge is lots and is bright red in colour, it could signify low lying placenta or placental abruption.
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Chapter 3: Causes of leucorrhea in Indian women
- Antibiotic/steroid use – the medicinal constituents in antibiotics and steroids can have an adverse effect on vaginal discharge
- Bacterial vaginosis – a bacterial infection of the vagina that occurs due to the imbalance of normal vaginal bacteria.
- Birth control pills
- Cervical cancer
- STDs – Several sexually transmitted diseases are known to cause abnormal leucorrhoea. Common ones include chlamydia and gonorrhoea. An STD risk assessment can be conducted to identify your risk levels to common STDs.
- Douches, tampons, diaphragms and other penetrable contraceptive devices cause vaginal irritation and can lead to abnormal white discharge.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – refers to an infection present in one or multiple reproductive organs of a woman including the ovaries, the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
- Yeast infections: Also known as candidiasis, this is generally associated with a change in the pH balance of the vagina. Yeast infections are common during pregnancy, and in women who fail to take proper care of their vaginal area.
- Cervicitis: this is the inflammation of the cervix. Lower back pain is the most common symptom of cervicitis. Cervicitis can occur as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and irritations from vaginal menstrual or contraceptive devices such as diaphragms or tampons
- Trichomonas Vaginitis: Also referred to as trichomoniasis, this infection is caused by a group of parasites and is usually associated with yellow, frothy vaginal discharge accompanied by an itching sensation. Sexually transmitted diseases and poor hygiene are causal attributes of this infection.
- Vaginitis – as a result of friction created in and around the vaginal areas due to penetrable contraceptive devices or the partner’s contraceptive device coming in contact with the vagina.
Does COVID-19 affect your menstrual cycle?
As COVID in India has ravaged the country, one aspect we have hardly spoken about is women’s health. It has been seen that women who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 have said that their menstrual cycle has become extremely irregular. Even women who have not contracted the Coronavirus disease have complained of missing their menstrual cycles during this time. This is usually also accompanied by Leucorrhoea or discharge from the vagina and weakness.
Let’s look at some of the reasons for the same:
1.) Stress or anxiety: With COVID in India and lockdowns that followed, most of us were unable to fathom the consequences. Thus we were always stressed about the COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertainty of it all. The body reacted to the stress and the menstrual cycle became longer, shorter or stopped altogether.
2.) Lack of routine: As we were stuck at home during quarantine, our usual daily routine suffered. As going out was not an option and work was mainly from home, physical activities were limited. Gyms were also closed during COVID in India and thus people were not exercising like before. This led to weight gain and affected the menstrual cycle of many.
Find out more about the underlying cause of your abnormal leucorrhoea by asking one of our gynaecologists on MFine today!
Chapter 4: Abnormal Leucorrhea: Symptoms & Diagnosis in Indian Women
Every woman experiences some amount of daily vaginal discharge which is normal. However, it is important to observe and monitor the colour, texture and amount of flow to identify abnormalities if they decide to pop up. Some other abnormal symptoms of leucorrhoea that accompany a change in colour and texture of vaginal discharge include:
- Abdominal pain or weakness in the abdomen area
- Burning or itching sensations in the genital areas
- Bad smelling vaginal discharge
- Lower back pain & calf pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Frequent urination
Diagnosing abnormal leucorrhoea
The first step a gynaecologist takes when diagnosing leucorrhoea is assessing the patient’s medical history, lifestyle and personal hygiene practices. The next step involves assessing the patient’s symptoms of leucorrhoea and leucorrhoea symptoms and treatment often go hand in hand. Some questions that the gynaecologists may ask the patient will be around:
- The time the abnormal discharge began and how long it has lasted
- The colour and texture and smell of the vaginal discharge
- Physical sensations and pain surrounding the vaginal and genital area
- Sexual partners of the patient
- Vaginal hygiene practices of the patient
A discharge sample may be taken and examined microscopically for microbes. A gynaecologist may also conduct a physical examination of your cervix to identify any tenderness, pain or irritation and a pap test to confirm or rule out any other causes such as cervical cancers. If you think you may have changes in vaginal discharge combined with any one or two of these symptoms it is best to consult a gynaecologist immediately.
Suffering from constipation, vaginal irritation or abdominal pain? Clarify your symptoms and diagnoses with a gynaecologist on MFine today!
Chapter 5: Leucorrhea Treatments in Indian Women
Treatment for abnormal leucorrhoea is solely dependent on the underlying cause. Leucorrhoea treatment in allopathy medicine is mostly targeted at killing the underlying infection in the vagina. Antibiotics or anti-microbial agents are usually administered to patients as abnormal leucorrhoea medicines to treat bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal creams in gel form are also given to patients to treat yeast infections if they are allergic to antibiotics or if the allopathic leucorrhoea medicines cause many side-effects. Based on your diagnosis and symptoms, a gynaecologist on MFine will be able to identify the best treatment plan suited to you.
Treating leucorrhoea during pregnancy
When leucorrhoea turns abnormal during pregnancy, it is important to immediately consult your doctor for advice on a leucorrhoea treatment plan suited to cure the abnormal vaginal discharge. Yeast infections are the most common causes of leucorrhoea abnormalities in pregnancy. A gynaecologist may prescribe a vaginal gel or cream to treat a yeast infection that was developed during pregnancy. Other home remedies to prevent a yeast infection in the future include:
- Wearing loose clothing made of breathable material
- Choosing to wear cotton underwear that absorbs sweat over nylon that may cause irritation with sweat
- Thoroughly washing and drying your genitals after exercising, showering, swimming and urinating.
- Including yoghurt and curds to your diet and other fermented foods that promote healthy bacteria
A personalized leucorrhoea home treatment plan is only a click away. Get in touch with some of our top gynaecologists and find a treatment plan that works for you.
Chapter 6: Abnormal leucorrhea home remedies and prevention tips
Incidentally, a lot of abnormal leucorrhoea treatments recommended by many doctors and gynaecologists for milder cases are home remedies. The most common home remedy for leucorrhoea that doctors would recommend is:
- Maintaining a high level of vaginal cleanliness. This can be done by frequently washing your genital area with clean water and gentle soap. Freshly squeezed lemon mixed with water is also a good rinsing solution for the vagina. Intimate washes suited to balance the pH of your vagina can also be used daily to ensure the genital area is free from any infections. Vaginal washes are recommended most often to be done after sexual intercourse, changing of a tampon or sanitary pad during menstruation and after using a vaginal contraceptive device as these are some of the common scenarios that are likely to lead to leucorrhoea. However, make sure you consult a gynaecologist before purchasing any vaginal care products or intimate washes.
- Consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals
. This is another great home remedy for leucorrhoea, for not only treating it but preventing it from recurring. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein and complex carbohydrates are recommended. Reducing the intake of processed sugar is a natural leucorrhoea treatment especially for when the flow of vaginal discharge is higher than normal.
Common Prevention Tips
Prevention is better than cure. As leucorrhoea may be a natural occurrence in many women, if left unmonitored, it can lead to a rather nasty infection. Therefore, implementing leucorrhoea home remedies and prevention methods against this disorder is a feasible option than undergoing intensive abnormal leucorrhoea treatments in the long run. Some of the ways abnormal leucorrhoea can be prevented are by:
- Always keeping the vaginal area clean by washing the vagina externally with a mixture of warm water and a mild soap. A great leucorrhoea treatment at home to prevent any bacterial or fungal vaginal infections from occurring.
- Avoiding the use of harsh soaps, scented lotions, perfumes or other cosmetics in the genital area.
- Avoiding the use of diaphragms, tampons or other penetrable contraceptive products that may cause vaginal irritation.
- Using sanitary pads or panty liners instead of tampons. Pads and liners allow for the safe collection and absorption of extra mucus while tampons may risk germs entering your vagina due to its penetrable installation.
- Avoiding the frequent use of wipes to clean your vagina. Did you know that the vagina is self-cleaning? Cleaning the vagina with wipes can disturb the ph balance in the genital tract risking a bad vaginal infection. If you do have to use wipes, make sure you choose appropriate wipes that are alcohol and chemical-free and pH safe.
- Wearing breathable undergarments made of 100% cotton, and avoiding undergarments and clothing that is too tight.
Abnormal leucorrhoea may seem alarming but it can be eradicated and prevented if managed well. It is also recommended that women do full-body checks from time to time to monitor their overall health and well being. If you’re are looking at an abnormal leucorrhoea treatment at home or prevention plan, a gynaecologist on MFine can help you identify the root cause of your vaginal discharge based on your symptoms and recommend the best medicine for leucorrhoea suited to you – whether it is a home remedy, a lifestyle change or an oral medicine course.
Experienced abnormal leucorrhoea before? Ask one of our gynaecologists on MFine for advice and tips to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
Chapter 7: Frequently Asked Questions on Leucorrhea Treatments in India
1. How do you know you have leucorrhoea?
Leucorrhoea is a white discharge from the vagina and is a normal occurrence for many women. However, it can turn abnormal when the colour of the discharge turns yellow, green or red, and accompanies a foul smell with an itching/burning sensation in the vagina. If you think you may have these symptoms, consult a gynaecologist on MFine who will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis of your condition immediately.
2. What are the causes of leucorrhoea?
Leucorrhoea is caused as a result of increased blood flow to the vagina due to elevated estrogen levels. Causes of leucorrhoea in pregnancy include fluctuation in hormone levels and changes to the cervix. However, abnormal leucorrhoea is caused by many factors such as bacterial and fungal vaginal infections, diabetes, vaginal irritation, sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infections, douches, tampons, diaphragms and other penetrable contraceptive devices and many more.
3. How can I stop white discharge?
White vaginal discharge in many ways is normal in a woman and in fact, helps to flush out toxins and dead cells while preventing vaginal infections. However, when leucorrhoea turns abnormal is when it is of concern. Aggressive leucorrhoea treatments may include the administration of antibiotics or anti-microbial agents to stop the excess or abnormal discharge. Some other leucorrhoea home remedies include the frequent washing of the vaginal areas, wearing cotton or breathable undergarments that absorb sweat and don’t retain moisture, reducing the use of penetrable menstrual and contraceptive devices, and maintaining good personal hygiene.
4. Is daily discharge normal?
Yes. Every woman experiences some amount of daily vaginal discharge. This discharge is usually whitish and has a thin, light texture. However, if the discharge turns milky or sticky and has a yellowish-green, red or black tinge, and also has a foul-smelling odour, it is best to seek medical assistance immediately. Moreover, if the discharge is profuse and requires a sanitary pad, consult a gynaecologist as soon as possible for further diagnosis.
5. What is the best leucorrhoea treatment in allopathy medicine?
Leucorrhoea treatment in allopathy medicine is predominantly aimed at curing the underlying infection in the vagina. Antibiotics or anti-microbial agents are some of the best leucorrhoea medicines to treat bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal creams in gel form are also given to patients to treat yeast infections.
6. What are leucorrhoea symptoms and treatment options available in India?
Common abnormal leucorrhoea symptoms include Abdominal pain or weakness in the abdomen area, constipation, burning or itching sensations in the genital areas, headaches, bad-smelling vaginal discharge, lower back pain & calf pain, menstrual cramps and frequent urination. Treatment options include the administration of antibiotics and antifungal medications to treat common infections that cause abnormal leucorrhoea. In addition, plenty of home remedies are available to treat and prevent the recurrence of leucorrhoea in a sustainable manner. Consult a gynaecologist on MFine to discuss some leucorrhoea treatment options that are best suited to your case.
7. What is the best home remedy for leucorrhoea?
Maintaining proper hygiene and vaginal cleanliness is a home remedy for leucorrhoea that doctors mostly recommend to patients who are suffering from leucorrhoea abnormalities. Wearing breathable comfortable cotton undergarments, thoroughly washing the vagina after activities like exercising, swimming, showering and urinating help in keeping the vagina free from infection.
8. What is the best medicine for leucorrhoea?
Medicines to treat abnormal leucorrhoea vary depending on the underlying cause. Medicines include antifungal or antibacterial pills and vaginal creams and gels to help prevent infections in the vagina. However, before taking any medication, it is recommended to consult your gynaecologist about the best medicine for leucorrhoea suited specifically to your symptoms and diagnosis.
9. What are some abnormal leucorrhoea pregnancy symptoms?
Leucorrhoea is normal during pregnancy but when it turns abnormal and can indicate a complication in the pregnancy. Some abnormal leucorrhoea pregnancy symptoms include the change in colour of discharge – whitish to yellow and sometimes green or blood-stained; change in the smell of discharge – mild smelling to a foul odour; and lastly an itching or burning sensation in the vagina and the swelling of the vulva in some cases. If you’re currently pregnant and are exhibiting these symptoms, it is advised to consult a gynaecologist immediately for the safety of yourself and your baby.