Vaginal Discharge (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
When Should You Seek Medical Care for a Vaginal Discharge?
It is appropriate to seek medical care any time you have a change in the character (color, odor, consistency) or amount of vaginal discharge or if you have other symptoms such as pain, burning, or itching of the vaginal area.
How Do Doctors Diagnose the Cause of Vaginal Discharge?
After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, the health-care professional will likely perform a pelvic examination, which includes examination of the external genital area and the insertion of a speculum to examine the vaginal walls and cervix.
Depending upon the examination, the health-care professional may take swabs of the vaginal discharge for culture or for examination under a microscope to help define the cause of the vaginal discharge.
What OTC Medications or Home Remedies Treat Vaginal Discharge?
Yeast infections may be treated using over-the-counter medications, but other causes of vaginal discharge require prescription medications. It is critical to take the entire course of medication as prescribed or recommended by your doctor, even if the symptoms improve. If you are uncertain as to the cause of your vaginal discharge, it is important to visit a health-care professional to determine the cause rather than starting OTC medications if you are unsure.
Some alternative medical approaches recommend douching for the treatment of some causes of vaginal discharge. However, douching is not recommended by most physicians. The body has a natural way of cleansing the vaginal canal by itself, and douching can disturb the normal environment of the vagina, potentially leading to inflammation and even worsening of the symptoms. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and most doctors recommend that women avoid douching unless specifically prescribed by a doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/18/2017
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