Pathology Associates Of Lexington, P.A.
Pathology Associates Of Lexington, P.A.
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        Vaginal Discharge (leukorrhea) Causes
Vaginal Leukorrhea

This is a term referring to leakage of an increased amount of vaginal juice or fluid (discharge). The term does not always mean infection. In today's USA culture of advertising about intimate, private conditions on TV, the "good" or "bad" about presence or absence of this condition depends on the eyes of the beholder. That is, some women with "minor" staining of panties may feel that they have an abnormal condition, while health care practitioners might consider that person's complaint to actually be a "normal' finding that is within the realm of normal physiology. Some women's vaginal tissue is more responsive to hormones and stimulants than others; and, so, they produce more vaginal fluid which results in more leakage. This type of leukorrhea is not pathological...not "abnormal". 

The vagina has its own resident "germ" (microbe) population of numerous different bacteria. When that microbiome is normal, the environment is acidic and predominated by lactobacilli. The male ejaculate ("sperm") tends to be basic (not acidic). So, I see nothing harmful at all about some sort of simple rinsing douche (water with small amount of salt and either lemon or lime juice or vinegar to make the rinse acidic).

Microscopic exam by an interested pathologist may be helpful in arriving at the correct cause (Pap smear and 1-2 air-dried glass slides smeared thinly with some discharge may be sent over as "vulvovaginitis workup"). Pap smear liquid ( SurePath [AutoCyte] or ThinPrep) samples can be tested for all of the organisms, below. Those marked are factors that are "lifestyle" and could be stopped or decreased in frequency  by you to see if that helps reduce the discharge. If the discharge is "normal" but bothers you because you think it is too much, sex partners most likely will not find this objectionable...stop imagining that they would find it objectionable (unless they actually complain).

Causes or associated situations:

  • taking birth control pills

  • pregnancy

  • cytolytic vaginosis: Pap smear shows an overgrowth of the normal vaginal bacilli and massive acid-induced disruption of vaginal cells (cytolysis); acidic douching is said to worsen it.

  • diet of too much dairy products or simple sugars

  • contact irritants or allergy: use of genital perfumes, or creams, or lubricants or tampons/pads/liners/panties that are a new brand or a changed brand...or use of some type of secret home remedy

  • too tight clothing or exercise gear

  • over-use of sex aids (vibrators or dildos)

  • or too much or to vigorous sex

  • too much masturbation

  • diabetic without good blood sugar control

  • infections or abnormal (the biome is "out of whack") population of vaginal bacteria:

    • chlamydial colonization/infection of vagina & pelvic organs

    • gonococcal (GC) infection..."the clap"

    • nonspecific vaginosis (overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis...associated with a fishy odor)

    • candidiasis (yeast infection...associated with a slightly "yeasty" odor)

    • Trichomonas vaginalis parasite infection (usually greenish & foul smelling)


  1. Family Medicine, 4th Ed., R. B. Taylor, 1994, page 811 (Lex. Med. Ctr library) [CP-02-2]

  2. A lay-publication article, HERE.

(posted April. 2002; update 20 August 2002; latest addition 6 May  2013)

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