The vagina is simultaneously robust and delicate—able to spring back from childbirth, yet sensitive to soap. When it comes to caring for it, a lot comes down to correctly interpreting the sights, the smells, and the consistencies.
The human body has trillions of resident microorganisms that play important roles in various processes, such as digestion and immune system function. The vaginal flora consists primarily of lactobacilli, known to inhibit in vitro growth of harmful pathogens. Lactobacilli also produce lactic acid, which contributes to the acidity of the vagina.
Other than treating your body to an overall healthy diet, you can boost your vaginal flora by eating foods rich in probiotics, such as yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, apple cider vinegar, kombucha and miso. Daily hygiene is important, as is getting to know all your nooks and crannies—knowing what is normal will help you discern what is not.
Normal everyday discharge ranges from clear and watery or stretchy to thick and milky white. The colour, consistency, amount and smell is dependent on factors such as whether or not you are ovulating, pregnant, or aroused, how much you exercise, and how healthy your vaginal flora is.
Discharge of atypical smell, color or consistency, especially if combined with other atypical symptoms, such as burning or itching sensations may indicate an infection. If you experience any of these, visit your doctor.
What colours can your period be? What causes green discharge? What are the symptoms of a yeast infection? Read more about Vaginal Discharge here.