What Is Leukorrhea?

Doctors might warn pregnant women to expect the possibility of leukorrhea.
In cases of persistent white vaginal discharge, a woman's gynecologist may screen for yeast or sexually transmitted infections.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Leukorrhea is a type of discharge or fluid that may be present in the vagina. It’s often described as being white or milky in color and it can be somewhat thick and slippery. In many cases the presence of this discharge is absolutely normal, but other times it could be indication of infection, though other signs are usually present too when this is the case.

Leukorrhea occurs normally during early pregnancy, and typically in baby girls who may have some of this discharge the first few weeks of life. Pregnant women may note white discharge from the vagina, and doctors may have pre-warned women that they may expect to see these secretions. Most pediatricians let new moms and dads know that they might note whitish discharge when they change their new daughter’s diapers.

It should be stated that in most instances, the presence of this discharge is nothing to worry about during pregnancy. However, should the color change from white to yellow or green, should the leukorrhea be tinged with or accompanied by blood, or should the discharge have an unpleasant smell, this could be indicative of problems with the pregnancy or with vaginal health. When vaginal discharge smells bad or is or green or yellow, bacterial infection is often indicated.

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Another time when leukorrhea may be present quite naturally and normally is prior to first menstruation. Many girls may notice this symptom, and like the first period, it may cause concern if it is unexpected. When girls are educated about puberty, mentioning leukorrhea can be valuable so girls don’t worry if they notice it.

Though leukorrhea may occur at any time, there are times when its presence should be viewed as potentially problematic. When the vagina becomes inflamed in any way, more of this substance can be secreted, which could indicate an infection or either a fungal, viral, or bacterial nature. Yeast infections may sometimes increase leukorrhea, but so can infections with many sexually transmitted diseases. If this discharge suddenly shows up and a person has in the recent past engaged in sexually risky activities, they should definitely see a family doctor or gynecologist to rule out infections.

Similarly, white discharge accompanied by extreme vaginal itching could suggest yeast infection. If this is a first time a person has ever experienced one of these, then it might be prudent to see a doctor for diagnosis prior to beginning treatment. Itchiness can have other causes too, including infections like herpes, which can be present inside the vagina and thus not apparent.

What is important to remember about leukorrhea is that in many cases it is quite normal. Anytime vaginal discharge causes concern, the smartest thing to do is see a doctor to rule out other conditions. This can alleviate concern and make certain that any potential problems with vaginal health are attended to quickly.

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Discuss this Article

Pippinwhite
Post 1

Leukorrhea is one of those things most women have, and it actually changes over the course of the monthly menstrual cycle.

However, as the article mentions, a lot of discharge, especially when accompanied by intense itching, is usually the main sign of a yeast infection. Some women may have mostly itching, and not much discharge, or vice versa.

Still, as the article notes, a change in the discharge is a cause for a woman to keep an eye on herself and to see a doctor if the leukorrhea persists, changes, itches or has any other bothersome characteristics, like blood.

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