Vaginal secretions, medically known as leucorrhea, are formed of the exfoliation of cells in the genital glands. This is completely normal and every woman has vaginal secretions starting during puberty and continuing into the menopause.
However while most vaginal secretions are healthy and normal, others can have undesirable physiological or pathological causes. Though the majority of them are not caused by STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), they can also be associated with some.
Normally these secretions will look like a white clear fluid, much like egg white, and is normal in small amounts. If the symptoms however occur regularly, last for long periods of time, have an associated odour or colour, or change in consistency then a doctor will begin to look for other symptoms that could be related to an STI such as a rash, abdominal pain, fever or bleeding among others. They will also take into account the patient’s sexual history and any medications.
If the losses are caused by infection then left untreated they could spread into the reproductive tract, become more severe, result in infertility or infect sexual partners. Potential causes include bacterial vaginosis, cervical polyps, allergy, genital tumors, genital warts, gential herpes, candidosis or trichomonas. These vary in their prognosis and treatment, but generally the sooner you get treated the better your prognosis will be. Thus if you have any reason to suspect your vaginal secretions might be caused by infection, you should get seen by a doctor as soon as possible.