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Green vaginal discharge during pregnancy is a medical condition caused by a bacterial infection. During pregnancy, if the colour of your vaginal discharge changes to green and has an odd unpleasant smell, unlike the usual vaginal discharge, it is a sign of an infection. There are numerous reasons which may induce green discharge during pregnancy which will be discussed below.
What Is Green Discharge?
In the reproductive years of a woman’s life, it is normal to have a vaginal discharge, which is whitish in colour. However, the colour of the vaginal discharge changes in case of an infection. Green discharge is one of the types of vaginal discharge which is primarily observed during pregnancy. It is caused by a sexually transmitted infection known as ‘trichomoniasis’. Green mucus discharge during pregnancy is different from regular whitish discharge and is a sign of an infection. Unlike regular discharge, the green discharge has a thicker texture and a strong odour, accompanied by pain or itchiness. It can also be caused by the presence of verdoperoxidase enzyme. Another cause of green discharge could be the presence of vaginal warts. The sexually transmitted disease may cause viral infection in the vagina, which could result in vaginal warts.
Is It Normal to Have Green Vaginal Discharge While Pregnant?
No, having green vaginal discharge during pregnancy is not normal. Of course, pregnant women will have some sort of discharge, but most likely, it will be thin and milky, and have a mild odour. This discharge is known as leucorrhoea and is normal during pregnancy.
Causes of Green Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy
In most cases, the green vaginal discharge occurs due to a parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis, sometimes referred to as “trich”. However, there are also other sexually transmitted diseases or causes which can lead to the problem of green discharge. Following are some other causes of green vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a chronic disease which affects a woman’s reproductive system. It is an extreme consequence of gonorrhoea and chlamydia. It usually takes place when a woman has intercourse with someone infected with gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis
A type of bacterial inflammation which is caused by the excessive growth of bacteria found in the vagina. This infection may lead to a change in the colour of vaginal discharge, and it will have a strong odour.
Chlamydia is a short-term sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. A woman with this infection will have an abnormal vaginal discharge, which may also have a strong odour.
4. Foreign Objects
Inserting foreign bodies like a tampon or even the shreds of tissue paper in the vagina for an extended period of time can cause green vaginal discharge.
This sexually transmitted disease which comes from the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. A woman may get gonorrhoea from any kind of sexual contact: vaginal intercourse, oral intercourse, or anal intercourse. This venereal disease may lead to frothy discharge.
6. Cervical Infection
Cervical infection is another cause that may lead to an abnormal vaginal discharge. It can be identified using appropriate tests.
What Does Green Discharge Indicate?
Having vaginal discharge while pregnant is quite common and is a regular occurrence. It takes place due to a multitude of bodily changes one goes through while pregnant. This is completely healthy and normal. However, it is important to differentiate a normal vaginal discharge from the abnormal ones. Furthermore, if the colour of the vaginal discharge changes from whitish to yellowish-green, is thicker than its usual texture, has a strong repulsive odour, and is accompanied by other uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, itching or a burning sensation, then it could be a sign of bacterial infection. Also, if it occurs in excessive amounts, consulting a gynaecologist is recommended. Green discharge might also be an indication of one of the points given below:
1. Urinary Tract Infection
Often, green vaginal discharge is an indication of urinary tract infection. As the uterus grows large during pregnancy, it puts pressure on the ureters, causing urine to gather in the bladder, often resulting in the urinary tract or bladder infection. A burning feeling while urinating is a common symptom of a bladder infection.
2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Green discharge can also be an outcome of sexually transmitted diseases such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) or trichomoniasis. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a medical condition which takes place when the ecosystem of the vagina is disturbed, resulting in abnormal growth of the bacteria found naturally in the vagina. Vulvovaginal candidiasis, also known as yeast infection or thrush, is a result of the presence of yeast-like fungus called candida. VVC can affect a woman at any age but is more susceptible to occur during her pregnancy. Like BV, vulvovaginal candidiasis is also triggered when the vagina’s balance is disrupted.
3. Leaking Amniotic Fluid
Amniotic fluid, also known as Cameron’s fluid, serves as a protective liquid to support the growing foetus. Sometimes, during pregnancy, this fluid may and cause the vaginal discharge to appear yellowish-green in colour.
The green discharge caused by a bacterial infection is curable and is only a minor setback. A number of anti-fungal and antibiotic medications such as metronidazole, tinidazole and Cleocin can provide you relief from this problem. These medications also work magic against infection caused by Trichomonas.
What to Do About Green Vaginal Discharge
If you notice that you have green vaginal discharge, you should definitely talk to your gynaecologist about it. Once she confirms (and if she confirms) that the green discharge during pregnancy is not because of a bacterial infection or leaking amniotic fluid, there’s not much you will be able to do to help yourself. But to make your life a little comfortable during pregnancy, you can use thin pads or panty liners. However, it is recommended that you do not use tampons during pregnancy as tampons tend to absorb discharge which can aggravate any infection. Here are some tips that you can follow to tackle this problem:
1. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is really important, especially during pregnancy. Keep your private parts clean and healthy to minimise the risk of infections. Keep your genital area clean, especially after using a toilet each time. The right way to clean your genital area is by wiping down there from front to back instead of the back to front movement. Also, be mindful of changing the pads. The ideal way is to change your pads every four hours, regardless of whether your pad is fully soaked or not.
2. Avoid Douching
Medical experts recommend to avoid douching during pregnancy as it disturbs the natural balance of vaginal bacteria, also known as “vaginal flora”. Imbalance of vaginal bacteria makes you susceptible to infection by the growth of harmful bacteria in your body. Vaginal infections or bacterial vaginosis may also ramp up the risk of preterm labour and sexually transmitted infections.
3. Wear Cotton Underpants
Wear underpants which are made of pure cotton fabric. Cotton fabric is known to absorb sweat well and thereby would make it difficult for germs or other bacteria to grow down there.
4. Avoid Taking Bubble Baths
Bubble baths can cause irritation or itchiness in your private parts, which may further lead to vaginal infection. So as a preventive step, avoid taking bubble baths during pregnancy. Also, it is better to use non-scented soaps and body wash, as added chemicals could cause irritation.
When to Consult a Gynaecologist
While it is quite normal to experience vaginal discharge during pregnancy, there are a number of symptoms which may call for immediate medical attention. You should head to a clinic if you notice an increase in your vaginal discharge. Thicker discharge with a mucus-like texture gives off an unpleasant fishy odour and may have a yellowish-green colour. Watch out for these symptoms and consult a doctor immediately. You might experience pain with such discharge while you urinate or have pain during sexual intercourse with your partner. Usually, a bacterial infection can be treated with proper care and with the help of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
Green discharge is a cause of concern but does not put you or your baby in any immediate danger. Talk to your gynaecologist if the problem persists for long – she will guide you the best!