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Leukorrhea is the medical term for vaginal discharge. It is usually thick, sticky, and either a white or yellow color. It may have a mild odor or no smell at all.
The word leukorrhea comes from the Greek words leukos, meaning white, and rhoia, meaning flow or flux. Leukorrhea is also spelled leucorrhoea in British English.
Ordinarily leukorrhea isn’t a problem and doesn’t require medical attention. It’s very common during pregnancy and at certain points of a woman’s menstrual cycle, when the body’s increased estrogen production stimulates the body’s mucous membranes. It can also be beneficial, maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria and warding off infections in the birth canal during pregnancy.
However, sometimes leukorrhea is accompanied by pain, itching, burning sensations, or other kinds of irritation of the tissues around the vaginal opening. In these cases, leukorrhea may be a symptom of a yeast infection or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). A strong odor may also indicate a more serious problem.
When leukorrhea is caused by a yeast infection or STI, treating the medical problem should resolve the discharge. If you don’t have an infection, the leukorrhea should resolve on its own. In the meantime, you can wear pads or panty liners to feel more comfortable and reduce odors. Avoid douches, washes, and wipes marketed for feminine hygiene, as they can upset the vagina’s natural pH balance. Some people also find success with natural remedies including consuming figs, saffron, pomegranate, and okra.
If you are concerned about vaginal discharge, especially you are sexually active or if the discharge appears new or different, then you should speak to a medical professional.