Clumpy white discharge that resembles cottage cheese is one of the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection.
Before you diagnose yourself with yeast infection, it is important to know that it's normal for a woman to have white or clear vaginal discharge from time to time.
In fact a normal vaginal discharge is necessary to:
- Keep the vagina moist and wet and also to protect the vagina from various infections.
- Wash away bacteria and dead cells hereby keeping the vaginal clean.
Vagina discharge varies from woman to woman and changes in texture and quantity during ovulation, before menstruation and during pregnancy.
However with all the benefits that comes with having a white and clear vaginal discharge, some vaginal discharge are not normal and require medical attention.
An example of an abnormal discharge is a clumpy white vaginal discharge that could also be yellow in color.
It is also important to know that hormonal changes in a woman's body also plays a key role in the quantity and look of her vaginal discharge.
For instance, a woman with estrogen dominance is prone to have excessive vaginal discharge.
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How can I differentiate a normal and abnormal vagina discharge?
Normal Vaginal Discharge
A white or clear vagina discharge is common and normal.
Vagina discharge is produced by the cervix and passes through the vagina to the vulva and labia.
A Normal vagina discharge is :
- Made up of skin cells of the vagina and cervix
- Milky white or clear
- Thick, Watery or Mucus like
- Slippery or wet during ovulation
- Thick and Sticky days before Ovulation
Abnormal Vagina Discharge
If your vaginal discharge has the following characteristics then it's not normal anymore.
Look out for any of these signs in your vaginal discharge:
- Clumpy white vaginal discharge like cottage cheese
- yellow or green vagina discharge
- Pinkish blood discharge
- bad or terrible odor like fish
- itching of the vagina opening
- Excessive discharge than normal
- Burning sensation during urination and sex
- Painful sexual intecourse
- Abdominal discomfort
What Causes Clumpy White Discharge?
A vaginal discharge that is clumpy and white that looks like cottage cheese is due to fungus infection.
The fungus infection is caused by yeast and the name of the particular organism that causes yeast infection is Candida albicans.
A small amount of yeast (candida) is naturally present in the vagina at all times. And this is normal.
However when there is an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina it causes yeast infection.
This Clumpy White vaginal Discharge caused by yeast infection is usually odorless.
If the white discharge has a fishy odor, it may be bacteria vaginosis.
Therefore if you suspect you have yeast infection, you should go see your doctor immediately.
Yeast infection is common in women than in men that is because a woman's vaginal is a perfect breeding ground for yeast.
Thus an imbalance between the yeast and bacteria in the vagina is a leading cause of clumpy white vagina discharge.
A change in the PH balance of the vagina can have an effect on how healthy the vagina is.
Let's take a closer look at what causes an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina
Clumpy White vaginal Discharge from Excessive Growth of Yeast
Vaginal yeast infection is caused by an uncontrollable growth of yeast in the vaginal than normal.
Here are the main reasons why yeast infection could occur:
Dry Vagina: A dry vagina is more susceptible to infection. Having sex when the vagina is dry can cause the mucous membrane to be inflamed and sore.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics kill a large number of bacteria in the body including the good ones and the bad ones. A decent amount of good bacteria is needed in the vagina to keep the yeast in check. When there is not enough bacteria then the yeast starts to multiply and leads to yeast infection.
Wearing Tights and Tight Trousers: All fungi exceed in warm and moist conditions. Tight jeans and trousers prevent the circulation of fresh air around the vaginal opening and rub together when you walk. These makes it a condusive environment for yeast to grow
Vaginal deodorants: Vaginal deodorants may cause irritation of the mucous membranes and possible leading to yeast infection. Vaginal deodorants may cause allergic reaction by making the vaginal dry and also itchy.
Even though vaginal yeast infection is not viewed as a sexually transmitted disease(STD). This is because yeast infection was also found in celibates and women who are not sexually active.
Poor Hygiene: Wearing damp and dirty clothes may lead to a yeast infection.
Another important thing to note is that the infection can be passed from the mouth to the genital organs.
In some cases, the yeast infection may be passed during sexual intercourse, so it is possible to get it from your sexual partner.
Yeast is always present in the mouth, gastro-intestinial tract and vagina and this is normal.
Symptoms of White vaginal Discharge Caused by Yeast Infection
Here are the signs and symptoms of Cottage cheese clumpy white discharge (yeast infection):
- Itching and irritation of the vulva,vaginal opening, vagina and labia
- Burning Sensation and irritation mostly during sex and urination
- Vulvar Swelling and redness of the Vulva
- Painful Sexual intercourse
- Vaginal discharge that looks like white cottage cheese.
Getting Medical Help for Clumpy White vaginal Discharge
If you suspect you have yeast infection due to an abnormal thick white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
Then look out for other signs and symptoms of yeast infection like itching of the vaginal opening,painful sex, burning sensation during sex and urination.
It is important to seek a formal diagnosis and medical help as soon as possible.
To be 100% sure that you have yeast infection if you have never had it before you'll need to be diagnosed by a doctor.
This is necessary because there are 8 other vaginal infections that share similiar and related symptoms with yeast infection.
If you don't treat white clumpy discharge and other symptoms caused by yeast infection immediately, the infected area will only become more irritating and painful.
Diagnosing White Discharge Caused by Yeast Infection
There are two ways to accurately diagnose that the clumpy thick white discharge is a yeast infection.
1. Microscopic Examination: A microscopic examination of the vaginal solution mixed with saline is carried out.
Theses would enable the yeast cells to be seen under the microscope.
Another ways of diagnosing yeast infection is by:
2. Vagina Culture & Swab: A swab is collected in women who have a severe or recurring vaginal discharge with itching or burning sensation to determine the type of infection.
Cultures are prepared by placing a sample of the vaginal secretions on Nickerson's medium or Sabourauds's agar.
The result can take 72 hours.
Treatment of Clumpy thick White Discharge caused by yeast infection
The treatment of Yeast Infection is depending on how complicated and uncomplicated the infection is.
Yeast Infection can be treated through taking pills or through a vaginal treatment.
The Vaginal Yeast Infection can be treated by:
Over The Counter Pessaries and Anti-fungal Cream
Non-complicated white clumpy discharge can be treated by over the counter Pessaries and Anti-fungal cream
Pessaries are pills that is inserted into the vagina to treat infection.
Pessaries are inserted into the vagina with the use of an applicator.
Anti-fungal cream is also used in conjunction with the pessaries for effective treatment.
Common treatment courses are:
- Clotrimazole pessaries 200mg per vagina nocte for 3 nights or 500mg for 1 night.
- Antifungal Cream containing Steriods e.g Clotrimazole with hydrocortisone is used for local irritation.
All these treatment can be found over the counter.
There are several kinds of pessaries that can be used to treat white clumpy discharge caused by yeast infection. Here is a few of them:
Canesten, Femeron (Gyno-Daktain), Pevaryl, Gyno-Pevaryl and Ecostatin.
Remember those Pessaries are usually used with antifungal cream such as Casten, Daktarin and Femeron.
Over The Counter Oral Tablets To Treat White Discharge (Cottage Cheese )
Oral Tablets are one of the most effective way, used to treat Yeast Infection. These Oral Tablets works by killing off Fungus within the body.
Anti-Fungal drugs are designed to be taken by mouth.
Examples of Antifungal Drugs include: Nystan, Nizoral, Sporanox, Diflucan.
The Truth is most women prefer to take oral tablets than to insert pessaries or apply cream to their vaginas.
With the use of Nizoral Drug research has shown you wouldn't need to use pessaries or creams to kill off yeast infection causing the cottage cheese clumpy white discharge.
Side Effects of Oral Treatment For Clumpy White Discharge
Like most medications have side effects, the side effect of oral tablets for treatment of clumpy white discharge include:
Nausea, Stomach Upsets and heart burns, headaches and dizziness.
Remember to read the instructions on the label on how and when to take the oral medication
Some medication are most effective after meals so if you take them before meal it may not work.
For example, Sporanax is most efficient after a meal. The acid secreted during digestion is necessary for the drug to be effective.
Pregnant women should ask the doctor about the effect of these drugs on pregnancy before taking them.
Your doctor will be able to prescribe some other alternative treatments that won't interfere with your pregnancy.
Oral tablets provides a lasting treatment for your clumpy white discharge including all the other symptoms of yeast infection.
They provide lasting treatment compared to Pessaries and Anti-Fungal Cream.
Prevention of Clumpy White Discharge Caused by Yeast Infection
So how do you prevent white clumpy vaginal discharge caused by yeast infection:
1. Wearing Cotton underwear may help to reduce the chances of developing a yeast infection.
2. Thoroughly dry vaginal area after taking a bath or swim.
3. Avoid Douching
4. Avoid frequent or prolong use of Antibiotics
5. Monitor your blood sugar level if you have diabetes: This is because there is a high content of sugar in the blood stream and the bacteria found in the vagina can't cope with this. Additionally Sugar provides fungus with sweet food that it needs to survive. Where there is sugar, yeast infection will continue to cause clumpy white discharge.
6. Avoid wearing tights and tight trousers as fungus thrive in warm and moist environment.
7. Vaginal deodorants can also provoke Fungus Infection.
Are there any home remedies to treat yeast infection?
Home Remedies to Treat Cottage Cheese Clumpy thick White Discharge
Yogurt is one of the most effective treatment for cottage cheese clumpy white discharge (yeast infection).
Yogurt contains a friendly bacteria called Lactobacilli.
Lactobacilli helps to keep the vaginal fairly acidic so that yeast infection finds it difficult to grow.
With the introduction of Lactobacilli, yeast infection finds it difficult to survive in the acidic environment.
The best source of Lactobacilli is Plain unpasturised yogurt.
Avoid flavoured, fruity or sweetened yogurt.
Here is what to do:
- Insert Natural Yogurt into the vagina twice a day for about a week.
- Rub yogurt on irritated skin around the vagina to soothe inflammation.
- Add unflavoured and natural yogurt to your diet
Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar helps to restore the acidic balance of the vagina. As we know already yeast infection thrives in an alkaline environment.
- Use 2 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar with no-added sugar to 600ml or 1 pint of water.
- Soak tampon in the mixture and insert into the vagina overnight.
3. Tree Tea Oil
Australian tree tea oil has a lot of healing properties for treating fungi infection.
- Put one drop of tree tea oil on a cotton bud. Swab the cotton bud around the vagina and infected areas.
- Also add tree tea oil to your bath.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is also used in the treatment of fungi infection.
- Apply coconut oil to the irritated, itching or burning vaginal opening.
5. Bicarbonate Soda
Bicarbonate Soda is used in making the vagina very alkaline.
This makes it difficult for the fungi infection to thrive in a very alkaline environment.
Normally Fungi thrives in an alkaline environment but when it is too alkaline they can't survive.
Here is what to do:
- Insert Bicarbonate Soda inform of soda mints high into the vagina
Garlic is a form of antibiotics that has been used for over a 100 years to treat various types vaginal infections.
Insert garlic cloves into the vagina, or slice a clove into half. Wrap it in a gauze. Insert into the vagina overnight.
When To See Your Doctor
You should see a doctor:
- If this is your first time having an abnormal cottage cheese white or yellow vaginal discharge.
- If you are or think you may be pregnant.
- If you notice any abnormal or irregular bleeding or blood stained discharge.
- You have Vaginal sores, ulcers or blisters.
- You have a painful sex.
- You have any pain in your lower abdomen.
- You have difficulty passing urine.
Remember that one of signs of yeast infection is when the white clumpy discharge is odourless and looks like cottage cheese.
In addition yeast infection also causes itching and irritation around the vagina and also painful sex and urination.
Other Types of Thick White Clumpy Discharge that is Not Yeast
All clumpy white discharge is not caused by yeast infection. You can have thick clumpy white discharge as well during early pregnancy or before your period or as a sign of pregnancy.
So Let me take you through other types of thick clumpy white vaginal discharges and what they mean.
#1. Thick White Clumpy Discharge No Itching or Smell
If you have a small thick white clumpy discharge with no itching or burning sensation and odourless then you do not need to worry or let it bother you.
It is normal for a woman to have a thick white discharge depending on what is going on within her reproductive organs and also due to hormonal changes in a woman's monthly menstrual cycle.
#2. Thick White Clumpy Discharge in Early Pregnancy
It is normal for a woman to notice a thick white discharge during early pregnancy and throughout pregnancy.
During pregnancy the cervix which is the neck of the womb gets softer and also the vaginal walls get softer, this leads to an increased vaginal discharge or secretion to help prevent any form of infection from getting to the womb.
As your pregnancy progresses the White discharge will be a Thick mucus and during the last week of pregnancy, you may see a thick mucus with some blood this is also known as "show". Getting a show is a sign that your body is ready to go into birth and labour may start in a few days time.
If you experience excessive clumpy white discharge during pregnancy with itching or burning sensation then you should see the doctor straight away. Avoid taking over the counter medication when pregnant.
#3. Thick White Discharge Before Period
Thick white discharge days before your period is normal as long as the discharge is not itchy or you have a burning sensation around your genital organs.
White discharge before your period is usually triggered by the levels of the estrogen and progesterone hormones in the blood.
After Ovulation has occurred, there is an increase of progesterone hormone in the blood to thicken the walls of the uterus in preparation for housing a fertilised egg .
But when no fertilisation occurs the progesterone levels in the blood starts to drop and the walls of the womb is shed as your next menstrual period.
These changes in hormonal levels causes a thicker or creamier white discharge before your period.
#4. White Discharge as a Sign of Pregnancy
One of the early signs of pregnancy is a thick or milky white vaginal discharge.
This is often noticed around the time your period is expected. The thick or milky white discharge is caused by changes in hormone during pregnancy.
You don't need to worry about this discharge unless it has a odour or itchy or you have a burning sensation.
In the case of pregnancy, avoid using over the counter medication but rather seek your doctor's help.
In conclusion, thick clumpy white discharge should be observed carefully especially if it looks like cottage cheese and it is itchy and has a burning sensation.