According to Ministry of Health, nearly 90% women are prone to this gynecological disease, and the rate increases 20% each year. Leucorrhea, also known as whites, is a gynecological disease which is characterized by thick, whitish or yellowish vaginal discharge.
Some vaginal discharge is normal which aims to maintain its chemical balance and lubrication. It also helps to flush out unwanted microorganisms and keep vagina healthy. Whitish or yellow color of the secretion discharge indicates infection in internal tissues and a variety of other factors.
More than 30% of girls suffer from leucorrhoea and feel discomfort and pain. It may be mild to severe, and varies from person to person. It may be thick and viscid, and foul smelling if it is caused by some infection.
Types of Leucorrhoea
There are 2 types – physiological and pathological.
Physiological leucorrhoea is an excessive discharge or secretions of a normal vagina. They are slimy in nature. Here only the amount of secretion is increased and all the other nature of secretion is the same. Also, any leucocytes, pus cells, bacteria or blood is not present in the discharge.
Causes: High levels of estrogen hormone, puberty, menopause, sexual excitement.
Pathological leucorrhoea is a discharge occurring due to disease or malfunction of the female reproductive tract. It is the alarming sign for requirement of cleanliness and treatment. The nature of discharge varies from slimy to thick bloody discharge with foul odor.
Infections: Fungus – Candida albicans can easily flourish in moist circumstances and is commonly promoted by synthetic undergarments and poor hygienic condition.
Parasites – Trichomonas vaginalis causes the Trichomoniasis which spreads usually through sexual intercourse and moist clothes.
Bacteria – Gardnerella vaginalis and chlamydia are the prime causes in bacterial infections. Also, it is frequently seen in venereal diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, and AIDS.
Injury: Injury to the vagina or cervix or womb during childbirth, abortion, or excessive sexual indulgence can cause erosions and infections with discharges.
Poor hygienic conditions and lack of cleanliness: Non-hygienic measures, especially during menses, can create infection and cause leucorrhoea.
Diabetes and anemia: Both can provoke infections due to weakened immunity.
Spread of infection: From adjacent urinary tract (UTI) or alimentary tract (worms).
Irritation of IUCD: Intra uterine contraceptive device can cause pain and discharges.
Sprays and jellies: These used by males for provoking sexual act and jellies and drugs taken by females to kill sperms to avoid conception can also irritate and initiate the infective process.
Leucorrhoea can further be classified as cervical leucorrhoea or vaginal leucorrhoea, i.e., according to the place of its origin – cervix or vagina.
The discharge is often white. Flow may stiffen the linen or simply leave back a trace of white powder or scales. In most cases, discharge emanates from the uterine cavity or vagina. There is weakness as well as pain in the lumbar region and the calves. A burning sensation may be present along with constipation. There appears to be a direct relationship of this disease with a nervous temperament. The patient develops black patches under the eyes. Late nights precipitate the attack.
- Complete blood count to know general health condition.
- Smear of discharge to distinguish physiological and pathological leucorrhoea.
- Discharge culture to determine causative organism.
- Cervical biopsy to rule out cervical cancer.
- Urine analysis.
- Maintenance of hygiene. Wash undergarments with an antibiotic solution, and let them dry under the sun.
- Sexual intercourse during heavy discharges should be avoided.
- Stress and strain should be avoided since it may affect the hormonal level and may increase secretions.
- Sharing of towels and underwear should be avoided.
- Balanced and nutritious diet should be taken.
- Plenty of water and juices should be taken to avoid urinary tract infection.
- Avoid heavy, oily, fried, spicy, and sour foods. Tea, coffee, alcohol, aerated drinks, and non-vegetarian food should also be avoided.
- Betel nuts after meals are very helpful.
- Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and salads.
- Increase liquids in the diet such as water, soup, milk and juice. These help to flush out the toxins.
Natural & Home Remedies
1. Hydrotherapy/hip bath/cold sitz bath are effective in increasing blood circulation in the vagina. Cold water bath also helps relieve congestion in the pelvic region. Take daily hydrotherapy to speed up healing.
2. Exercise regime helps in treatment of leucorrhoea. Exercises improve blood circulation and builds immunity to bacterial attacks.
3. Aromatherapy with anti-infective essential oils of rosemary, oregano, and sandalwood is effective natural cure for leucorrhoea.
4. Boil 2-3 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in 1 liter of water on medium flame for ½ hour. Use this water for washing the vagina 3-4 times a day.
5. Take 1 teaspoon of powdered asparagus root with 1 teaspoon of honey twice a day.
6. Boil 3 tablespoons of rice in 3 cups of water in an open pan. Remove the rice by straining the water. Drink the water lukewarm with 1 teaspoon of sugar (preferably unrefined sugar) in it. Have this once a day.
7. Soak 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in ½ cup of water overnight. In the morning, swallow the seeds and drink the water. Continue this for a month.
8. In 1 liter of water, put 200 gm ladyfinger. Boil this decoction until the water reduces to half. Strain the mixture and add sugar to taste. Drink 70 ml of this decoction, every 3 hours.
9. Put some walnut tree leaves in 1 liter of water and boil until the mixture is reduced to half. Use it on the affected area, with the help of a douche.
10. Put some guava leaves in 1 liter of water and boil until the mixture is reduced to half. Use it on the affected area, with the help of a douche.
11. Have 2 gm of Amalaki powder, with sugar or honey. It is effective in curing leucorrhea.
12. Consume cranberry juice every day, as it is believed to be beneficial in treating leucorrhea.
13. Consume banana 2 times a day. Having betel nut crushed with rose petals and sugar, is also said to be good for treating leucorrhea.
14. Fig tree and banyan tree: A douche for the vaginal tract made of the decoction of the bark of banyan and fig tree is effective in treating leucorrhoea. One tablespoon each of the powders of the bark of both the trees should be boiled in 1 liter of water till it reduces to half. Douching with this lukewarm decoction will keep the vaginal tract healthy.
15. Mango seeds: Dry and grind the mango seeds to make a powder. Add a little water to this powder to make a fine paste, apply this paste outside and inside the vaginal tract to treat leucorrhoea.
16. Turmeric powder and garlic: Mix turmeric used as a douche on genital areas . This can be done at least thrice a day for better and fast relief.
17. Banana: Eating ripe or over-ripe banana is very beneficial in treatment of leucorrhoea. Take one banana and add some clarified butter (ghee) to it. Take at least twice daily for beneficial results.
18. Cumin seeds: Grind some cumin seeds and mix it with honey and apply over the vaginal area. A concoction made of cumin seeds is very effective in treating leucorrhoea.
What Ayurveda Says
As per Ayurveda, leucorrhoea is called ‘Shwetapradara’ which means excessive white discharge. It is caused by aggravation of kapha dosha. The causative factors (mainly diet) as mentioned below result in aggravation of kapha dosha. This aggravated kapha, along with other factors, vitiate rasa dhatu (nutrient plasma) present in the vaginal tract, which leads to the painless discharge of white colored fluid from the vagina.
1. Boil water with 2 triphaladhi choornam and use it for hip bath.
2. Dry Indian gooseberry (amla) and liquorice (yashtimadhu) in equal quantities, powdered and mixed with thrice the quantity of honey is an effective drug for this disease.
3. You may as use the following medicines, but as prescribed by the physician.
Pushyanuga churna, Chandraprabhavati, Shatavari gulam, Musalikhadiradhi kashayam.
The detection and treatment of leucorrhea is not complicated with modern medical diagnostics and professional knowledge of the physicians. The treatment need to be combined with preventive measures; sometimes need to treat the partner also to avoid recurrence.