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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes vaginal discharge post a menstruation?

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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 18 Aug 2017 in Women's Health
Question: Hello, I am having a discharge after my periods every month. I am not sexually active and am still a virgin. I am in my second year of college and I am an athlete. I need to know why I am still having this discharge and itching, etc after my periods every month majority of the month. I have been getting this every month since Sept 2016.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 37 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

The most likely cause of this discharge (assuming it is immediately after the menses and not 2 weeks later) is from yeast overgrowth. Yeast "infection" or more accurately, overgrowth, typically produces a whitish discharge, sort of curdy like cottage cheese (but not always), and itching and irritation.

I see that you were given fluconazole, which would be to treat fungal/yeast infection, but I'm not sure what the reason for the amoxicillin, and as it is an antibacterial, it could potentially make a yeast problem worse.

Yeast normally live on our skin and in the vagina but their growth is kept in check by a number of things, including the good bacteria that are also present there. In the vagina, in addition to good bacteria, the vaginal pH is slightly acidic normally, which is unfavorable for yeast.

It is likely that after your period, the normal flora (and pH) are altered, making it more favorable for yeast to grow.

I generally don't advise taking an oral anti fungal/anti yeast medicine for something like this because
1. they are hard on the liver (the oral form, not the topical form of it)
2. unlike some pathogenic bacteria, such as might cause pneumonia, where you can take an antibacterial and be done with it, with a microorganism that is part of the natural flora, it will come back when the conditions for it are right.

So let's talk about how to make conditions unfavorable for the yeast overgrowth:
1. Bathe in a tub with a cup of apple cider vinegar added to the water. This helps acidify the water - the yeast won't like it.
2. Keep the area as dry, and airy as possible. If you've ever made bread, you know that yeast like warm, dark, moist environments. Consider sleeping without underwear on (night gown or loose cotton pajamas are ok).
3. Avoid sugars/simple carbs, and alcohol during this time, although as you are an athlete (so I assume not pre-diabetic or diabetic) the carbs are less of an issue.
4. Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. These kill off yeasts' competitors.
5. If you use tampons, try pads, and vice versa, to see if this makes a difference for you.

Since this is a monthly thing for you, and I doubt one medicine is going to eradicate it for good, you may need to come up with a protocol for using a low risk anti-yeast agent on a monthly basis. You can try using an over the counter anti yeast cream monthly right after your period, but a better choice may be boric acid suppositories. This isn't a medicine like anti-yeast/anti-fungal, but can be very effective. If you can't get ready made ones, make your own by filling "size 0" gelatin capsules (you can ask the pharmacist for these if not on the shelf) with boric acid (about 600 mg). The typical protocol is one capsule in the vagina at bedtime for 7 days.

Has anyone done a culture of this discharge?




Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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