Thu | Jan 23, 2020

Dear Doc | Why am I always wet down there

Published:Sunday | December 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Q Dear Doc, I have had a discharge seemingly like forever. I have been to many doctors and nobody seems to know what is wrong. I already know all the answers to the questions ... it doesn't itch, it doesn't smell, doesn't have a funny colour. It is just there and making my underwear damp. I have simply resorted to wearing panty liners because I have given up. Is there anything I can do?

A I understand your annoyance and frustration; however, let me try to allay your concerns. First, vaginal discharge is what doctors use to describe the fluid that comes from the vagina. It is made up of cells from the vagina and cervix, as well as bacteria, mucus, and water.

In a similar way you have saliva in the mouth, having a vaginal discharge is normal and should be there each day. A normal discharge can be white, clear or thick, depending on where in the menstrual cycle you are; but most importantly, it does not smell bad.

The amount of vaginal discharge that is normal for each woman is quite varied, and a woman can have a different amount of vaginal discharge at different times.

Instances where a woman might notice more vaginal discharge include:

- When she is pregnant.

- When using hormone containing birth control.

- During the two weeks before she gets her period.

As the menstrual cycle progresses, the discharge becomes more apparent. Shortly after menstruating is when the discharge is thin and clear, and may not even be very noticeable to most women. As the cycle progresses, it appears whiter and thicker in consistency. After ovulation is when it is quite noticeable - thick, and is usually when it will be dampen the underwear. This usually occurs for the two weeks before the menses returns.

If the vaginal discharge occurs with any of the following, it is abnormal and you should see your doctor.

- Itching to the vagina;

- Redness, pain, or swelling to the vagina;

- Discharge that is greenish-yellow, or has blood in it;

- Discharge that smells bad;

- Pain in the lower part of the belly;

- Fever.

Otherwise, it is a normal discharge and doesn't require any treatment, or for anything to be done.

Over the next few cycles, observe your vaginal discharge and the changes that occur to it as it progresses, and you will see there is nothing to worry about.

Q Dear Doc, my skin stings me and it burns me too. Some little white substances and bumps are also on my skin.

A Unfortunately, I may not be able to tell you exactly what is causing this or what it is, because your description is quite vague, and skin conditions are best assessed by seeing them. It does seem, however, that your skin has contacted something that irritates it, or something that you are allergic to, resulting in what is called a dermatitis.

Common things that irritate the skin and can cause a dermatitis may be found in products you use every day, such as soaps or cleansers, perfumes, or cosmetics, the metal in some kinds of jewellery, and some plants.

You can develop a dermatitis the first time your skin makes contact with an irritant, but it is also possible to get a dermatitis from something you have been in contact with before without any problems.

Dermatitis causes a skin rash, and your skin might also be dry, itchy, or cracked. When severe, the skin becomes painful, with blisters, oozing, and crusting of the skin with widespread swelling.

If you have an idea of what may be irritating your skin, you can avoid using it or protect your skin from contact with it; for example, by wearing gloves if you think it may be caused by a detergent or cleaning chemicals.

Try using soothing skin products to help with the discomfort, such as an unscented, thick moisturising cream or petroleum jelly.

If your rash does not go away within two weeks, or if it gets worse, visit a dermatologist. Your doctor can help figure out what could be causing your rash, as well as prescribe various treatments or medicines to help your rash.