Have you ever experienced a white, pale yellow, or greenish discharge from the vagina and wondered what it is? It is a vaginal discharge, medically known as likoria/ leukorrhea in females which may be a normal vaginal lubricant to prevent dryness or may be a sign of infection depending on the color, odor, and consistency.
- Likoria is produced by the vagina as a white creamy discharge in females after puberty to keep the vagina moist and free from infections
- Leucorrhea becomes foul-smelling and can discolor in case of fungal or bacterial infections
- Vaginal pain, soreness, and itching occur in case of abnormal leukorrhea and requires immediate medical attention
- A gynecologist treats pathological leukorrhea using vaginal anti-biotic or anti-fungal creams and suggests good vaginal hygiene practices.
What is Likoria?
A likoria (لیکوریا) or leukorrhea is a milky-white discharge from the vagina. Likoria is a normal physiological vaginal secretion occurring in women after puberty owing to hormonal changes or sexual excitement. However, an abnormal vaginal discharge has altered color, foul smell, and changes in consistency and affects almost 43% of women during child-bearing age. Likoria is also produced during early pregnancy.
Let’s learn about normal and pathological leucorrhea and its treatment!
Types of Leukorrhea
Depending on the consistency, odor, and volume of vaginal discharge, leukorrhea is classified as;
1. Physiological Likoria
Physiological or healthy leukorrhea is important to lubricate the vagina and prevent vaginal infections.
- Normal vaginal discharge: It is a sign of puberty occurring in women. A white transparent thick or thin odorless vaginal discharge is normal and about 4ml of it is released every day.
- Likoria during the Menstrual Cycle: The release timeline of leukorrhea varies throughout the menstrual cycle. The discharge is white milky and sticky in consistency at the start of the cycle and becomes smooth and runny (similar to egg white) during ovulation. Once the ovulation is complete, the former sticky texture returns. As the periods begin, the vaginal discharge is reduced. This vaginal discharge also occurs in pregnancy.
- Likoria in unmarried girls: It is also a normal condition. After puberty, almost at the age of 10-11 years, every girl faces this whitish discharge from the vagina. If the discharge has an odor or any change in color with itching, it shows some type of infection in the body/ vagina or cervix.
2. Pathological Likoria
Pathological leukorrhea is generally caused due to cervical and vaginal abnormalities. The discharge becomes yellow and foul-smelling.
The pathological conditions leading to pathological leukorrhea include;
- Cervicitis: The inflammation of the cervix can result from sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea. It is associated with the presence of abnormal leukorrhea
- Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC): About 22% of abnormal leukorrhea is caused by VVC which is an infection affecting the lower female reproductive tract caused by yeast. Its most common symptom is an abnormal vaginal discharge. It is common in diabetic females. Itching is most commonly associated with yeast infections, but it can occur with any type of infection or irritation.
- Trichomoniasis: 25% of abnormal vaginal discharge involves trichomoniasis as the major cause. It causes a frothy and itchy y discharge. Trichomonas or bacterial vaginosis is usually indicated by yellow, green, or grey discharge. Bacterial vaginosis has a peculiar, fishy odor.
Causes of Likoria
Abnormal leukorrhea is a yellowish discharge that is foul-smelling and consistency is also altered. It is itchy and causes irritation in the vagina as well.
The causes leading to this abnormal vaginal discharge are many which include;
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): If your partner has a diagnosed or undiagnosed sexual infection, it can travel through the vagina. These diseases also increase the risk of developing HIV
- Poor hygiene practices: Not taking regular showers, using scented body wash, and keeping the vagina wet with water after a shower can increase the risk of bacterial infection. This leads to abnormal likoria
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Thrush, viruses, or bacteria can cause UTIs which alters the color and consistency of leucorrhea
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases: Pelvic infections can also result in pathological leucorrhea.
Symptoms of the Disease
Leucorrhea is a normal physiological vagina discharge of milky-white consistency but the normal physiology is altered due to the causes mentioned above.
It is important to look for the symptoms that are indicative of an abnormal vaginal discharge. The symptoms that require closed monitoring and consultation include;
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Yellow/ green or discolored discharge
- Clumpy discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Redness in vagina
- Itching and burning sensations in the vagina
A new vaginal discharge characterized by fever, abdominal pain, or pain during intercourse may indicate a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, gonorrhea and chlamydia are rarely associated with symptoms.
Treatment of Abnormal Leukorrhea
- Antibiotics and anti-microbial agents are among the most effective treatment for abnormal leukorrhea caused by bacterial vaginosis. Trichomoniasis is treated with metronidazoles
- Vaginal creams: Patients are also given gel-based vaginal creams to treat yeast infections
- Treating STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases are among the common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. Treating STIs using antivirals or antibacterial can help treat leukorrhea
- Anti-fungal creams: Yeast or fungal infections require anti-fungal creams or gels application
If you have recurring yeast infections and recognize the symptoms, you can use over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams. If your symptoms do not show improvement, see your gynecologist for a check-up to confirm the diagnosis and change your treatment.
Sexual partners do not need to get treatment unless they have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease or have recurring infections. No other factor makes you susceptible to infection. If your sexual partner has a new discharge or discomfort when urinating or during intercourse, he should be evaluated by a doctor.
Likoria Treatment at Home
- Maintain good hygiene: Keep your vagina clean by washing gently with a bar of mild soap and warm water.
- Avoid scented products: Never use scented soap or any other product inside your vagina.
- Wipe vaginal area properly: Always wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of infections
- Prevent UTIs: Drink cranberry juice once or twice a day to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections
- Eat a healthy diet: Consume vegetables like ladyfinger, lemon, and broccoli that can maintain the PH of your vagina in the normal range. Eat fresh fruits like bananas daily.
Sometimes likoria can also be seen in males. It is also due to different types of infections including sexually transmitted diseases causing itching, and redness on male genitalia.
If you are experiencing an itchy vagina with a foul-smelling yellowish or greenish discharge, consult with the top Gynecologists through Marham
1. Is it normal to have likoria?
Likoria is a physiological vaginal discharge that occurs after puberty, during sexual excitement, and in pregnancy. However, if the normal milky-white likoria changes into an abnormal yellow foul-smelling discharge, it indicates an underlying bacterial or fungal infection.
2. Is likoria a sexually transmitted disease?
Likoria itself is not a STD. Abnormal likoria is caused by a number of bacterial and fungal infections. Gonnorhea, chlamydia, and other such sexually transmitted diseases are the most common causes of leucorrhea.