Leucorrhea- A Social Stigma

“This is about respect for women, the judgments that women make, and their doctors about their reproductive health. It's an important part of who women are, their reproductive health. “ - Barack Obama

Every third woman in India suffers from leucorrhea (white vaginal discharge). What is amusing is that this
problem is something rarely talked about. The prevalence rate is so high, a large part of our society is still
oblivious that an infection like this even exists. The reason behind people not opening up is the social stigma,
people feeling ashamed of talking about any problem related to reproductive health specifically in the case of
women in general. We live in the twenty-first century where women's empowerment and their growth and
development are actively discussed and acted upon on the contrary people still feel ashamed to talk about
menstruation and sanitary napkins are still sold and bought in black polybags. Women are shunned and
shamed for opening up about their problems whether it be mental health or reproductive health. But the other
aspect of the same is that there are people who try to bring every possible change with their art and voice.
White vaginal discharge is a normal secretion generally occurring before menstruation or sexual stimulation
etc. but when the secretion is thick whitish, yellowish, or greenish along with foul odor and itching it is called
leucorrhea. Women from rural areas are prone to this due to the lack of hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases,
unavailability of proper facilities, etc. on the contrary the percentage of women infected by the same in an urban
area may be lesser but the percentage doesn’t vary a lot. Three types of leucorrhea are found
 Physiologic: Vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism to maintain the natural chemical balance therefore,
vaginal discharges are a physiological factor that isn’t harmful until it’s causing any kind of discomfort or
irritation.
 Inflammatory: When there is inflammation in the vaginal mucosa along with unusual discharge,
irritation, and itching in the vagina.
 Parasitic: Parasitic leucorrhea is when it is caused by parasites trichomonas vaginalis along with burning
sensation, frequent urination, etc.
Symptoms:
 Excessive discharge of thick whitish, yellowish, greenish …
 Headache & Dizziness
 Burning sensation while urinating
 Itching & irritation in the vagina
 Pain in thighs and calve muscles
 Anemia
 Frequent urge to urinate
 Foul smell from the vagina
 Weakness
 Indigestion
 Pain & heaviness in the lower abdomen
 Pain during menstruation

Looking at the symptoms what we can see is that there are many of these symptoms in this infection that is quite
common in other diseases too. However, to know what had caused these, one needs to consult their physician
and get tested. The reasons it is generally caused are:
 Weakened immune system
 Stress & Anxiety
 Use of unhygienic undergarments
 Use of dirty toilets
 Sexually Transmitted Infections
 Urinary Tract Infections
 Lack of hygiene during menstruation
 Microbial or bacterial infections
 Anemia
 Cervical cancer

This seems like a minor infection which women feel hesitant to talk about however, this minor infection can
cause many major health problems like it can be transmitted to your partner, infertility or it could be a cause
of cervical cancer which can cause fatal consequences. Hence, it’s time to open up and talk about it with your
family, friend, or whoever you feel comfortable with. Get examined by your gynecologist and take all possible
measures to treat it properly if you are diagnosed with any kind of alarming situation.



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