Let’s begin with what a healthy vagina looks like. It is warm, pink and moist. The environment is slightly acidic due to the lactic acid produced by the many healthy bacteria residing there.
The medical term for the diverse mix of bacteria populating the vagina and regulating its acidity is called: “vaginal flora.”
The level of acidity or lack of can actually be measured by checking the pH level. A pH of 3.5 to 4.5 means there is a perfect amount of good bacteria and no over growth of bad bacteria that can cause vaginal odor, irritation or sometimes an infection. The pH balance fluctuates during the menstrual cycle and is least acidic on days just prior and during menstruation.
A healthy vagina produces secretions to cleanse and regulate itself. These secretions are normal vaginal discharge. All women have some vaginal discharge but the amount and appearance can change throughout the menstrual cycle. Normal discharge may appear clear, cloudy white and/or yellowish when dry on clothing. At times it may be thin and stringy. Many women state there is a noticeable “scent” or odor to their discharge particularly when sexually aroused. There are many things that can affect the amount and consistency of normal vaginal discharge with no need to be alarmed. They are: menstrual cycles, emotional stress, nutritional status, pregnancy, medications (including birth control pills) and sexual arousal.