What Are the Causes of Leukorrhea?

By Marcie Doyle

Leukorrhea is vaginal discharge that occurs naturally. It appears normally during pregnancy as a thin, milky, white substance and has little or no odor. As pregnancy progresses, the amount usually increases. Leukorrhea can also occur in women that aren’t pregnant, and in female infants for two or three weeks post-natal because of their exposure to estrogen during fetal development.

Causes of Leukorrhea

When present during pregnancy, leukorrhea is caused by increased generation of hormones, including estrogen, as well as greater blood flow to the vaginal area. It is a combination of secretions from the cervix and vagina, dead skin cells, and normal vaginal bacterial flora. It is not harmful, and is not indicative of a problem. Leukorrhea may also be present in non-pregnant women during ovulation, the onset of vaginal infections or sexually transmitted diseases, or before a girl’s first menstruation.

Leukorrhea as Early Pregnancy Sign

Leukorrhea could be a very early sign of pregnancy, although it cannot be a clear identifier when it stands alone. In the presence of other signs, however, such as morning sickness, increase in frequency of urination, and/or a missed period, a woman should take a pregnancy test for confirmation.

Treatment of Leukorrhea

Leukorrhea is a normal part of pregnancy, and doesn’t need to be stopped or treated. Many women feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner if the discharge is heavy. Keep the vaginal area clean and dry, and refrain from wearing tight pants or nylons.

Abnormalities in Leukorrhea

Vaginal discharge that is green or yellow or includes redness or vaginal itching could be a sign of a vaginal or cervical infection. Yeast infections are one of the more common infections women experience during pregnancy, and can easily be treated. Abnormal discharge can also occur as a result of a sexually transmitted disease.

Medical Consultation for Leukorrhea

Contact a physician if other symptoms accompany your leukorrhea or if there is itching or burning in the vaginal area.

About the Author

Marcie Doyle is a copywriter, editor and proofreader from Chicago with 10 years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, web sites, catalogs, print advertisements, direct mail pieces and more. Doyle has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.