Q. I am a 34-year-old woman.
I am 1.57m tall and weigh 44kg.
My menstrual cycle has always been irregular. About two years ago, it stopped completely.
Recently, I have also noticed that my vaginal discharge is a yellowish greenish colour. I do not experience any discomfort.
What is the cause of this and should I do anything about it?
A. No menstrual flow for two years at a young age would require further investigation by a gynaecologist.
At the age of 34, you should still have regular menstrual flow.
When you consult a gynaecologist, he will examine you and perform certain investigations, such as checking your hormonal profile and arranging for an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.
The cause of your concern may be reversible or irreversible.
If the cause is reversible, the gynaecologist would advise you on the appropriate treatment.
Occasionally, if the cause cannot be determined, you may need further diagnostic imaging tests.
You may want to undergo the investigations suggested by the gynaecologist to exclude premature ovarian failure, where the ovarian function stops before 40 years of age.
Women generally reach menopause at 51.
This diagnosis can be confirmed by performing hormonal blood tests.
During the consultation, inform your doctor about the recent yellowish greenish vaginal discharge.
This is because most physiological vaginal discharge should be colourless.
Vaginal discharge functions as "housekeepers" to the vagina.
Vaginal discharge may change in colour, odour, amount and texture in relation to your menstrual cycle.
It originates from the glands inside the vagina and cervix, and helps to remove dead cells and bacteria.
However, when the discharge changes to a colour that deviates from the norm, you may have an infection.
An abnormal colour change of the discharge can also stem from antibiotic use, contraceptive use, diabetes, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, pelvic infection, and yeast or bacterial infections.
Your gynaecologist will perform a vaginal examination and a swab test to confirm if there is indeed an infection there.
Treatment will be based on the results of the swab.
These vaginal infections are easily treated with topical vaginal cream or vaginal pessaries, which are "bullets" inserted into the vagina.
Some patients may need oral antibiotics.
Overall, good hygiene will help in reducing vaginal discharge.
DR SUZANNA SULAIMAN
Consultant at the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital
This article was published on April 10 in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.
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