It can be confusing to know the difference between leaking vaginal discharge and urine, especially if the dampness you feel is not preceded by the urge to urinate. After all, they’re both liquids that come out of your body, right? To make it easier to differentiate and know what is normal and what is not. In this post, I’ll provide useful information and practical tips to help you identify the cause of dampness in your underwear and guide you in seeking the appropriate treatment. So, if you’re tired of the uncertainty and embarrassment of not knowing, read on! Vaginal discharge is typically a normal, healthy function of the body. It can vary in color, consistency, and smell depending on the time of the month. Discharge is usually clear, white, or slightly yellow and has a mild smell. It can also be thick and creamy. This discharge is produced by the glands in the vagina and cervix and is a part of the reproductive cycle to keep the vagina clean and healthy. The female body produces an average of 1-2 ml of vaginal discharge per day, which is just under half a teaspoon. Discharge is essential for vaginal health and helps maintain a balance of good bacteria. It serves as a natural lubricant, protecting the reproductive system against infections and maintaining a healthy PH level. Understanding the role of vaginal discharge in your body can help you identify and manage abnormalities. Urine, on the other hand, is usually a yellowish color and has a strong, distinct smell. It is typically much more watery than discharge. Two tests to help you determine whether the dampness you feel in your underwear is from normal discharge or from leaking are the “sniff test” and the Pyridium pad test. The “sniff test:” Healthy urine has a strong ammonia odor to it whereas vaginal discharge is less potent and smells more mild and musky, sometimes it may have a fishy odor. So, if you want to know if it’s pee or not, put your nose to the test! The Pyridium pad test: you will need a prescription from your physician for phenazopyridine pills for 2-3 days’ worth of usage. The pyridium will change your urine to a bright orange color; therefore, allowing you to determine whether the dampness you are feeling is caused by urine (bright orange) or by discharge (no change in color). Wear a plain, white, and unscented pad every day that you are taking the pills and replace the pad every time you go to the toilet. After you urinate, use a wet wipe to thoroughly clean the skin – this is important so that you do not mistake any leftover drips of urine for leaking later on. To identify the cause of damn underwear, you can take these two tests that will help you determine whether it is due to normal vaginal discharge or urinary leakage that requires the attention of a pelvic physical therapist (PT). This blog was written by our very own Pelvic/Women’s Specialist, Dr. Sam Greig.
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