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quantitatively and qualitatively altered discharges of the sex organs of women.
Leukorrhea is a frequent symptom of many gynecological diseases. It may appear in connection with gonorrhea, prolapse of the reproductive organs, malignant tumors, the use of thermal and chemical irritants (certain contraceptives), trichomoniasis, endocrine disorders, and so forth. The normal discharge from the female sex organs is insignificant, and women do not ordinarily notice it. In a healthy woman the discharges may increase before and after menstruation and during pregnancy and sexual excitement. In these cases the discharges are light in color, disappear quickly, and elicit no complaints. In diseases, leukorrhea flows out and causes an unpleasant sensation of constant moistness, itching, and burning. Leukorrhea may be white, transparent (vitreous), milky, yellow green (admixture of pus), or sanious (admixture of blood). Leukorrhea may be fluid or viscous. It may be odorless, odorous, or sometimes malodorous.
Leukorrheas are distinguished according to their site of origin. Vestibular leukorrhea, which arises in the vestibule of the vagina, is most often observed in young girls with various forms of vulvitis. Vestibular leukorrhea may occur in adults when the rules of personal hygiene are not observed; it may also occur in ulcerative processes and in diabetes mellitus. Most frequently observed are vaginal leukorrheas caused by inflammatory processes in the vagina—vaginitis, which is often associated with cases of trichomoniasis caused by fungal infection (yeast microorganisms) or with nonspecific vaginal inflammations caused by streptococci, colon bacilli, and staphylococci. Cervical leukorrhea, which arises in the cervix, appears in cases of acute and chronic gonorrhea, cancer, polyposis, and so forth. Uterine leukorrhea is rare (found in cases of endometritis). Salpingiar leukorrhea is a rare form that arises in the fallopian tubes as a result of their inflammation. It is characterized by periodic profuse discharge of purulent fluid.
To a considerable degree the causes of leukorrhea are conditioned by the age and hormonal state of a woman’s body. In children it is caused by intestinal bacteria, streptococci (after scarlet fever), and gonococci. In young women, leukorrhea is caused by hormonal disturbances. With the beginning of sexual activity, leukorrhea may be caused by trichomoniasis or by gonorrhea. During menopause, so-called senile vaginitis often occurs, accompanied by leukorrhea; it is associated with atrophy of the mucous membrane of the vagina and the vagina’s susceptibility to injury.
Preventive measures include periodic examinations for symptoms of gynecologic disease, provision of personal hygiene rooms for women at places of work, and labor protection measures. Treatment is directed at the removal of the basic pathological process causing the leukorrhea.
REFERENCESGurtovoi, L. E. “Obshschaia simptomatologiia i diagnostika gjnekologjcheskikh zabolevanii.” In Mnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po akusherstvu i ginekologii, vol. 4, book 1. Moscow, 1963.
Mandel’shtam, L. E. Semiotika i diagnostika zhenskikh boleznei, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1964.
V. A. POKROVSKII