Vaginal Discharge

Burris also says normal vaginal discharge varies in amount and ranges in color from clear to milky, white discharge.

When pathogens enter the genital tract, they reproduce causing the normal clear or whitish vaginal fluid to become heavy and take on a yellow, yellow-green or green color. All non-pregnant patients with symptomatic BV require treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent post-abortion or post-hysterectomy complications (Table 2). Thrush (candida): Brown discharge or spotting during early pregnacy could be a sign of miscarriage. If a patient complains of vaginal symptoms, do the appropriate testing, i. Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection in the vagina caused by a parasite," says Dr. "You’ll probably also notice your vagina produces more fluid when you’re aroused.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. The vaginal walls and uterine cervix contain glands that produce a small amount of fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean. So don’t worry about it being awkward to bring up, your doctors will be very used to talking about it. However, if you are experiencing yellow-white discharge, it is possible you have an infection.

Ladies, we’re talking about vaginal discharge. If you’ve had instances of yellow discharge for as long as you can remember, cool. Symptoms of STIs can vary. In uncommon occasions, brown or bloody discharge could be a signal of advanced cervical cancer. Reasons for white discharge Vaginal lubrication: Almost all women get thrush from time to time and it is not sexually transmitted.

You may also experience other symptoms with a change in discharge, such as irritation, itchiness or burning in or around your vagina. This condition is often linked with excess growth of bacteria that are typically found in the stool. You may have chlamydia or gonorrhoea (both STIs). Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? But some changes in discharge may mean there is a problem. One of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI), trich is caused by a one-celled parasite called trichomonas vaginalis and is spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. Vulvovaginitis can appear due to various causes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, other parasites or chemicals found in foams, soaps or perfumes, for example.

This is because the delicate balance of healthy vaginal secretion is disturbed during menstruation, which happens every month.

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Substances made in the body by cells or organs that control the function of cells or organs. What are the symptoms of different vaginal infections? This balance is sensitive to changes, from within and outside your body, and it doesn’t always take much to throw it “off. Your doctor may want to take a scraping from your cervix to check for HPV or cervical cancer. Many women have no symptoms. “I also often recommend that patients keep a diary of their vaginal discharge so they know what’s normal and abnormal for themselves. For more information, including treatment, on these and other STIs, see the separate leaflet called Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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Yeast infections can be treated either by placing medication into the vagina or by taking a pill. You have multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. Roughly 90 percent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life. Most men and women who have it don’t show symptoms—but if left untreated, it can cause more serious issues, like problems during pregnancy, according to the CDC. Atrophic vaginitis is not caused by an infection but can cause vaginal discharge and irritation, such as dryness, itching, and burning.

Chlamydia is usually treated with a single dose of antibiotics. Watery or white vaginal discharge with intense itchiness Thick, white, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge that is watery and usually odorless, may be a symptom of a vaginal candida infection, commonly known as a yeast infection. There are usually other symptoms and it would be very unusual to have discharge as the main symptom of these cancers. Quitting smoking may also reduce the risk of acquiring BV (2,3,4,5,6).

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In this article, we provide a color-coded guide to vaginal discharge. Bacterial vaginosis is a condition is caused by an imbalance in the growth of the bacteria that are normally present in the vagina. You may need to be re-tested to make sure the STD has been cured or to be sure you have not been infected again. Cervical cancer can easily be screened for with yearly Pap smears and HPV testing. Other causes of abnormal discharge include postoperative pelvic infection, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and in rare cases, cervical cancer.

Don't use any toilet paper or feminine product, including tampons and sanitary pads, that contains deodorant or scents. Vaginal discharge is abnormal if it: A sample of the vaginal discharge is placed on a glass slide and mixed with a salt solution. Patients with suspected cases should be referred to a specialist. This can happen a week or two before labor begins or just before your first real contractions. But seeing an unexpected color of vaginal discharge may give you pause (which is the more low-key way of saying it might totally freak you out).

A funny odour like fish or rotten meat. Vaginal discharge raises common questions for women, including what’s normal and what’s not. Two vaginal ointments — metronidazole gel and clindamycin cream — can treat the infection. If left untreated, gonorrhea or chlamydia can lead to serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is normal and healthy for young people’s bodies to produce clear or white discharge from the vagina. If it doesn't clear up within a few days of using medication, see your ob-gyn to find out if something else is going on. A person is likely to experience more clear, slippery discharge just before ovulation, during sexual arousal, and during pregnancy. Your health care provider will take a vaginal swab while doing a speculum examination of the vagina.

Vaginal Discharge Related Articles

Once you’ve established the diagnosis, the best source of updated treatment information is the CDC (www. )Only 30 percent of people infected by trichomoniasis have signs and symptoms. This is especially likely if the hue only coincides with a change in diet or dietary supplements. For those women who have been tested for chlamydia, it is important to have another test three months following treatment, to check you have not been re-infected (29,30).

And which symptoms you have often depend on what’s causing the problem. Possible tests may include: Otherwise they may ask to examine you.


The good news is that BV is relatively easy to diagnose and treat. The blanket treatment can lead to altering the vaginal pH and lead to either worsening of infection or improper diagnosis and treatment. The KOH kills bacteria and cells from the vagina, leaving only yeast for a yeast infection. They can be taken by mouth or inserted into the vagina as a cream or gel. Symptoms include vaginal discharge, odor, itching, and/or discomfort.

The discharge can be more noticeable at different times of the month depending on ovulation, menstrual flow, sexual activity, and birth control. Candida normally inhabits the vagina, mouth and digestive tract in small numbers and is normally harmless. Alcohol should also be avoided during treatment as combining alcohol with some antibiotics can cause severe nausea and vomiting (32,33,34). Women with thrush will have a white cottage cheese like discharge that doesn't smell, itching and irritation around the vagina and sometimes a soreness or stinging when they wee. Both conditions are treated with antibiotics. None of those changes is cause for alarm.

It's a fluid or mucus that keeps the vagina clean and moist, and protects it from infection. If left untreated, this can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), genital herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea (7,8,12). This goes into your vagina. In women it can spread to the reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to long-term pelvic pain and even infertility. Discharge may have a slight odor as well, although a foul, fishy odor is a sign of an infection. While most changes are normal, others can signify anything from an STD to whether you just need to drink more water. Vaginal yeast infection, ” Your second? This can happen if yeast in your vagina, typically a kind called Candida albicans, grows too much and throws off the balance of microorganisms in there, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

How Do Doctors Diagnose the Cause of Vaginal Discharge?

There is currently limited evidence to support vinegar, garlic or tea-tree oil in the treatment of thrush. A sample of the discharge will be collected for examination. Make an appointment to see your doctor if: In the long-term, PID can cause permanent damage to the reproductive organs and lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Fungal skin infections, it has been used for years for dogs and cats with this type of skin yeast with very good success. Anytime you experience a vaginal discharge during pregnancy you need to see your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

The normal vaginal pH is 3. Normal vaginal discharge is mainly a combination of dead cells and vaginal bacteria. It is easily treated with antibiotics. If you're seeing a questionable yellow or green tint, it's important to see your doc ASAP. Up to a month before delivery, you may notice an increase in discharge as well as a thicker consistency. Irritated tissue is more likely to become infected than healthy tissue.

It’s a bit of a mystery why some women develop BV, but it generally means that something has upset the bacterial balance in your vagina, though experts aren’t always sure what. Long-term insults to the vulval and vaginal tissue (recurrent infections or infections that continue due to improper treatment) can result in irreparable damage. In contrast, Bacterial Vaginosis is associated with only minimal inflammation and minimal irritative symptoms, but the thin, gray or yellow, malodorous discharge is a prominent complaint. In the middle of your cycle, discharge is normally thin and clear.

  • During the rest of the month, discharge is usually clear, white, cream, or even a very pale yellow.
  • Women should also avoid douching, using a tampon or vaginal medications (e.)
  • Causes of yellow discharge can vary from being absolutely normal to infections you should definitely address, says Jennifer Landa, M.
  • Women who are found to have trichomoniasis should also consider being tested for other STIs.
  • While increased frequency can be annoying, in many cases it's normal.


The doctor may have a good idea of what is wrong just by talking to you, particularly if you have never been sexually active. The amount of vaginal discharge can vary significantly from person to person. Certain diseases, such as syphilis, HIV and genital herpes may not cause vaginal discharge but can be passed on to your baby. This type of discharge is usually clear and has no nasty smell. “Not every vaginal discharge means something.

If your natural vaginal environment doesn't produce enough of the good lactobacilli bacteria, you're more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis. If the discharge is cloudy or yellow, it is a strong indication of gonorrhea. See your doctor or go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as soon as possible. You shouldn’t be apprehensive about going to your doctor with any questions about vaginal discharge: Symptoms are often worse in the week before menstruation. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibacterial ointments or oral antibiotics. Women who take the oral contraceptive pill may experience an increase in vaginal discharge, while menopausal women commonly report a reduction. There are many STDs with different symptoms.

Dry your vaginal area thoroughly after washing. Yeast infections: 101, this is to make sure the medicine has a chance to do its work (especially if you are using an antifungal cream or suppository) and to make sure that the infection is not passed along to your partner. Symptom/contact diaries may be helpful. What causes vaginitis? This is called ectopy (or ectropion). If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a provider to be evaluated. Many of the same symptoms may be present, such as itching and irritation, but BV often produces a distinctive fishy-smelling discharge and a burning feeling while urinating.


Some women douche to remove vaginal discharge, but using a douche is not a good idea. Self-help treatments for thrush are popular amongst women. It's normal and healthy to produce a clear or white discharge from your vagina.

Thrush can cause significant discomfort and influence a women’s self-esteem and sex life. This might sound counterintuitive, but seeing yellow discharge doesn’t automatically mean something’s up. If you notice green discharge whilst pregnant you should never try and self-diagnose, always talk to your doctor as they will know your medical history and be able to offer more helpful insight. If you are concerned that you might have trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or any other type of STD then you should consider using an at home STD test that will test for the common types of STDs.

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If you suspect that you might have bacterial vaginosis, I recommend that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Samples of fluid inside the vagina are taken with a swab or spatula. If it comes back positive, you will be prescribed an antibiotic treatment that will clear up the infection within a couple weeks.

Many of these treatments are now available over-the-counter (no prescription required). There are many possible causes of abnormal vaginal discharge, but it is usually a sign of infection. There is some evidence that yoghurt used in combination with honey improves the symptoms of thrush. Since yeast infection treatments have become available over the counter (OTC), many women simply visit the closest drugstore and buy an antifungal cream.

Itching is not common, but may be present if there is a lot of discharge. Even though white discharge can be just fine, sometimes it’s a sign of a yeast infection. Sexual abuse should be considered in young girls with unusual infections and repeated episodes of unexplained vulvovaginitis. Pink discharge most commonly occurs with spotting before a period. Normal vaginal discharge is milky or white and is odorless.

In addition, your vulva may appear raw and red.

If Your Discharge Is: Grayish, Thin, And Has A Fishy Odor...

Shortly after ovulation it usually changes back to dry/sticky. How often should you have an STI test? Changes that may signal a problem include an increase in the amount of discharge, a change in the color or smell of the discharge, and irritation, itchiness, or burning in or around your vagina.

Symptoms are worsened by alterations in vaginal pH (normal 3. )In men, balanitis can cause: Reasons for yellow-green discharge Look to your diet or any supplements you may be taking: It is easily treated with antifungal medicine, which can be bought over the counter from your pharmacist. A period typically lasts for 3–5 days.

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Factors That May Disrupt The Vaginal Ecosystem Include:

Barrier protection (condoms) should always be used when having sex with a partner whose previous sexual habits or partners are unknown. The amount of vaginal discharge varies throughout your menstrual cycle (brown discharge is usually the end of your period) and most pregnant women will get a 'pregnancy discharge'. This allows your doctor to look at the genital area. As straightforward as it might seem, most doctors will discourage you from diagnosing and treating a yeast infection yourself.

Gonorrhea And Chlamydia

Encourage patients to keep a diary of their symptoms and the products they use. Vaginal pH is higher than 4. This keeps the vagina clean and helps prevent infection. The good news is that if you do have trichomoniasis it is normally easily treated. What is normal vaginal discharge? Check with your doctor to be sure, but in general neither of these conditions is cause for alarm.

What OTC Medications or Home Remedies Treat Vaginal Discharge?

If the discharge is thick, white, and cheesy, the woman is likely to have a yeast infection. Laboratory tests will confirm a diagnosis. “Stay aware of normal and abnormal changes in vaginal discharge.

Normal Vaginal Discharge vs Abnormal Discharge

Visiting the doctor is important for a woman experiencing recurrent thrush to ensure the correct diagnosis has been made and appropriate treatment is prescribed. Low estrogen levels in women after menopause can cause vaginal dryness and thinning of the skin of the vagina and vulva. Preparing a wet mount slide has become a lost art in most practices. We have witnessed non-clinician staff treating patients over the phone based on the same vague symptoms, often multiple times.

I know—not something you want a whiff of when you take off your undies. During treatment, people should abstain from having sex. These are called sexually transmitted infections, commonly known as STDs.

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Vaginitis is often caused by an infection, but it may also be caused by a reaction to vaginal products such as soap, bath oils, spermicidal jelly, or douches. Other symptoms of BV could be itchiness, a strong odor and redness from irritation. Everyone’s body is different, so people don’t always have the same symptoms. Trichomoniasis (trich) is infection by a single-celled parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. Normal vaginal discharge is a healthy way for your body to get rid of fluid and old cells — but discharge can also be a sign of something more serious. Condoms, soaps, face wash that may drip during showering, shampoos, laundry detergent, and toilet paper can all be irritating to the vulva.

If this is the first time you have had vaginal symptoms, you should see your health care professional. Change wet or damp clothing promptly. A yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Email us at [email protected]

Before and after your period, discharge may appear yellow, orange, brick red, or brown. Just like with other bacterial or yeast infections, UTIs can usually be fixed pretty quick with some antibiotics from the doctor. This can also lead to a longer recovery. If symptoms don’t go away after about a week, or if you have recurrent infections, see your healthcare provider. Usually, "good" bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber "bad" bacteria (anaerobes). Several drops of a potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution are added to a sample of the vaginal discharge.

Green Discharge

However, it is most common in young girls before puberty, particularly girls with poor genital hygiene. And, last but not least, remember to always remove your tampons. BV can only be properly treated with a prescription from your ob-gyn or health care provider, so you'll want to book it to your doc for an appointment if things seem fishy down there (pun 100 percent intended). Some women have discharge every day, while other women only have discharge occasionally. If spotting occurs during the normal time of your period and you’ve recently had sex without protection, this could be a sign of pregnancy. Suggested medications include topical and oral metronidazole or topical clindamycin. A number of different infections can cause a change in the amount, consistency, color, or odor of vaginal discharge. Thrush and breastfeeding signs, symptoms, , it is characterized by red, pustular, crusted and thickened lesions, especially on the nose and forehead. The best protection from chlamydia and other STIs, whatever your sexual preference, is to always practice safe sex.

This technique is cost-effective, requires few materials, and can result in immediate diagnosis and treatment (see “Diagnosing vaginitis—the role of pH paper, the whiff test, and microscopy”). A typical vagina contains normally occurring bacteria which create an acidic environment. However, there are certain types of discharge that can indicate an infection. Vaginal yeast infection, your doctor will let you know what kind of treatment is suitable for you. Healthy discharge varies throughout the menstrual cycle, and may be slightly brown towards the end of the period, but does not have a strong smell or color. The normal vaginal is 3. The blood vessels in your vagina dilate and fluid passes through them, causing an increase in clear, watery discharge. You will need to be examined right away.

Chlamydia Infection Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

The discharge from thrush is usually creamy white and quite thick but is sometimes watery. If your doctor can’t diagnose the problem immediately, they may order some tests. The vaginal epithelium (or lining) in women of reproductive age is rich in glycogen. Increased vaginal discharge with itching and burning In some cases, vaginal discharge, itching and burning may occur without an infection being present. If you have an STD, you and your sexual partner(s) need to be treated. Uptodate, see your doctor, who may examine you and may perform some tests. Results A vaginal wet mount (sometimes called a vaginal smear) is a test to find the cause of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina and the area around the vagina (vulva). The vagina normally contains both healthy bacteria and unhealthy bacteria. There are many possible causes of abnormal vaginal discharge.