When to See a Doctor About Vaginal Discharge

If complications have occurred from the infection (e.

The good news: Even if you have had a yeast infection before, it may be a good idea to call your health care professional before using an over-the-counter medication to treat your symptoms. In this article, we provide a color-coded guide to vaginal discharge.

  • Vaginal discharge is a normal process which keeps the mucosal lining of the vagina moist.
  • If the mucous is pink or streaked with blood, however, this usually means that labor will take place within 24 hours.
  • Sometimes the condition is referred to as vaginal candidiasis because candida albicans is the fungus responsible for most cases.
  • Vaginal discharge may sometimes change consistency and color during your menstrual cycle.

Trichomoniasis is typically treated with the use of antibiotic medication, such as Metronidazole or Tinidazole, which should be taken twice a day for 5-7 days. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Symptoms may last just a few hours or persist for days, weeks, or rarely, months, and can be aggravated by sexual intercourse. Vaginal yeast infections is a common occurrence.

  • At the beginning of the cycle, discharge is usually red or bloody, as the body sheds the uterine lining.
  • The most common infections causing vaginal discharge are chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas.
  • The amount of vaginal discharge varies according to the menstrual cycle and arousal and is clear and stringy in the first half of the cycle and whitish and sticky after ovulation.
  • Small objects (such as a broken piece of condom) may need to be flushed out.
  • It's also important to rule out cervical cancer or endometrial cancer.
  • Although infected women may not have symptoms, a vaginal discharge may occur.
  • Women who suspect they may have trichomoniasis or a vaginal infection should visit their doctor.

Differential Diagnoses Of Infectious Vulvovaginitis

Douching (rinsing the vagina out with water or a solution) also increases the risk of BV (7). Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes cause PID, an infection of the uterus and the fallopian tubes that can increase the risk of infertility. At the beginning of the cycle, it tends to be more dry/sticky, or you may notice no discharge at all. Make special note of symptoms that are worse during work hours; patients often forget that the products they use at work may be different than those they use at home. This can also lead to a longer recovery.

Let’s break it down: 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. If you're seeing a questionable yellow or green tint, it's important to see your doc ASAP. Causes of yellow discharge can vary from being absolutely normal to infections you should definitely address, says Jennifer Landa, M. This is an effective cure for treating yeast infection. It is the most common cause of greenish discharge, and luckily it is a very treatable condition. Diagnosis of infectious vulvovaginitis is based on histology examination of vaginal discharge.

In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis is linked to premature deliveries and low birth weight babies.


Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or chlamydia also can cause vaginal discharge. Be prepared to discuss the color, consistency and smell of the discharge, as well as any itching and whether it appears related to having sex or your menstrual cycle. A pregnant woman infected with chlamydia has an increased risk of: While increased frequency can be annoying, in many cases it's normal. Hersh cautions that it can be very "goopy" and you may need a panty liner — and it's all totally normal.

The yeast can then overgrow. Types of vaginal discharge There are several different types of vaginal discharge. If you have questions or concerns about any gynecological issues, including yeast infections, call us at (336) 378-1110 to make an appointment. The importance of evaluation cannot be stressed emphatically enough. But significant or sudden changes in the smell, color or consistency of your fluid might mean something else is going on, like an infection that needs treatment. “Stay aware of normal and abnormal changes in vaginal discharge. Symptomatic pregnant patients should be treated to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes (Table 3).

They will be able to treat the underlying infection and it should have no effect on your pregnancy. If you develop abdominal pain or a fever with a new vaginal discharge, you should see a doctor the same day. Bacterial and yeast infections are easy to treat when caught early enough.

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Available only by prescription, an oral antifungal medication called fluconazole, known by the brand name Diflucan, is taken orally. Douching can upset the natural balance of bacteria and fungi in your vagina and lead to thrush or bacterial vaginosis. Here are the different colors your vaginal discharge can be and why. See the separate leaflet called Common Problems of the Cervix for more details. Doctors don't fully understand the link between sexual activity and bacterial vaginosis, but the condition occurs more often in women who have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner. One of the studies found the yoghurt and honey mixture provided better relief from symptoms such as itching (26). Make a doctor's appointment if you think you have a yeast infection, because you'll probably need treatment with an antifungal cream or suppository.

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Any sudden change to your discharge may suggest a vaginal infection. This type of discharge may be a sign of the infection trichomoniasis. If you do have sex, using condoms can reduce your chances of getting STDs. For this reason, if you suspect BV, contact a health professional immediately. What is vulvovaginal candidiasis? Bacterial vaginosis also occurs more frequently in women who have sex with women. Thrush is a very common condition; 70-75% of women will experience thrush at least once throughout their lifetime (16,19).

The doctor will check for signs of a discharge and a fishy smell.

” which is often followed by questions like “Is it the time of the month? Vaginal fluid samples will then be obtained and submitted to a laboratory for culture. Sometimes the doctor may also use an instrument called a speculum. Vaginal therapy: When should you call your OB/GYN when you have a yeast infection? If you are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic called metronidazole (Flagyl). However, it's important to see your GP for a proper diagnosis and advice on how to treat the infection.

Below, physician assistant Steven Johnson explains what is normal and when to see a health care provider regarding vaginal discharge topics. See your GP or go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as soon as possible. The doctor may ask how long you have had the discharge and whether you have noticed any of the changes listed above. You can treat it with over-the-counter drugs, such as tioconazole (Monistat®), or with a prescription pill called fluconazole (Diflucan®) or prescription vaginal creams called terazol or clotrimazole. Intercourse can assist yeast organisms to enter and inhabit vulval tissue. Although thrush is not considered an STI, sexual activity can worsen thrush (18). When women are pregnant, they are more susceptible to urinary tract infections.

Vaginal Discharge Related Articles

Preterm birth. Long-course vaginal therapy: They are easily removed (this may need to be done in hospital) and are very rarely cancerous. Just like with other bacterial or yeast infections, UTIs can usually be fixed pretty quick with some antibiotics from the doctor. Thrush, is also called candida, yeast or fungal infection. White discharge is often totally normal, Lauren Streicher, M.

Should I use an over-the-counter medication to treat a yeast infection? Treatment for thrush involves the use of anti-fungal creams inserted in the vagina with an applicator, vaginal pessaries and/or oral medication. There are many different types of infections that can affect the vagina and result in abnormal discharge. What is vaginal odor? You may be more likely to get a yeast infection if you have been taking antibiotics or steroids, are pregnant, or have diabetes. This is your body's way of flushing out bacteria to keep you and your baby healthy.

Small pustules may appear, especially at the edges of the rash, and the rash may itch intensely or burn. If you suspect you have a yeast infection, your best bet is to see a doctor who can diagnose you. Barrier protection (condoms) should always be used when having sex with a partner whose previous sexual habits or partners are unknown. Because of the hormones that are flooding your body and changing the vagina's chemical environment, you are more susceptible to yeast infections than ever.

  • “Trichomoniasis is caused by an organism that can live on towels, vibrators, and other inanimate objects,” says Dr.
  • Other symptoms include itching or rashes around the vagina, and pain or discomfort whilst urinating.

How Is Trichomoniasis Treated?

Anyone experiencing green discharge should see her provider. If, after diagnosis, your infection doesn't get better with treatment or comes back several more times within a year (a condition called recurrent or chronic yeast infection), your doctor may order a culture test of your yeast. If your sexual partner experiences a new discharge or discomfort when urinating or during intercourse, he or she should be evaluated by a doctor. Clear and stretchy When discharge is clear but stretchy and mucous-like, rather than watery, it indicates that you are likely ovulating. Vaginal discharge. It may dry on underclothes leaving a faint yellowish mark. A period typically lasts for 3–5 days.

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Goje says a whitish discharge could signal one of two common things: This is especially likely if the hue only coincides with a change in diet or dietary supplements. However, those that do often experience painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge (white, yellow, or green discharge), pain during sex or vaginal bleeding between periods. Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. Is a yeast infection contagious? symptoms, treatment, & causes, their growth is kept in check by bacteria. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is usually defined as four or more episodes within one year (cyclic vulvovaginitis).

What Is It?

What are the symptoms? Cullins explains. None of those changes is cause for alarm. While most of the time vaginal discharge is completely normal and even beneficial, in some instances it may indicate a problem.

“I also often recommend that patients keep a diary of their vaginal discharge so they know what’s normal and abnormal for themselves. If you are diabetic, controlling blood sugar levels may help to avoid recurrent infections, especially yeast infections. Groin yeast infections → how to treat and prevent groin fungal infections. Watch for changes in: Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam, which will include inspecting your vagina and vulva to see if there are external signs of infection, such as swelling and redness, and cracks in the skin of the vulva. When should I contact my doctor? As a sexual health specialist, I get asked about vaginal discharge on a daily basis.

Encourage patients to keep a diary of their symptoms and the products they use. Time constraints placed on each visit may make it seem impossible to prepare a wet mount for each patient who has a vaginal complaint. If the discharge is thick, white, and cheesy, the woman is likely to have a yeast infection. Vaginal bleeding is different from vaginal discharge. In the long-term, PID can cause permanent damage to the reproductive organs and lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy. 15, 2020, 9 a. It’s imperative that sexually transmitted diseases are treated promptly as they could progress into more severe infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

Mind & Body

It is also more prevalent in those with diabetes, a weakened immune system, iron deficiency, or in those who are pregnant (16,17). Genital herpes can cause painful, red blisters or sores to appear around your genitals, as well as an abnormal vaginal discharge. Untreated gonorrhoea or chlamydia may spread upwards and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious infection of the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Natural lack of lactobacilli bacteria. For example, if you have breakthrough bleeding, it can have a pink or brown tint. What causes vaginal discharge?

“Yeast love warm, moist environments,” says Dr. This is formed by the normal bacteria and fluids the vaginal cells put off. If you have used an over-the-counter medication and your symptoms do not go away, see your health care professional. Your doctor may talk to you about the results after the test. It can cause itch, redness, discomfort or pain around the outside of the vagina. And, unfortunately, that infection is probably an STD:

Other Rare Causes Of Discharge

You may have chlamydia or gonorrhoea (both STIs). Here are the features that suggest you need medical advice: Objects such as a lost tampon can also cause irritation, itching, and strong-smelling discharge. Sometimes, however, bacterial vaginosis causes few or no symptoms. Unless your discharge is accompanied by certain textures or smells, don’t fret too much.

Let’s be real. But remember, your gyno is an expert on this—so use this as a starting point and don't hesitate to make a doc appointment to get more clarity. The pH of the vagina tends to be in the normal range (3. )The discharge may have a fishy odor. Sensitivity to fluconazole predicts sensitivity to other oral and topical azoles. According to the National Institutes of Health, vaginal discharge may turn a yellowish or white hue when it's exposed to the air.

Candidal vaginitis. The color, consistency, and amount can also change from day to day, depending on where a person is in their menstrual cycle: Many women have no symptoms. If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a provider to be evaluated. Itching is not common, but may be present if there is a lot of discharge. Women who suspect they may have chlamydia or a vaginal infection should visit their doctor. Having multiple sex partners or a new sex partner.


Usually, the conditions that cause vaginal discharge respond to treatment within a few days. Wet mount Normal: Tenderness may indicate that you have a sexually transmitted disease or pelvic inflammatory disease. Getting to know your typical smell is most important for identifying when something changes. Treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms; asymptomatic women do not require treatment. Infections that can cause vaginitis are common and include: Like trich, infections with these diseases are often asymptomatic. However, due to a wide variety of factors that could interrupt the balance of acidity in the vagina, prevention is mostly difficult or impossible.

What causes yeast infections? Skin conditions. As a result, you face difficulties while urinating and making out with your partner. Almost every woman will experience some sort of vaginal infection at least once in her lifetime. For mild cases, using a water-based lubricant may be enough. Uptodate, oral yeast infections, or thrush, have slightly different symptoms. Finally, some infections are passed during sex. Bathe with warm water or guava tea to help relieve itching in the genital area. Here, we'll go over nine types of vaginal discharge, and just what that discharge might be trying to tell you.

  • This bug is the reason of vaginitis.
  • A vaginal discharge helps to keep your vagina moist and comfortable.
  • Trichomoniasis is treated with an antibiotic that your GP can prescribe.
  • Keep in mind these STIs are often asymptomatic (have no apparent symptoms), which is why regular STI testing is so important.
  • During pregnancy, physicians recommend vaginal creams and suppositories only.
  • The most typical symptom of a vaginal infection is an abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a parasite ( Trichomonas vaginalis ).

If Your Discharge Is: Pink, Reddish, Or Brown...

If you are experiencing other symptoms: When the doctor has all the results, they will discuss with you whether you need any more investigations such as an ultrasound scan, or whether you need to see a specialist - a gynaecologist. Only systemic metronidazole or clindamycin is recommended; no topical agents are included in the treatment regimen for pregnant patients. Using a cotton tampon, insert it into the vagina and keep over night. Check with your doctor to be sure, but in general neither of these conditions is cause for alarm. This balance is sensitive to changes, from within and outside your body, and it doesn’t always take much to throw it “off. Yeast cells found on the wet mount mean a vaginal yeast infection is present. Less than 5% of women will experience recurrent thrush (20,23).

Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms

Treatment may be either with a pill or a cream or gel that is applied to the vagina. Cervical cancer can easily be screened for with yearly Pap smears and HPV testing. If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious problems for your baby such as stillbirth, low birth weight, brain damage, blindness, and deafness. It’s simply natural lubrication, keeping your vaginal tissue healthy and minimizing friction during sex. Infections of the lower genital tract. Get plenty of rest to make it easier for your body to fight infections.

How is bacterial vaginosis treated? This condition was formerly known as Gardnerella vaginitis after one type of bacteria that commonly cause the condition. These are types of discharge that are caused by infections. Oral antifungal medicines containing fluconazole or less frequently, itraconazole, may be used if C albicans infection is severe or recurrent.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Epstein A, Subir R (2020). Sometimes the rash may not cause any symptoms, but usually the infection causes a red, raw, itching, burning, or sometimes painful rash on the head of the penis. The time in a woman’s life when menstruation stops; defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 1 year. More intervention may be needed in the case of infections that have been left untreated and have become more complicated. There are also treatments that are not appropriate during pregnancy.

What is vaginal discharge? A strong fishy odor from the mix means bacterial vaginosis is present. It was revised again by Bridget Dillon and the Editorial Committee in September 2020.

PID may form scar tissue and adhesions which can result in serious health issues including chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and fertility problems (30).

Exams and Tests

Some contraceptives with hormones in them can make your discharge heavier too. Additionally, during menopause, a woman should not have any type of vaginal bleeding, which is also a sign of uterine cancer. Recurrence of BV is common; 50% of women treated for BV will develop the condition again in the next 6 to 12 months (9). In some women, this may be a sign of iron deficiency, diabetes mellitus or an immune problem, and appropriate tests should be done.

The vaginal discharge is thin and milky with a strong fishy odor. Amazon.com: candida cleanse, these include bacteria and fungi. If it’s not that time of the month for you—e. Soak the affected area in this bath solution for about 20 minutes. Please contact your local lab for the correct media to collect and transport your specimen.

A vaginal yeast infection often causes itching and a white, lumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is most commonly observed in women in the reproductive age group. It causes a foul-smelling, brownish-green discharge and irritation of the labia and vaginal opening. The amount can vary, as can odor and color (which can range from clear to a milky white-ish), depending on the time in your menstrual cycle. Following a period, a person may notice less vaginal discharge than usual.

Monistat FAQ

The infections listed above are causes of abnormal vaginal discharge without the presence of significant vaginal bleeding. Once you’ve used the tea bag for preparing the drink, put it in the refrigerator until cooled. WHAT IS NORMAL? Changes in your discharge that may signal a problem include an increase in the amount, and a change in the color, smell or texture of the discharge. Candida & yeast infections, thus the food contains just lamb and chicken meal, brown rice and ground rice, chicken oil, and beet pulp. The vulva may be red and swollen. We prefer our patients to come to us straight away if they are concerned about abnormal discharge, because the underlying causes are often very easy to treat if diagnosed early. It also causes pain with sexual intercourse. But sometimes, an imbalance of bacteria in your vagina can cause your discharge to change color.

Further Reading

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection in the vagina caused by a parasite," says Dr. "This is because the delicate balance of healthy vaginal secretion is disturbed during menstruation, which happens every month. Some vaginal infections (though not all) may be associated with preterm labor or problematic births, and it's important to diagnose and treat them before complications develop. What is vaginitis? There may be burning, irritation, redness, and swelling of the vulva. Treatment of vulvovaginitis can be generally done with antibiotics, antifungal or antihistamines, depending on the type and cause of the infection. Another study suggested that Green Tea can be used in neutralizing the excess yeast cells formation in the vaginal area, and thus, weakens the effect.

Of course, vaginitis can also be caused by bacteria and yeast. Around 70% of people with trichomoniasis are asymptomatic (32). The most common causes are: What is trichomoniasis? As with trichomoniasis most people with chlamydia or gonorrhea don’t display any symptoms. You may have bacterial vaginosis, or BV. Your doctor will treat BV with antibiotics or antibacterial ointments. If your discharge has a fishy or pungent smell, there is nearly always something wrong.