Vaginal Discharge: Causes, Colors, What's Normal & Treatment

Vaginal Discharge: Causes, Colors, What's Normal & Treatment

Vaginal discharge is a clear, white or off-white fluid that leaks from your cervix. Vaginal discharge is made up primarily of cells and germs and is produced by your uterus, cervix, and vagina. It cleans and lubricates your vagina and aids in the battle against harmful bacteria and infection. Although vaginal discharge is a natural and normal process, variations in discharge can be an indication of infection or sickness.

Women or people assigned female at birth (AFAB) have varying amounts of vaginal discharge.Some people produce more discharge and while others produce less amount of white discharge. Changes in the color, texture, smell or amount of your usual vaginal discharge may mean there is a problem. Most causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are treatable with medication.

What is considered as normal vaginal discharge?

Normal vaginal discharge when discharge is clear or white in color  It should not  smell bad, and its thickness will fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. Other features of vaginal discharge include:

  • Texture: It’s normal to have vaginal discharge that ranges from watery and sticky to gooey, thick and pasty. This change is caused by your body's hormones, but other causes such as illness can also affect the nature of your vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge that is chunky, frothy, or accompanied by irritation and color changes may indicate an infection.

  • Color: Vaginal discharge is healthy if it’s clear, milky white or off-white. Dark yellow, brown, green or grey discharge may indicate that you have an infection or other issue.

  • Smell: Vaginal discharge may have an odor, but it should not be overpowering or unpleasant. You may have a vaginal infection if you notice a fishy or unpleasant odor in your discharge that is accompanied by changes in texture or color.

  • Amount: Some people have a lot of vaginal discharge, while others have very little. Pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, and ovulation can all have an impact on how much vaginal discharge you have. Changes in the amount of vaginal discharge you generate may indicate that something is wrong.

Contact your healthcare provider if you notice:

  •  If the amount of vaginal discharge increases.

  • A change in the color of the vaginal discharge.

  • A foul-smelling odor.

  • The texture or consistency of the discharge has changed.

  • Irritation,pain or itching in or around your vagina.

What does the color of vaginal discharge mean?

The color of your vaginal discharge can mean there’s a problem in your body:

  • Yellow, grey or green: Yellow, grey or green discharge may indicate  a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection (STI).

  • Brown or red: Brown or red discharge is due to irregular menstruation or pregnancy (implantation bleeding). If you have produced brown or red-tinged discharge and it’s not your period, it may indicate that you have a problem.

  • Clear or white: Vaginal discharge is often clear, white, or off-white. If your discharge is white but thicker than usual or itches, you may have a yeast infection.

Contact your healthcare provider if your vaginal discharge is increases or smelling.

If my vaginal discharge changes, do I have an infection?

Maybe. Your discharge may change color, get thicker, or smell unusual. You may detect irritation around the vaginal opening. You may also notice changes prior to or following your period. Changes in vaginal discharge may or may not indicate a vaginal infection. If you are unsure, consult your healthcare provider.

Can you have more than one vaginal infection?

Yes. You could have two or three infections at the same time.

Possible Causes

What infections cause vaginal discharge to change?

There are a variety of infections that can cause vaginal discharge to alter or smell unpleasant. Many of these infections can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person.

Yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infections occur when a certain fungus (candida) overgrows in your vagina. It causes a thick, white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Your vagina may swell and become itching, making intercourse uncomfortable. Antifungal medicines are used to treat yeast infections.

Trichomoniasis or “trich”

Trichomoniasis  is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that you obtain from having sex with someone who is infected. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite. It turns your vaginal discharge green, yellow, or grey, and it makes it foamy or frothy. Antibiotics are used to treat it.

Bacterial vaginosis or BV

Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an overabundance of a certain bacteria in your vagina. Sexual contact can sometimes transfer it, but not usually. People with BV have white or grey discharge that smells and tastes fishy. Antibiotics are used to treat it.

Care and Treatment

When is vaginal discharge a sign of an infection?

Your vaginal discharge might be a sign of an infection if it:

  • If it causes itching.

  • If it causes swelling.

  • Has a bad or fishy-smelling odor.

  • Vaginal discharge Is green, yellow or gray.

  • If it Looks like cottage cheese or pus.

  • If it causes pelvic pain or pain when you pee.

Should I douche to get rid of vaginal discharge?

No. To get rid of vaginal discharge, you should not douche. Douching might disrupt your body's natural balance of organisms. Douching may also result in infection. Normal vaginal discharge is not filthy or harmful. It's a natural technique for your body to get rid of excess fluid and aged cells.

How do you keep your vagina clean and smelling good?

Once a day, gently cleaning your vulvar area with light soap and water should suffice to maintain your vagina clean. Your vagina spontaneously cleans itself with the help of certain beneficial bacteria. These bacteria keep your vagina acidic, preventing germs and fungi from overgrowing.

 Tips for clean your vagina include:

  • Don't use perfumed soaps, gels, wipes or other feminine products.

  • Do not douche or cleanse your vagina.

  • Avoid wearing tight underwear, leotards, bathing suits or sweaty clothes for long periods of time.

  • Wipe your vagina from front to back. 

Now that you have all the information on what different colors of vaginal discharge mean, if you are experiencing healthy discharge, then sit tight. But, if you feel like something is wrong and your discharge is out of the ordinary, then do not douche, instead consult the Top Specialists in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Dubai from New Concept Clinic, a Gynaecology Hospital in Dubai offering the best gynaecology services. To get all the answers to your questions Schedule an Appointment and speak with our doctor now.