General Health

Vaginal discharge: what is abnormal? | Updated 2023

Attention to the intimate organs of the body must be part of every woman’s self-care routine, and that includes the vagina.

Would you know if the vagina is healthy or needs a doctor’s visit?

Well, a big indicator of health down there is vaginal discharge. It is normal for every woman’s body to produce white or clear discharge or mucus that originally comes from the cervix. However, vaginal discharge is often mistaken for an abnormality.

Your vaginal discharge checklist: normal or alarming

#1 color

It is a clear or white, creamy or slightly yellow discharge.

#2 Amount of vaginal discharge

The amount of discharge varies from woman to woman, so each woman’s normal range may be different. You need to observe what is normal for your body over a period of time. Vaginal discharge varies depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. Its amount is affected by the various hormonal changes the body experiences during a menstrual cycle and generally increases a week before your period. Pregnant women may experience an unusually large amount of it. In addition, women who take birth control pills tend to have increased discharge.

#3 smell

A healthy vaginal discharge does not have a strong odor.

#4 Wetness

It’s okay to feel a little wet due to the discharge.

When to worry

A doctor must be consulted in the following cases:

  • A sudden increase in the amount of discharge.
  • You often have to change underwear or wear panty liners in a day because of wetness.
  • Color change from whitish yellow to brown, red or green.
  • Stinking discharge.

What causes changes in vaginal discharge?

The main reason for abnormal vaginal discharge is a shift in the balance of the normal bacteria that inhabit the vagina. This affects the texture, amount, color, and smell of the discharge. This balance is disturbed by a variety of causes:

  • Use of steroids or antibiotics
  • birth control pills
  • conditioners, soaps, lotions
  • Pelvic Inflammation (PID)
  • bacterial vaginosis
  • cervical cancer
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • diabetes
  • yeast infections
  • trichomoniasis
  • Vaginal atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal walls during menopause)

Types of vaginal discharge abnormalities

#1 Watery white discharge with itching: Cottage cheese-like discharge with a slight odor indicates a fungal infection or thrush. The vagina may feel sore.

#2 Green Yellow Foamy Discharge: A parasite causes a common STI known as trichomoniasis, in which the discharge in large quantities is yellow or green and frothy with an unpleasant fishy odor. A course of antibiotics can eliminate the infection.

#3 Gray or White Fishy Smelling Discharge: A strong fishy odor, especially after sex, accompanied by a gray discharge is a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). It is common, is the result of an imbalance in the normal vaginal bacterial population, and is not sexually transmitted. It may go away on its own or require a dose of antibiotics.

#4 Discharge with Pain or Bleeding: Abnormal discharge accompanied by painful urination or sex or bleeding could be a chlamydial or gonorrhea infection (STIs). If left untreated, these can migrate upwards and cause PID.

#5 Abnormal Discharge With Bubbles Around Genitals: This is a sign of genital herpes, which is treated with antivirals that stop the virus from multiplying further.

Tips for a healthy vaginal discharge

  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Stick to cotton underwear.
  • Do not shower or use scented soaps.
  • Prevent STIs by practicing safe sex.

Sexually active? You must know about this silent virus.


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One Comment

  1. Cool. I spent a long time looking for relevant content and found that your article gave me new ideas, which is very helpful for my research. I think my thesis can be completed more smoothly. Thank you.

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