Vaginal discharge is fluid that comes from the vag. It is most often a normal and regular occurrence. You might see this on the tissue paper when you wipe or in your pants/underwear.
Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes such as cleaning and moistening the vag. It also helps to prevent and fight infections. For instance, it’s normal for discharge to increase with sexual arousal and ovulation.
It’s also normal for the color, texture, and amount of vaginal discharge to change at different times of the month during your menstrual cycle. But some changes in discharge may mean there is a problem. Abnormal vaginal discharge may be yellow or green, chunky in consistency, or foul smelling.
What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Normal vaginal fluids can be somewhat thin, sticky, and elastic, or thick. Vaginal fluids should be clear, white, or off-white in color. A clear and watery discharge is perfectly normal. It can occur at any time of the month. It may be especially heavy after exercise. When discharge is clear but stretchy and mucous-like, rather than watery, it indicates that you are likely ovulating. This is a normal type of discharge.
Brown or bloody discharge is usually normal, especially when it occurs during or right after your menstrual cycle. A late discharge at the end of your period can look brown instead of red. You may also experience a small amount of bloody discharge between periods. This is called spotting. In rare cases, brown or bloody discharge can be a sign of endometrial or cervical cancer. It could be other problems such as fibroids or other abnormal growths.
A yellow or green discharge, especially when it’s thick, chunky, or accompanied by an unpleasant smell, isn’t normal. This type of discharge may be a sign of the infection trichomoniasis. It’s commonly spread through sexual intercourse. Bacterial vaginosis is a quite common bacterial infection. It causes increased vaginal discharge that has a strong, foul, and sometimes fishy odor, although it produces no symptoms in some cases.
What Is Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
Pay attention for changes in vaginal discharge. There may be an infection if your vagina itches, you feel a burning sensation, swelling, or redness. When you detect a foul smelling or an offensive odor, a greenish, grayish, or anything looking like pus from the vag. Also a change in texture (such as foamy or looking like cottage cheese), vaginal bleeding or spotting that is not a menstrual period.
What Can Cause Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
Vag infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis (yeast infection), and trichomoniasis are common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. Some infections that can cause changes in vaginal discharge spread through sex, such as gonorrhoea. Others can happen with or without having s3x, such as bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
If you notice any changes in your vaginal discharge or think you may have a problem, see a doctor as soon as possible. This is really important for girls who have had s3x, especially without using a condom. That’s because many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause changes in vaginal discharge.
If you think you might have an STI or that you’ve been exposed to an STI, let the doctor know. Also see the doctor right away if you have discharge along with fever or pain in the belly or pelvic area.
How to prevent infections
- Practice good hygiene and wear breathable cotton underwear.
- Don’t use douches, as they can make discharge worse by removing useful bacteria.
- Also, practice safe s3x and use protection to avoid STIs.
- If you know you have a yeast infection, you can treat it with an over-the-counter yeast infection cream or vag*nal suppository.