Vaginal Discharge : How to check if you have a Vaginal Discharge?


Vaginal discharge is a clear, white, or off-white fluid that flows from your vagina. Vaginal discharge, which is mostly made up of cells and germs, is produced by your uterus, cervix, and vagina. It aids in lubricating and cleaning your vagina as well as preventing infection and harmful germs. Vaginal discharge is a typical and natural procedure, however, changes to your discharge might indicate an infection or illness.

Amount: While some women have a lot of vaginal discharge, others have less. How much vaginal discharge you experience might vary depending on a number of circumstances, including ovulation, pregnancy, and the use of birth control tablets. Any rapid changes in your vaginal discharge should be cause for concern.


The purpose of normal vaginal discharge is to lubricate the vagina, prevent discomfort and infection, and maintain the health of the vaginal tissues.

If vaginal discharge rises, it may be due to changes in the menstrual cycle that are typical (HHS).

The quantity and appearance of the discharge might also be impacted by pregnancy and the usage of birth control tablets.

 A typical vaginal discharge that smells strangely, differs from normal discharge in appearance or is accompanied by itchiness, irritation, burning, or discomfort may be a sign of inflammation, an infection, or a sexually transmitted infection (STI),  

Other causes are the following:

  • Bovine vaginosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory illness, or cervicitis (PID)
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Vaginitis
  • Candida infection
  • The chlamydial infection
  • Gonorrhea
  • Vaginal wasting
  • Pelvic fistula
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Some hygienic habits, such as douching, using soaps or perfumed sprays, or neglecting to change a tampon, might result in irregular vaginal discharge.

Infections can modify or affect the fragrance of vaginal discharge in a number of ways. Many of these illnesses can be contracted through sexual contact with an infected person.

Candida infection

When a certain fungus (candida) overgrows in your vagina, vaginal yeast infections take place. It results in a thick, white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese. It is possible that your vagina will enlarge, itch, and hurt during intercourse. Yeast infections are treated with antifungal medicines.

"Trich" or trichomoniasis

An STD called trichomoniasis is contracted through sexual contact with an infected individual. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite. Your vaginal discharge becomes bubbly or frothy, and it becomes green, yellow, or grey. Antibiotics are used to treat it.

BV, or bacterial vaginosis

There is bacterial vaginosis when there is an excessive amount of a certain bacterium in your vagina. Although not usually, it can be spread by sexual contact. People with BV have a fishy-smelling, white or grey discharge. Antibiotics are used to treat it.

Chlamydia (clap) and gonorrhea

You can get chlamydia and gonorrhea by having intercourse with an infected individual. Your healthcare professional prescribes antibiotics to treat both illnesses. These infections can cause some women to have hazy, yellow, or green vaginal discharge. If the infection is not treated, it might progress and result in a painful pelvic inflammatory disease.

It is not always an infection that causes vaginal discharge. Sexual arousal and changes in the good bacteria balance in your vagina can bring on vaginal leaking.

Additional elements that might cause discharge include:

  • An item that should not be in or around the vagina. You may, as an illustration, leave a tampon within your vagina.
  • An allergic reaction that causes an itch or rash (a substance or chemical). This might come from sexual lubricants, condoms, soaps, or materials used in sex toys.
  • Disease is known as atrophic vaginitis. When oestrogen levels drop after menopause, this may occur. The vaginal walls become drier and thinner than usual due to the decreasing oestrogen levels.
  • During pregnancy, you produce more discharge because it helps to avoid infection.
  • During ovulation, when your ovaries release their eggs, your discharge may become very slick and watery.

How to check if you have a Vaginal Discharge?

Get in touch with your doctor if you see:

  • An increase in vaginal discharge volume.
  • A shift in the discharge's hue.
  • An unpleasant odour.
  • A change in the discharge's consistency or texture.
  • Discomfort, itchiness, or soreness in or near your vagina.


Each woman will occasionally have vaginal discharge. On the undergarments, it often appears as a white or transparent fluid. Some women discharge frequently, while others only do so occasionally. Both fluid and cells that have shed via the vagina are present in the discharge.

Depending on the stage of your menstrual cycle, the quantity, color, and substance of discharge may alter. Discharge, however, is distinct from menstrual blood.

Discharge fluid can be numerous different things, including:

Cervical phlegm. The cervix, along with changes that occur during a menstrual cycle or pregnancy, produces this transparent liquid or gel-like fluid.

Activation Fluid is created during sexual stimulation and it takes place by glands in and surrounding the vagina. After lubricating the vagina, the fluid normally disappears one hour after arousal.

Fluid Séminaire: the sperm and other bodily secretions of a male. If you have sex during the previous day, it can manifest as vaginal discharge (seminal fluid can stay in the vagina for hours after intercourse).

Additional signs can include:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Both urinating and sexual activity are painful


The following therapies may be necessary if vaginal discharge is caused by an infection or irritation; typical discharge from cervical mucus, arousal fluid, or semen does not require treatment.

Options for Medication

  • For itching relief, use a corticosteroid cream like hydrocortisone or an oral antihistamine.
  • Drugs called antibiotics are used to treat diseases brought on by bacteria.
  • Using an estrogen-containing vaginal lotion to treat menopausal vaginitis

Therapies that are Alternative and Complementary

At-home self-care for vaginal discharge might consist of the following:

  • Antifungal cream available over-the-counter for a yeast infection
  • Use a cold compress to soothe the vulva's itch, puffiness, or irritation.
  • Refraining from sexual activity
  • Until the annoyance passes, or when engaging in penetrating sex.
  • Maintaining genital hygiene by thoroughly rinsing and drying after each daily wash without soap (or with a light, non-allergenic soap).
  • Daily underwear changes and daily body washing

Complications of Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is common, but if it is accompanied by other symptoms like burning, stinging, irritation, or discomfort, the underlying cause has to be addressed. The following issues may arise if the underlying problem is not addressed:

  • A higher risk of getting STIs exists in the presence of bacterial vaginosis.
  • There is an increased risk of contracting additional STIs if trichomoniasis is present.
  • Premature births and low birth weight have been associated with having bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis symptoms while pregnant.
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can result in PID if neglected. PID may then result in ectopic pregnancy.

There are different levels of vaginal discharge in women or those who were designated female at birth (AFAB). While some individuals detect very little, others create more discharge than others. Your normal vaginal discharge's colour, texture, smell, or quantity change might indicate an issue. Medication may usually be used to address most abnormal vaginal discharge sources.

Vaginal discharge should typically be white or transparent. It should not smell unpleasant, and its thickness may vary from period to period. The following are other aspects of vaginal discharge:

Texture: The nature of vaginal discharge can vary, ranging from gooey, thick, and pasty to watery and sticky. This shift is brought on by hormones in your body, but other elements, such as an infection, can also affect the nature of your vaginal discharge. If your vaginal discharge is chunky, frothy, or comes with itchiness and color changes, you may have an infection.

Color: Vaginal discharge that is clear, milky white, or off-white is considered healthy. Discharge that is dark yellow, brown, green, or gray might point to an infection or another problem.

Vaginal discharge may have a smell, but it should not be overpowering You can have a vaginal infection if your discharge has a fishy or unpleasant smell and changes in texture or color.

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Page last reviewed: Mar 21, 2023

Next review due: Mar 21, 2025

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