Is my vaginal discharge normal or abnormal?

vaginal discharge

Vaginal Discharge Symptoms

 Vaginal discharge can be uncomfortable to have and embarrassing to discuss. Many women may associate the problem with an infection and hesitate to talk with friends or even her doctor. In reality, vaginal discharge comes in a rainbow of colors and consistencies. More often than not, it's a completely normal way to keep the area clean and healthy but can be related to infections and other conditions that need medical care. Clear watery discharge or excessive watery discharge maybe the start of abnormal vaginal discharge to look out for. In some women in can be iud abnormal discharge if they inserted one.

Read also: Causes of longer and heavy menstrual period

Most women have some regular vaginal discharge, though the amount can vary widely. Some have it every day and others just occasionally. For most, it is clear or white in color though this can vary too, especially during pregnancy or menstruation. The discharge can also change depending on time in the menstrual cycle or during exercise or sexual activity. Discharge may deserve more attention when it changes suddenly or is associated with certain symptoms.

Common features of abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Bad odor

  • Itching

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Irritation or redness

  • Very thick consistency: Like cottage cheese

  • Foamy discharge

  • Green or yellow color

  • Discomfort with sexual intercourse

  • Difficulty with urination

Vaginal Discharge Causes

Remember that most discharge is normal and is the body's natural lubricant and cleaning fluid. There are many underlying reasons for this natural bodily function.

In some categories, such as infection or mediation use, vaginal discharge can change and should be evaluated by a doctor.

Physiological (normal) causes

Causes of vaginal discharge that are simply normal bodily processes include the following.

  • Ovulation: Many women have an increase in clear, sticky discharge at this time of the cycle.

  • Pregnancy: Thin, white discharge with mild odor is common in pregnancy women.

  • Exercise: Increased physical exertion can cause an increase in amount of normal discharge.

  • Sexual activity: This is the body's natural response to sexually arousing situations.

  • Everyday discharge: A small amount of clear to white discharge is a natural way of keeping things clean. Most do not even notice this discharge, but it can leave faint yellow discoloration on underwear.

Infectious (abnormal) causes

Infectious causes of vaginal discharge may include the following.
  • Sexually transmitted infections: STIs can cause an increase in discharge that is often an unusual color or has a bad odor. However, remember that many cases cause no symptoms and regular screenings are essential for those at risk. Sometimes this discharge is thick, yellow or even green in color [2].

  • Bacterial overgrowth: The body's natural methods of keeping bacteria at bay can be disrupted by changes like a new sexual partner or vaginal douching. This often has a fishy odor.

  • Yeast infections     (fungal infection): Often caused by a species of yeast called Candida albicans, these infections cause itching and thick, cottage cheese-like discharge [3].

Other causes

Other causes of vaginal discharge you may not be considering include the following.

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar increases the risk of vaginal infections that may cause discharge.

  • Antibiotics: These medications may affect the normal bacteria in the vagina and cause a yeast infection.

  • Birth control pills: Hormonal contraception can cause a change in vaginal discharge that is usually harmless.

  • Foreign body: Objects like a retained tampon or toilet paper lead to discomfort and discharge. This often has a very bad odor as well.

  • Cancer: In rare cases, vaginal discharge may indicate a more serious problem, especially if it is bloodier than your typical menstrual cycle. All bloody discharge in post-menopausal women should be evaluated right away .


Here you can compare the characteristics of your discharge if normal or abnormal by comparing with the following:

1.Normal case of vaginal discharge

It is perfectly normal for every woman to have a clear or thin white vaginal discharge which is more or less constant.

The body protects the vaginal tissues by producing this light mucus from glands in the cervix and in the vaginal walls. This keeps the tissues lubricated so that they do not dry out and become irritated, and keeps the tissues slightly acidic because that helps to kill off any harmful germs.

The discharge is also a cleaning mechanism, clearing away any dead cells or bacteria as it moves out of the vagina. Douching is not necessary for normal discharge.

Vaginal discharge may change at different stages of life. During pregnancy, it becomes white and milky in appearance.

During and after menopause, the discharge lessens due to the drop in estrogen levels. If the dryness causes irritation or difficulty with sexual activity, a gynecologist can recommend an appropriate remedy.

Normal vaginal discharge never causes itching or has a foul smell, and is never any color other than clear or white.


Pelvic inflammatory disease

vaginal discharge
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is the general term for a bacterial infection of a woman's reproductive organs.

PID is most often a complication of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, it is possible to get PID from other causes.

Any woman can be affected. It is most often found in sexually active women under age 25, especially those who have had PID before, have multiple partners, and/or douche frequently.

Symptoms include fever, lower abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, pain and/or bleeding during sex, and pain on urination.

Untreated PID can cause infertility due to damaged tissue in the reproductive tract, as well as chronic pelvic and abdominal pain. Unprotected sex partners will be infected as well.

Diagnosis is made through symptoms, pelvic examination, vaginal and cervical swabs, and urine tests.

Treatment is with a course of antibiotics. Be sure to finish all of the medication as directed, even when you begin feeling better.

To prevent PID, have all partners (male or female) tested for STDs and avoid unprotected sexual contact.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain

Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease: fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge

Urgency: In-person visit

Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia trachomatis is a type of bacteria best known for causing the sexually transmitted infection known simply as chlamydia. It is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with more than a million cases reported each year in the U.S. alone.

However, the sy...

Gonococcal cervicitis

gonococcal cervicitis
Gonococcal cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix – the passageway at the lower end of the uterus – caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and spreads through unprotected sexual contact.

Symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, pain or discomfort during sex, and vaginal bleeding after sex. However, some women have few or no symptoms.

If not treated, gonococcal cervicitis can lead to further infection of the reproductive tract and to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause sterility.

Diagnosis is made after a cervical swab is taken and tested.

Treatment is through a course of oral antibiotics. Women diagnosed with gonococcal cervicitis should be further tested for other common STDs such as chlamydia and trichomoniasis, as they are often found at the same time.

The best prevention for gonorrhea is the use of a condom during sex, as well as testing of all sex partners so that they can be treated and not re-infect anyone.

Cervicitis in general can be prevented by not exposing the cervix to douching or other irritants.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, painful sex, yellow pus vaginal discharge, heavy menstrual flow

Symptoms that never occur with gonococcal cervicitis: improving vaginal discharge

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Vaginal trichomonas infection

Vaginal trichomonas infection
Trichomonas vaginalis infection (or "Trichomoniasis
" or "trich") is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite of the same name. It affects over 3 million people per year, but only about 30% have any symptoms.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: vaginal discharge, vulvovaginal odor, vaginal itch or burning, vaginal bleeding, white/gray vaginal discharge

Symptoms that always occur with vaginal trichomonas infection: vaginal discharge

Symptoms that never occur with vaginal trichomonas infection: vaginal ulcer

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Vaginal Discharge Treatments and Relief

Most cases of worrisome vaginal discharge have to be treated by a doctor, so some simple preventive steps can save a lot of hassle.

A visit to the doctor for an examination and testing is the best way to determine the cause of concerning discharge. In most cases, medication can resolve the problem quickly.


Some medications that may relieve symptoms of abnormal vaginal discharge may include the following.
  • Antifungal: Over-the-counter medications like Monistat and prescription versions like fluconazole are the best treatment for yeast infections.

  • Antibiotics: Most other infections can be treated by a course of antibiotics selected by your doctor depending on the cause.

  • Anti-itch cream: Over-the-counter remedies like Vagasil treat bothersome treatments like itching and irritation but do not usually treat the underlying cause.


  • Gentle cleaning: If you feel the need to clean the vagina, use warm water and a very mild soap. Avoid chemical douches, perfumed soaps, bubble baths and vaginal sprays as these can actually cause infections and irritation [5].

  • Wipe front to back: After using the bathroom, wipe away from the vagina to avoid contaminating it with bacteria or stool.

  • Change out of wet clothes: Don't wear that bathing suit or sweaty gym outfit for too long.

  • Wear loose fitting clothing: Tight pants and underwear can increase irritation and risk for infection.

  • Change tampons and pads frequently: During your period, keep extra supplies on hand.

When vaginal discharge is an emergency

It's important to visit the doctor without delay if you have:
  • Fever

  • Severe pain in the pelvis or belly

  • Difficulty urinating

  • Heavy or unusual bleeding when your periods are normally predictable

  • Bloody discharge after menopause

 Questions about vaginal discharge

What is white discharge treatment
 Ans: It depends on the cause. if the cause is infectious your doctor will prescribe medication for it.

What causes milky white discharge
Ans : the most common causes are sexually transmitted infections. Not only that but also fungal infection causes it. So visit your health care provider for diagnosis.

Medicine for white discharge and itching
 Ans:Depending on the cause antibiotics, or anti-fungal if caused by candidiasis.

Thick white clumpy discharge
Ans: It may be a sign of ovulation. if the color changes to brown then it may mean an infection is present.
White discharge after period
Ans: It is normal in many cases you do not worry the uterus is getting rid of post menstrual stuff.

Is white discharge a sign of period coming
 Ans:No it maybe i sign of an STI

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