What is it?
Vaginal discharge is a mucus or fluid that is excreted from the vagina. Most girls will notice that they get a little discharge for a while before they get their period for the first time, maybe one to two years before. All women have normally some discharge that is slimy, milky white or clear. In contact with air, the discharge oxidizes and it turns yellow. The smell should not be pleasant, and normal discharge usually does not cause itching. The degree of discharge varies from woman to woman and for the individual woman during the menstrual cycle. The largest amount of secretion occurs around ovulation.
What can it tell you?
In the case of abnormal amounts of discharge, it is usually an inflammation of the vagina that is the cause.
Here is what the color and consistency of your discharge can tell you about your body:
- Bloody or brown: It might mean that you have irregular menstrual cycles. Though very rare, it could be symptoms of cervical or endometrial cancer.
- Cloudy or yellow: That can be a symptom of gonorrhea. Other symptoms can be bleeding between periods, urinary incontinence, or pelvic pain.
- Frothy, yellow or greenish, thin-flowing with a bad smell: It can be a sign of trichomoniasis. The discharge comes in large amounts, accompanied by soreness. It is a sexually transmitted disease causing inflammation of the vagina and/or urethra of women, and in the urethra of men. The mucous membrane is irritated, swollen and sore. The disease is harmless, it is easy to treat and it does not lead to complications.
- White, thick discharge with cottage cheese consistency: That is a symptom of yeast infection. It is accompanied by soreness, itching, and redness around the vagina and in the vagina. Yeast infection is a completely harmless condition, you often get well without treatment. During treatment, an antifungal cream or suppository will almost always help. Still, recurrence is a major problem for some.
- White, gray, or yellow with fishy odor: That can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. It is the most common cause of discharge in women. Often the unpleasant smell of the discharge is the most annoying nuisance. This is due to a change in the microbial environment of the vagina where lactic acid bacteria are replaced with a mixture of bacteria. Half of those with the condition are without symptoms. There is usually no treatment for it, since the immune system will heal the condition, and it is a completely harmless condition.
- Increased and sometimes bloody discharge: Can be a sign of cervicitis. This may be due to different types of infection – chlamydia, trichomoniasis, possibly gonorrhea (rare) or herpes.