Vaginal Discharge and what it means

Vaginal discharge

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is very common among women and there are certain types of discharge that can indicate that you have a vaginal infection. Abnormal discharge may be yellow or green, chunky in consistency, or foul-smelling.

A vaginal infection will usually cause abnormal discharge. If you notice any discharge that looks unusual or smells unusual, always see your doctor

Types of vaginal discharge

There are different types of vaginal discharge. Their colour and consistency may help tell the different kinds of infection that may be causing your discharge, read further to find out


White discharge can be normal especially if it’s just a bit and just after your periods,  However, if there is itching and has a thick, cottage cheese-like consistency or appearance, it’s not normal. You may have a yeast infection

Clear discharge

A clear, watery discharge is normal. However, If it is clear and stretchy, it may be a sign that you are ovulating, this is also normal

Brown Vaginal Discharge

Brown or bloody discharge is usually normal when it occurs during or right after your menses. A late discharge at the end of your period can look brown instead of red. You may see this bloody or brown discharge during periods. This is called spotting and can be caused by a couple of things from very early pregnancy to miscarriage,

In rare cases, brown or bloody discharge can be a sign of endometrial or cancer of the cervix. Fibroids could also cause it. This is why it’s important to do a pap smear every year or get a pelvic exam done with your gynaecologist. You can book one here

Yellow or green vaginal discharge

This kind of discharge is almost never normal, It may be a sign of the infection trichomoniasis caused by an organism known as Trichomonas vaginalis. This is sexually transmitted.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis is quite common. It can result in a vaginal discharge that has a strong, foul and fishy odour, some women may not have any symptoms at all.  Women who receive oral sex or who have multiple sexual partners have an increased risk of acquiring this infection.

Yeast infection

A yeast infection is a fungal infection that produces white, cottage cheese-like discharge and usually burning or itching sensations. Yeast can be found normally in the vagina but can grow abnormally. The following may increase your chances of getting a yeast infection

  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • use of birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Antibiotic abuse or misuse, especially when the use is prolonged

Gonorrhoea and chlamydia

They are sexually transmitted infections that may give an abnormal discharge. It’s often yellow, greenish, or cloudy in colour.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

An infection that’s usually spread by sexual contact. It occurs when bacteria spread up the vagina and into other reproductive organs. It may produce a foul-smelling discharge and may give the person who has this abdominal pain and a fever usually, it is important that you see your doctor if it feels like you have this

Human papillomavirus (HPV) or cervical cancer

This is the commonest cause of cancer of the cervix and is usually spread by sexual contact. While there may be no symptoms, this type of cancer can produce a bloody, brown, or watery discharge with an unpleasant odour.

You can screen and help prevent Cervical cancer with yearly Pap smears and also testing for the HPV

When to See a Doctor:

If your discharge deviates from the normal or there are other symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • pain in the abdomen
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fatigue

Or for any reason at all, you are worried, please see your doctor

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