Understanding Vaginal Discharge

Understanding Vaginal Discharge

What is it?

Vaginal discharge comes from the glands inside of your vagina and cervix. It’s natural to have discharge because fluid flows and cleanses out old cells within vaginal lining. However, some discharges can be caused by other gyn issues.
Discharge Colors:
  • Milky or white
  • Thick and white
  • Yellow or green
  • Brown or bloody
  • Cloudy or yellow

Discharge Color Chart


Walk-in to our 24/7 GYN Emergent Care Center for immediate care.

This is considered normal with no required follow-up care unless you begin to experience any of the other symptoms that follow.

Possible Diagnosis: Vaginal Yeast Infection resembling cottage cheese.
Symptoms: Itching, burning, soreness, or pain during urination and sex.

Possible Diagnosis: Bacterial Vaginosis.
Symptoms: Fishy odor along with itching and swelling of the vaginal area.
Possible Diagnosis: Trichomoniasis (Common STD).
Symptoms: Foul odor.
Possible Diagnosis: Gonorrhea (Common STD).
Symptoms: Pelvic pain.

Possible Diagnosis: Irregular menstruation or something more serious.
Symptoms: Pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding.

Can I prevent discharge?

Sometimes discharge can be prevented by:
  • Using warm water and unscented soap to wash your vulva
  • Taking baths in plain warm water without bath products.
  • Don’t use sprays or powders on your vagina
  • Not douching
  • Not wiping with scented baby wipes

Does discharge mean cancer?

Discharge is a common symptom of many gynecologic cancers and should be examined by our OB/GYN Specialists for further testing. But most discharge can be treated for most conditions with the proper medication and care. The first signs of cancer may include abnormal bleeding, spotting, or watery discharge from the vagina. 

What′s normal discharge during pregnancy?

Similar to when you’re not pregnant, it’s normal to have a thin white or clear vaginal discharge. A mild odor may also be present.

Why is there an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
This happens because the body wants to reduce the risk of uterine and vaginal infections.

When to tell your physician about discharge?
Any time there is a change in your normal discharge, it is suggested to tell your physician.

Inform your physician immediately if spotting or enough blood to fill a pad or tampon occurs. 

Prevention: Probiotic Foods

Probiotics offer beneficial bacteria. What are probiotic foods?

  1. Yogurt – Milk, fermented by good bacteria
  2. Kefir – Fermented probiotic milk drink
  3. Sauerkraut – Finely shredd cabbage, fermented by lactic acid bacteria
  4. Tempeh – Fermented soybean product
  5. Kimchi – Fermented, spicy Korean side dish
  6. Miso – Japaneses seasoning
  7. Kombucha – Fermented green or black tea drink
  8. Pickles – Pickled cucumbers, soaked in a water and salt solution
  9. Traditional Buttermilk – Fermented dairy drink
  10. Natto – Fermented soy bean product
  11. Some types of cheeses –  Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese

How to choose a probiotic supplement?

Probiotics can have specific benefits.

  1. Lactobacillus benefits:
    1. Vaginal Health
    2. Acne/Eczema
    3. Preventing Diarrhea/GI Support
    4. Inflammation
    5. Brain Health
  2. Bifidobacterium benefits:
    1. Immunity
    2. Brain Function
    3. Preventing Constipation/GI Support
  3. Streptococcus benefits:
    1. Skin support

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