The Types of Vaginal Discharges

Vaginal discharges are the vagina’s way of cleaning itself. A small amount of vaginal discharge a day is normal for everyone woman, but if there’s a problem with the vagina, the amount of discharge may increase or change in color, smell, or texture. It can be worrying to discover unusual vaginal discharge, but often you can tell what’s causing the discharge using a few simple attributes.

White vaginal discharge

Thick, white vaginal discharges are common at the beginning and end of your menstrual cycle, and may be present at other times of your cycle as well. With normal white discharge, there should be no itching. Itching and similar symptoms, like burning or soreness, can be a sign of an infection. The type of vaginal infection that most commonly produces white discharge is a yeast infection. Vaginal discharge from a yeast infection will look like cottage cheese in texture, instead of having a smooth consistency.

Clear discharge
Clear, watery discharge occurs at various points throughout your cycle and is typically normal. You may notice that this discharge gets especially thick after exercising or other athletic activities. If clear discharge seems stretchy instead of watery, it may be fertile mucous from ovulation. This discharge is a great indicator of when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

Yellow or green discharge
Vaginal discharges that are yellow or green are almost always an indication of a problem. Infections of the vagina often produce discharges that are some shade of these colors. Pale yellow discharge may indicate a yeast infection, if it takes on the cottage cheese texture mentioned earlier. Trichomoniasis, a sexually-transmitted infection, is another common cause of yellow or greenish discharge. Discharge from trichomoniasis tends to be slightly frothy.

Brown discharge
Since vaginal discharges are just a way for your vagina to clean itself, brown discharge usually occurs when there’s a particularly heavy amount of cleaning going on. Most often, women notice brown discharge during their period or in small amounts during pregnancy. This is called spotting, and is old blood. Spotting can also occur mid-cycle, or during ovulation. As long as large amounts of blood aren’t lost, spotting is normal.

If you have concerns about vaginal discharge

If you can’t tell whether or not your vaginal discharge is normal, or if you simply want a second opinion on the matter, you can see a doctor of gynecologist. They’re the most qualified to diagnose any vaginal problems and help you treat them

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