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Obstetrics & Gynecology: Woman to woman health services

Vaginal Discharge

What's normal and what's not

Vaginal discharge is most often a normal and regular occurrence. However, certain types of discharge may indicate an infection. Abnormal discharge may be yellow or green, chunky in consistency, or foul smelling. Yeast or a bacterial infection usually causes abnormal discharge. If you notice any discharge that looks unusual or smells foul, call for an appointment to get treated.

Vaginal Discharge Color Meaning

Thick, White Discharge

If thick, white discharge goes along with other symptoms, such as itching, burning and irritation, it is probably due to a yeast infection. If not, it is normal discharge. You may also notice an increase in thick, white discharge before and after your period.

Yellow Discharge

Yellow discharge is abnormal discharge, as this is a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection. There also may be an odor associated with it.

Brown Discharge

Brown discharge may be due to irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing, you should schedule an appointment to be evaluated. This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer.

Green Discharge

Having green discharge is not normal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis. Patients are treated with antibiotics for trichomoniasis.

Yeast Infection Discharge

Yeast infection discharge is caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection discharge include a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, along with itching, redness, irritation and burning. Roughly 90 percent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life.

Vaginal discharge is often normal, but sometimes the color, amount, or consistency of discharge may indicate a problem and a need to contact a doctor.

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