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Vaginal Discharge: When to see a doctor?

Women of all age group face vaginal discharge which can be normal in many cases. It is the discharge of fluid released by glands in the vagina and cervix and it carries dead cells and bacteria out of the body helping to keep the vagina clean and prevent infection. Most of the time the discharge is perfectly normal though it may raise concerns among women.


Normal vaginal discharge varies in amount and ranges in color from clear to milky white with slight odor as well though foul or fishy odor could  be a sign of infection. There will be more discharge at the time of ovulation, breastfeeding, or  sexual arousal. It may smell different during  pregnancy or while there is  lack of personal hygiene.  None of these situations is not a cause for much concern. However, if the color, smell, or consistency seems quite different than usual, especially if there is vaginal itching or burning, there could be an infection or other issues.


Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

Changes in the vagina’s balance of normal bacteria can affect the smell, color, or discharge texture. The bacterial  balance can be affected by many things such as  antibiotic use, infections, having multiple sexual partners, cervical cancer, diabetes, Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Yeast infections, thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls during menopause, steroid use etc


Color of vaginal discharge and meaning


Thick and White

Thick white discharge along with other symptoms like itching, burning and irritation is  probably due to a yeast infection. Otherwise it is normal discharge.  There may be an increase in thick, white discharge before and after the period.




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



Brown discharge may be caused by irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing better to consult a doctor for further examination.  This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. Additionally, during menopause, a woman should not have any type of vaginal bleeding, which is also a sign of uterine cancer.



Green discharge is abnormal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis. Better to consult the doctor immediately



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. If symptoms persist it talk to  the doctor



Discharge during pregnancy

Leukorrhea is a type of early pregnancy discharge. This sign of pregnancy is often milky white, thin, and generally harmless.  But a strong smelling, yellowish or green discharge which is also accompanied by itching or redness, it could be a sign of vaginal infection. These infections can take place during any stage of pregnancy. Candidiasis( yeast infection) is one of the most common infections pregnant women get.


Vaginal discharge after menopause

Although the vagina has less moisture after menopause, there might still have some discharge. This is perfectly normal. A thinner vaginal lining is more easily irritated and more vulnerable to infection. The discharge may be lighter in color also have yellow or white discharge due to infection.

















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