Understanding Vaginal Discharge 

Discharge simply stated means something that is pushed out of something.

What is vaginal discharge? Vaginal discharge is an occurrence that all females have and will experience. Anywhere between six months to a year just before a girl’s first menstruation vaginal discharge usually begins.

Therefore, vaginal discharge is a substance (usually mucous or a fluid of some kind) that is pushed out of the vagina.

There are different types of vaginal discharge. Just by the color and smell alone you can just about guess if there is a cause for concern (usually infection). 

Vaginal infection differs from STD's and Vaginal Diseases. You can get an infection with or without engaging in intercourse.  

Vaginal infections are common and preventable. They are bothersome and painful but by learning simple hygiene practices and life-style changes they wont be so common after all.

Understanding vaginal discharge is another key to vaginal health... knowing the signs of what is normal or abnormal is vital! Understanding the various types of discharge helps you to protect yourself and maintain vaginal health and youthfulness.

I know, I know you go to the bathroom one day to do your business. You may experience one or maybe all of these occurrences.

You get a whiff of a light musky smell or you routinely wipe from front to back only to come up with tissue-paper loaded with a clear mucus-like stuff or you pull-down your panties and see a thick white paste-like substance.

Ok, ok don't panic!

Continue reading below, let's learn what is normal or abnormal.

Normal Vaginal Discharge 

All women will experience discharge of some kind. Normal vaginal discharge has an light earthy/musky smell. It smells natural rather than foul. To the opposite sex it is a intoxicating smell.

Normal discharge may have no smell at all, especially if you drink water frequently. 

Normal discharge help cleanse the vagina and maintains proper pH. The normal pH balance of the vagina is acidic between 3.8  to 4.5, this helps to regulate how much natural bacteria and yeast grows there.

The acidic environment stops the natural yeast and bacteria from overgrowing.

Vaginal discharge is the secretion that comes from the uterus, cervix and from the vaginal walls itself. It is a mixture of cells, mucus and flora (bacteria) from the vagina. 

Normal vaginal discharge is a good thing, it is one of the factors that help keeps your reproductive system healthy.

Clear and Watery

Clear and watery discharge with a fresh light earthy/musky smell or may have no smell at all is normal vaginal discharge. You may feel a bit wet but, this is were the cotton panty-liner come in to play.

The vagina is just cleaning itself out.

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Milky White

Milky white discharge usually thick with a light earthy/musky smell or may have no smell at all is also normal. Occurs usually at the beginning ( a few days before) and end (a few days after) your period. 

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Clear and Springy

Clear and springy discharge is another normal with the added benefit for those you wish to get pregnant. The discharge means you are ovulating, you are  "Fertile Baby".

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Brownish/Brown discharge can also be normal discharge. Discharge that's leftover blood from your period that just ended in most cases. However, there may be another reason for this. It could also mean you are pregnant.

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Spotting Blood Discharge

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Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

There are definite signs of abnormal vaginal discharge some women will experience, these changes maybe a few times through out life.

All abnormal vaginal discharge is accompanied by foul odor (fishy), itching (inside vaginal canal and vulva), burning, and fever and/or abdominal or pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Knowing the signs of normal and abnormal discharge is one of the keys to vaginal health and youthfulness.

Abnormal biological fluids are a concern do not wait and see if it goes away. Go straight to your doctor if your discharge has any of the above symptoms.   

Just a slight change in the vaginal environment can cause a change in discharge amount and texture as well as the color and smell.

Something as simple as using soap inside your vagina when washing or spraying perfume on lining of panties can trigger an upset in the natural balance of the vaginal flora. This can cause yeast or bacteria overgrowth, perfect environment for infections.  

Although most abnormal discharge are either bacterial or yeast overgrowth; abnormal vaginal discharge can be cause by other serious issues as well. We will talk more about these issues in Vaginal Diseases. 

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White Clumpy Vaginal Discharge

White clumpy discharge with severe itching and pain is usually a yeast infection. Yeast infections are often odorless and can occur easily the week before your period.

Yeast is a fungus and it can be spread to your partner.

It is accompany by severe itching,

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Fishy Smelling Vaginal Discharge

White to gray vaginal discharge with a strong fishy odor is usually Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). BV occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria overgrowth in the vaginal environment.

It too can cause itching, burning, vulva swelling and pain. 

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Greenish Yellow Vaginal Discharge

A heavy greenish yellow frothy discharge is common to the STI called Trichomoniasis.

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that passes from an infected person during sexual intercourse. You may experience painful intercourse and abdominal cramps.

You may also notice pain while urinating, itching, soreness and a foul odor.

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Yellowish Green

Yellowish green discharge is common to the STD Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is transmitted from an infected person during sexual intercourse.  

Look for thick yellowish green discharge (most common) or thin watery discharge both with a strong foul odor, burning and pain when urinating, there may be pain during and between your menstruation.  

In some women there may be no symptoms at all.

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Bloody brown discharge can mean several things: 

  1. Normal discharge mixed with left-over blood from period that just ended.
  2. Irregular period cycle
  3. ovulating mid-cycle
  4. pregnancy
  5. cervical or endometrial cancer
  6. pelvic inflammatory disease
  7. genital warts
  8. gonorrhea
  9. chlamydia
  10. trichomonas

If you are experiencing foul smell (fishy), pain, burning, itching and abdominal /pelvic cramps do not hesitate to see a GYN/Doctor.

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Vaginal discharge is biological fluids that flows down and out of the vaginal canal/opening. It is very normal. It is a way for the vagina to clean itself out.

The discharge which is mucus from the uterus, cervix and vagina walls can range in color and texture from clear and watery to thick and greenish depending on the issue/infection.

Click on any of the above links to read about one or all of the issue/s concerning you or just to be informed.

Vaginal Health/ Understanding Vaginal Discharge