Abnormal Vaginal Discharge:
Causes, Symptoms, & When to contact a Doctor

Symptoms of abnormal vaginal discharge include smelly discharge, unusual color, and yeast infection signs.

Discharge from your vagina is normal and primarily transparent or white, often accompanied by a slightly acidic odor. This discharge is a product of the walls (mucous membrane) of your vagina and cervix, contributing to a healthy balance of bacteria and fungi within.

Various factors can influence discharge, such as increased production around ovulation, hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, sexual arousal, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills or hormones, the presence of a pessary, and changes observed after menopause.

Changes in the color or scent of vaginal discharge may arise from increased fungal or bacterial vaginal growth, potentially triggered by factors such as soap, antibiotics, or pregnancy. Furthermore, the existence of bacteria not typically present in the vagina, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the occurrence of blood in the discharge can contribute to these changes.

  • Transparent or white discharge
  • When dried, it may appear as a slight yellow vaginal discharge or tint
  • Usually, it maintains a mildly acidic odor
  • Varying amounts of discharge are natural among different women.

Still worried? Consult a GP!

Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge: bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, STIs.

Normal vaginal discharge is generally beneficial, and even changes due to increased fungi or bacteria often resolve on their own. However, if accompanied by symptoms like itching, foul odor, or red, swollen labia, medical attention may be necessary. Particularly if symptoms suggest an STI, prompt consultation with a healthcare provider is advised. More information can be found in the section under the tab "when to seek medical attention".

  • Washing wash the entrance of your vagina only with lukewarm water, avoiding soap or douches. Excessive washing with soap and products can cause irritation. Gently dry the vagina after washing or showering to prevent irritation.
  • Do not use vaginal douches or other subtances like deodorants, tea tree oil, garlic, probiotics, or yogurt in the vagina
  • Clothing opt for cotton sanitary products and breathable cotton underwear.
  • Sexual activity engage in sexual activity when adequately lubricated to prevent irritation. Use a lubricant if necessary. Consider using condoms and lubricants without irritants or spermicides.

Still worried? Consult a GP!

Treatments for abnormal vaginal discharge: yeast infection remedies, bacterial vaginosis treatments, vaginal health tips.

Seek medical attention if you experience one of the symptoms below or if you suspect having an STI.

Always seek medical advice if you are 15 years old or younger and experience discharge issues. Regular communication with healthcare providers ensures comprehensive care for your reproductive health.

  • Severe itching or pain
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Unexpected change in color or foul odor of the discharge
  • Brown or red discharge when not menstruating
  • If you suspect an STI
  • Vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain.
  • Persistent excessive discharge beyond 4 weeks.
  • Onset of discharge after menopause.

Still worried? Consult a GP!