What are Vaginal discharge types?

vaginal discharge types

What's vaginal discharge?

There are times when the vaginal discharge types are strange and you wonder why? Most of the time women have normal vaginal discharge that lubricate the area and no problems comes with it. Due to the fact that that fluid around the vagina there is no changes in smell or feeling of discomfort. However, the vaginal discharge types that can bring issues tend to have a strange color and odor. Once you start seeing that type you need to see your doctor. Texture and color of discharge also depends on the period on your menstrual cycle. 

Read also: Vaginal yeast infection symptoms 

There  are several vaginal discharge types, based on the color and texture you must be able to tell what is normal and not.

 White discharge

This is the normal vaginal color that especially occurs at the commencement or end or your mentruation. The white colored discharge can even be thick.

Clear and watery

 During ovulation, pregnancy or when sexually high, you may see clear and watery discharge

Clear and stretchy

 Especially when about to or during ovulation, the discharge will most likely be stretchy and mucoid in nature, but not watery.

Bloody and Brownish 

This is what we call spotting. Discharge tends to have bloody content and happens when menstruation in on or immediately after the menstruation. Never worry about it.

When you have had unprotected sex and tend to have spotting during your period days consider thinking about being pregnant. When pregnant spotting may mean a sign of abortion and you need to see your specialist.

Yellow or green

When your discharge is yellow it may mean exposure to air. Vaginal discharge types that show green happens to be air exposed nothing else. However, if the discharge is dark yellowish or green discharge with strong texture means something is wrong and may go with a bad smell.

Vaginal discharge is a healthy bodily function resulting from natural changes in estrogen levels. The amount of discharge can increase from the likes of ovulation, sexual arousal, birth control pills, and pregnancy.

The color, smell, and texture of vaginal discharge can be adversely affected by changes to the vagina’s bacterial balance. That’s because when the number of harmful bacteria increases, vaginal infections are more likely.

Here are some of the possible infections to be aware of.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a common bacterial infection. It causes increased vaginal discharge that has a strong, foul, and sometimes fishy odor. Discharge may also look gray, thin, and watery. In some cases, the infection produces no symptoms.

Although bacterial vaginosis isn’t transmitted via sexual contact, you have a higher risk of developing it if you’re sexually active or have recently gotten a new sexual partner. The infection can also put you at a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).


Trichomoniasis is another type of infection caused by a parasite. It’s usually spread by sexual contact, but can also be contracted by sharing towels or bathing suits.

Up to half of the people affected have no symptoms. Those who do will often notice a yellow, green, or frothy discharge with an unpleasant odor. Pain, inflammation, and itching around the vagina as well as when urinating or having sex are also common signs.

Yeast infection

yeast infection occurs when yeast growth increases in the vagina. It produces a thick and white discharge that looks similar to cottage cheese. This discharge doesn’t usually smell.

Other symptoms include burning, itching, and other irritation around the vagina along with soreness during sex or when urinating.

The following can increase your likelihood of yeast infections:

  • stress
  • diabetes
  • use of birth control pills
  • pregnancy
  • antibiotics, especially prolonged use over 10 days

Gonorrhea and chlamydia

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are STIs that can produce an abnormal discharge due to infecting the cervix. It’s often yellow, greenish, or cloudy in color.

You may also experience:

  • pain when urinating
  • stomach pain
  • bleeding after penetrative vaginal sex
  • bleeding between periods

But some people may have zero symptoms.

Genital herpes

This STI can lead to thick vaginal discharge with a strong smell, particularly after sex. Sores and blisters can appearTrusted Source around the genitals along with bleeding between periods and a burning sensation when urinating.

However, it’s more commonTrusted Source to have no or mild symptoms. If symptoms do occur, you may experience repeated outbreaks throughout your life.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Heavy, foul-smelling discharge and pain in the stomach, after sex, or while menstruating or urinating may be signs of pelvic inflammatory disease.

This occurs when bacteria move into the vagina and up to other reproductive organs and can be caused by STIs that are left untreated like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Human papillomavirus or cervical cancer

The human papillomavirus infection is spread by sexual contact and can lead to cervical cancer. While there may be no symptoms, this type of cancer can result in:

  • bloody, brown, or watery discharge with an unpleasant odor
  • unusual bleeding occurring between periods or after sex
  • pain while urinating or an increased urge to urinate

In rare cases, brown or bloody discharge can also be a sign of endometrial cancer, fibroids, or other growths.

If you’re ever worried about your vaginal discharge, talk with a clinician as soon as possible. This is particularly true if your discharge changes color, smell, or consistency or if you’re noticing more of it than usual.

Other symptoms to watch out for include:

  • irritation around the vagina
  • bleeding between periods, after penetrative vaginal sex, or after menopause
  • pain when urinating
  • fever
  • pain in the abdomen or during penetrative vaginal sex
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fatigue
  • increased urination

When you see a healthcare professional, they’ll likely perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. The clinician will also ask several questions about your symptoms, menstrual cycle, and general lifestyle. In many cases, an infection can be detected by a physical or pelvic exam.

If a healthcare professional is unable to diagnose the problem immediately, they may swab your vagina to get a sample of the discharge and examine it under a microscope or send it to a lab for further testing. They may also want to take a scraping from your cervix to check for human papillomavirus or cervical cancer.

Once the clinician knows the cause of the discharge, you’ll be given treatment options. These can range from a short course of antibiotics to surgery in rare cases.

As vaginal discharge is natural, it’s not possible to prevent it. But you can take measures to reduce the chance of infections.

Gently wash around your vagina with water, avoiding scented products and douches that may cause irritation. Drying the area thoroughly and wearing breathable cotton underwear can also help.

Additionally, consider using a condom or other barrier method during sexual activity and thoroughly clean sex toys to reduce your risk of STIs. And if you have a period, try to change the likes of tampons and pads frequently.

Vaginal discharge types as explained results from variety of causes including infections and changes that occurs during periods. The color of vaginal discharge determines the possible cause and tells you whether is normal or not. Due to differences in vaginal discharge types the treatment will depend on the identified issue.

Read also: What is gonorrhea?

Jose Phiri

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