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8 Types of Vaginal Discharge and What They Mean

Posted by Kushae Health on
8 Types of Vaginal Discharge and What They Mean

What Is Vaginal Discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a mixture of fluid and cells from the vagina. Vaginal discharge varies in color, texture, appearance, and odor depending on certain factors like birth control. Normal vaginal discharge is acidic, thick, mucus-like, and appears white or clear with a slight smell that is not offensive. Sometimes, normal discharge can look yellowish. The amount of discharge varies between women based on birth control, medication, menstruation, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, diet, and douching. According to research, within a 24-hour time frame, most women will have 1 to 4 ml of vaginal discharge. It is normal to have less or more than 1-4 ml of discharge in a day based on the changes listed above.

Type of Vaginal Discharge Symptoms Causes
Gray, yellow, or white with a fishy odor Redness, swelling of the vulva or vagina, and burning or itching genitals. Bacterial vaginosis
Cheesy, white, & thick Thick, cottage-cheese texture, genital itching, painful sexual intercourse, swelling, and pain around the vulva. Yeast infection
Frothy, green, yellow with an offensive stench Foul smell, painful urination, and genital itching. Trichomoniasis
Cloudy, yellow, or slightly green Pelvic pain, painful or burning urination, heavier periods, bleeding between periods, painful sexual intercourse, and urinary incontinence. Gonorrhea
Bloody or brown Red or brown discharge, bloody discharge (not period blood) Irregular menstrual cycles (the most common cause), pregnancy, cervical or endometrial cancer (the least common cause).
Pink Pink discharge Childbirth
Clear and watery Normal Normal
Clear and stretchy Normal Ovulation


What Causes Abnormal Discharge?

Dr. Barb explains that abnormal discharge is caused by pH balance changes, this leads to bad bacteria having the perfect environment to survive. When this occurs, the normal appearance and smell of the discharge are altered.
Many things can offset one’s pH balance. We have mentioned cervical cancer, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, irregular menstrual cycles, and vaginal childbirth. But other things such as chlamydia, douching, birth control pills, perfumed soap, vaginitis, diabetes, hydration, pelvic inflammatory diseases, pelvic infection, and vaginal atrophy.

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1 comment

  • J Smith on

    Very informative, thank you so much. Do women in their 60’s need to watch out for vaginal discharge?

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