We are working on a three-part series all about vaginal discharge. Yes, we know it's been written about on the site, but there is a LOT of search on the topic. Many privileged to have this delicate organ are still unaware of vaginal discharge and how we know it is healthy. We will first talk about what discharge is healthy in nonpregnant women.

What is vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a mixture of whitish or clear fluid, bacteria, and cells from the vagina. Discharge is produced by the vagina, uterus, and cervix for cleaning and lubrication of the vagina. Vaginal discharge can help fight off infection by leaving the body. The amount of discharge you produce may vary from person to person or days in the month. Discharge is a normal bodily function, but sometimes, based on its color, smell, consistency, and amount, it could indicate a vaginal infection.

What kinds of discharge are normal in a healthy vagina?

  • Color - In a healthy vagina, the discharge should be clear, milky white, or off-white. The colors that you should watch out for are brown, green, gray, or dark yellow. Because these vaginal discharge colors may be due to vaginal infections.
  • Smell - Healthy vaginas have an odor, and no one should expect to smell like flowers down there. However, the discharge smell should not be so strong that it is foul or unpleasant. If your vaginal discharge smells fishy or very unpleasant, it could indicate a vaginal infection, especially if there are other changes, such as color and texture.
  • Texture - In a healthy vagina, the vaginal discharge may be watery, gooey, sticky, pasty, or thick. Based on your hormones throughout the month, your discharge will vary in texture and thickness. When dealing with a vaginal infection, the consistency of vaginal discharge may appear foamy or chunky. The infection will likely cause changes in color, itching, or burning.
  • Amount - The amount of discharge produced by the vagina is not the same for everyone. Some people naturally have a lot of discharge, while some make less. The discharge amount in a healthy vagina will depend on oral contraceptives, pregnancy status, and ovulation.

Confused about which Kushae product to try first? Take the Kushae quiz to find a personalized product selection.

What colors can vaginal discharge be?

Discharge colors indicate whether your vaginal discharge or unhealthy. Common reasons for changes are bacterial vaginal infections, menstruation, or pregnancy.

  • Clear, off-white, or white discharge - indicates that the vagina is healthy. You may have a yeast infection if you experience vaginal itching accompanied by white, thick discharge. If the discharge is thin and white, it may indicate bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Gray, green, or yellow discharge - could indicate sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or bacterial infections.
  • Brown or red discharge - is related to menstruation or hormonal contraceptives. It often occurs when old blood during menstruation takes longer to come out. Having a pap smear or pelvic exam may lead to brown discharge. If you have brown discharge without these factors, you may have a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, genital warts, or gonorrhea.

Vaginal discharge is normal, and for non-pregnant people, healthy discharge may differ based on hormonal contraceptives or menstruation. When you notice changes to the color, smell, texture, or amount of your vaginal discharge, take note of them. See your healthcare provider for an in-depth medical exam if the changes also come with other symptoms like painful urination, itching, foul odor, or burning. Lastly, keep reading our regular blog feature where we answer your real questions about feminine health.

  1. Everything you need to know about vaginal discharge.
  2. Ask the Experts: why my discharge smells bad but not fishy, should I be concerned? 
  3. 8 types of vaginal discharge
  4. 5 ways to get rid of vaginal odor

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.