Vaginal discharge can come in many colors, but it’s important to understand what each color means and how to manage it. Common causes of vaginal discharge include the changes that take place during your menstrual cycle and infections such as candida, trichomoniasis, or bacterial vaginosis (BV). Depending on the color of your discharge, there could be other causes at play, so it’s important to be checked out by your doctor if you notice changes in the amount or color of your vaginal discharge.
Having an unusual amount of discharge can be concerning, especially when you’re not sure what the discharge means. In this guide to discharge colors and meanings, we’ll help you learn about the different colored discharges that can occur and what each color might mean in terms of your health.
What Is Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is normal, with an average of 35 milliliters per day. And it’s not always clear or thin; sometimes it can be white, greenish, or yellowish. Many of us don’t want to talk about discharge—but ignoring it could cause health problems if you don’t see a doctor. Here are some vaginal discharge color meanings
Vaginal discharge is a normal process, but it can sometimes be an indication of something more serious. Learn about vaginal discharge and its meaning here.
Pain And Tenderness
Pain with urination or increased vaginal tenderness are signs of a urinary tract infection. Call your doctor if you have these symptoms, especially if they aren’t easily treated. If you have just one episode of pain or tenderness, it may not be a UTI, but see your doctor just in case. You could have a vaginal infection caused by an STI like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
If you have pain or tenderness, burning or itching in your genital area, or if your vaginal discharge is blood-stained or grayish-white, see a doctor right away. You may have a sexually transmitted disease. Chlamydia is one of them; it’s easy to spread, so always wear a condom if you aren’t in a long-term monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
What Causes The Colour Of Your Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge is common in all women and it’s typically clear to a whitish fluid that comes from your vagina. This fluid cleanses and lubricates your vagina, keeping it healthy. Most of the time, vaginal discharge isn’t anything to worry about. However, you may find that your vaginal discharge takes on a different color or texture, like green or yellow-green, which could indicate an infection. Here are four common causes of changes in vaginal discharge color
An important thing to remember is that not all vaginal discharges are caused by sexually transmitted infections. Some women may experience clear or white discharges, as well as yellow or green discharges—these colors could be completely normal for them. So, when does a vaginal discharge become a cause for concern? It’s worth getting in touch with your doctor if you notice any significant changes in your vaginal discharge color.
1. Creamy white Vaginal Discharge
The most common discharge color, creamy white, is produced as a result of hormonal fluctuations during your menstrual cycle. Typically, it’s normal to experience some sort of vaginal discharge throughout your monthly cycle. However, if you notice anything that looks or smells abnormal—including changes in consistency or appearance—you should always see your doctor. But don’t worry! As long as it’s white or clear in color and free from an unpleasant smell, you probably have nothing to worry about.
The most common type of vaginal discharge, creamy white means your healthy vaginal flora is in balance. Light-colored, almost clear: This may indicate a yeast infection. Other symptoms you might experience include itching, pain during sex or urination, an unpleasant odor, and discomfort or pain during intercourse. Yellow-tinged: This could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). Other BV symptoms include fishy odor and unusual vaginal discharge that’s thin and watery with a strong smell.
2. Greyish White
White is a common color for vaginal discharge, but if it looks greyish white or greenish, it could be an indication of trichomoniasis. Also known as trich, trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite that can damage your reproductive system if left untreated. This infection shows no symptoms in some women, while others experience itching or burning sensations during urination. Antibiotics are usually used to treat it successfully – visit your doctor if you suspect you might have it.
Normal discharge is clear or white, but it can also be a pale grey. A greyish white tone, however, is a sign of inflammation in your vagina, which can appear as an infection. In rare cases, it could also be a sign of cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you see any type of vaginal discharge that isn’t clear or white—even if it seems normal to you—see your doctor right away.
3. Grey-brown or black Vaginal Discharge
This could be a sign of trichomoniasis, an STI caused by a parasite. Other symptoms include itching, burning, pain when urinating or during sex, and vaginal soreness. Trichomoniasis is easily treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early on; however, you should see your doctor even if you don’t have any symptoms as it can cause problems in pregnancy. Always get tested if you have had unprotected sex in a new relationship or after having multiple partners. This infection is spread through sexual contact.
Your discharge is darker than usual. If you’re sexually active, get tested for STIs. If you’re not sexually active, go to your doctor to find out what’s going on. (Yes, it could be as simple as having a yeast infection.) But before you go, make sure to take our quiz: What Colour Is Your Vaginal Discharge? And don’t forget to share it with your friends—it might save them a trip to their doctor!
4. Greenish yellow or greenish-grey
Greenish discharge color could be a sign of a certain infection. Some vaginal infections can cause greenish-yellow or greyish-colored vaginal discharges with an unpleasant odor. You will also notice increased burning sensation while urinating, higher frequency of urination, pain in your lower abdomen, etc., when you have greenish-yellow or grey-brown colored vaginal discharges.
This is a sign of infection. It could also mean you are ovulating, which means that an egg has just been released from your ovary, but doctors generally don’t recommend you read into your vaginal discharge color (you could be giving yourself entirely too much credit). If there is a significant amount of greenish-yellow or greenish-grey vaginal fluid, it may be time to contact your doctor. However, they will probably recommend getting tested for chlamydia if you are under 25 and showing signs of infection.
5. Red Discharge
Red discharge is one of the most common reasons that women seek medical attention. The color can vary from very light pink to deep red and even brown or black. As long as it’s not accompanied by itching, soreness, or burning, red discharge usually doesn’t require treatment. However, if your vagina has turned bright red or dark brown with tinges of blood in it, you should see your doctor right away.
The red vaginal discharge could be due to an infection called bacterial vaginosis, which is when a woman has an overgrowth of bacteria that causes a fishy smell, itching, and redness or irritation. Another cause of the red vaginal discharge is leukorrhea, which is common in women during their childbearing years.