Having vaginal discharge is a normal and healthy part of being a woman. Vaginal discharge plays an important role in maintaining vaginal health by keeping the area clean and free from infections. However, changes in the color, consistency, or odor of vaginal discharge can sometimes indicate an underlying issue that requires attention.
Understanding what your vaginal discharge means can help you distinguish between normal variations and potential problems.
In this post we discuss the different types of vaginal discharge and what they might signify to help you stay in tune with your body. If you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms, we always recommend you schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.
Clear and Watery
Clear and watery discharge is often considered normal and may occur at different times during your menstrual cycle. It usually indicates the presence of increased estrogen levels, which is common during ovulation. This type of discharge helps facilitate sperm movement and is also associated with fertility.
Yellow or Green
Yellow or greenish discharge can be a sign of an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. Bacterial vaginosis occurs due to an imbalance in the natural bacteria of the vagina, while trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite.
Both conditions require medical attention and can be treated with antibiotics.
White and Thick
White and thick discharge with a consistency similar to cottage cheese is typically a sign of a yeast infection. It is usually accompanied by itching, redness, and irritation in the vaginal area. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida and can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications.
Brown or Bloody
Brown or bloody discharge can have several causes. This type of discharge can occur at the beginning or end of your menstrual cycle and is usually considered normal.
However, if the discharge is accompanied by severe pain, unusual odor, or lasts for an extended period, it may indicate an underlying issue such as an infection, hormonal imbalance, or even cervical or uterine abnormalities. Consulting a healthcare professional, such as the experts at Copperstate is recommended in this case.
Tips for Dealing with Vaginal Discharge
Of course, there is no need to prevent normal vaginal discharge, as it is crucial to your reproductive and overall health.
However, abnormal vaginal discharge may be prevented by implementing changes such as:
- Wipe front to back after using the toilet
- Avoid wearing tight pants or underwear for extended periods
- Bath regularly and practicing good hygiene
- Wear cotton underwear at night or during the day to allow for airflow
- Avoid feminine hygiene sprays, colored or perfumed hygiene products
- Change your soap or laundry detergent if irritation occurs
- Avoid douching
Copperstate and Vaginal Health
If you are experiencing any type of vaginal discharge or symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, Copperstate is here for you.
Our practice is recognized as one of the most progressive OB/Gyn groups in Tucson, Arizona. Our expert physicians offer a number of services focused on helping you feel your best, including annual Well Woman exams, STD testing, and pelvic pain consultations.