Vaginal discharge is a completely normal occurrence for all women, which usually appears in small amounts as a clear mucus-like substance that helps to moisturize and lubricate the vagina. Discharge may have its own scent, but should not smell particularly bad, nor should it cause itching or any other symptoms, including stomach pain, a fever or a stinging sensation. Therefore, if you find that the smell, appearance or color of your discharge changes, including having a rotten smell, being thick and lumpy, being bloody, being a yellow-green color, discharging in greater-than-usual amounts, causing vaginal itching and stinging, or causing a fever or pain during sex, it could be a sign of a health issue. If such a condition is overlooked and left untreated due to the sufferer not taking it seriously or being too shy to confront the problem, it could result in severe consequences.
What Do the Different Colors of Vaginal Discharge Mean?
The color of your vaginal discharge could indicate the presence of the following health conditions:
- Dull yellow Vaginal Discharge: Vaginal discharge the color of sour milk with a pungent smell that differs from the usual fishy scent may result in slight itchiness and stinging. This type of discharge is common to patients who have been on antibiotic drugs for an extended period of time or people with weakened immune systems.
- Yellow Vaginal Discharge: Yellow discharge can occur due to a number of reasons. For instance, where the discharge is yellow with a pungent smell, it could be a result of a viral infection, while yellow discharge in conjunction with a fishy smell and itching is normally caused by a bacterial infection. Moreover, if a gonorrheal infection is present, this will lead to large amount of yellowish, green colored discharge being produced that will have its own distinctive scent, causing itching that could also come with stinging pains.
- Green Vaginal Discharge: Green discharge tends to result from sexually transmitted parasites. This type of discharge will usually be foamy and have a sour smell that causes a red, itchy rash to appear around the female genitalia. However, in cases where green discharge does not cause itching or have a pungent aroma, it could be due to some forms of bacteria that are not dangerous.
- Gray Vaginal Discharge: In cases where there is a reduction in some good forms of bacteria located in the vagina, it could lead to an increase in bacteria capable of causing disease, potentially resulting in vaginal inflammation. The discharge will therefore be light gray in color, and carry with it a distinct fishy smell, especially after sex or during the early stages of a menstrual cycle. Furthermore, taking antibiotic drugs for an extended period of time, as well as vigorously washing the inside of the vagina, may be factors that lead to a decrease in the bacteria that is responsible for fighting against the growth of harmful bacteria. However, gray discharge can also be a result of a sexually transmitted disease.
- Brown Vaginal Discharge: Brown discharge occurs when small amounts of blood contaminate the discharge as a result of the period, meaning it is completely safe. However, if blood is discharged that carries with it a distinctly pungent smell, it could be a sign of a vaginal infection or irregularities within the cervical cells. Additionally, where slight stomach pain occurs in conjunction with the aforementioned symptoms, it could be an indicator of implantation bleeding, or an ectopic pregnancy.
- Pink Vaginal Discharge: Light pink discharge often results from the release of the endometrium tissue, which usually takes place after giving birth, with some referring to this substance as, lochia (Postpartum Bleeding).
When to See a Doctor About Vaginal Discharge
Although vaginal discharge goes hand-in-hand with being a woman of reproductive age, understanding what changes to be on the lookout for, in terms of color, smell and appearance could help you quickly identify any health problems, allowing immediate treatment to take place in cases where a serious disorder is discovered.
Underestimating and overlooking issues of an intimate nature, or being ashamed to seek help for them, could result in health disorders being ignored. Sometimes such issues start out innocent enough but can quickly develop into severe problems that require lengthy and complicated courses of treatment. Therefore, if you are unsure about the nature of your discharge, consult a doctor in order to receive advice and undergo a proper treatment where necessary.