Decode Your Vaginal Discharge

Find answers to the questions you are too embarrassed to ask

Women have a lot going on their life. And like most women with the many things going on in their life, you probably don’t pay much attention to your vaginal discharge. Some serious infections and problems show their presence through vaginal discharge. The matter that oozes out of the vaginal opening can be your warning bell to a certain health problem that you are unknowingly living with.

What is normal vaginal discharge?

It is important to know, and understand the vaginal discharge to be able to know if you are safe from any infection. As long as the discharge looks and feels normal—that means the discharge is clear or white and is watery to slightly sticky, depending on where you are in your cycle— there is no reason for you to be concerned. 

You know you have a reason to worry, when something in your underwear looks or feels anything apart for the usual. Maybe there’s a lot more than usual, that’s happening down there.

Check if

  • The color of the discharge is weird.
  • Or you get a whiff of an odor from the discharge, which signals you.

Before panicking and buying out all the available vaginal creams and sprays from your local drugstore’s lady bits aisle, wait and go through our vaginal discharge decoder.


If The Discharge is Clear to White, Wet, and Stretchy

It’s Probably: Ovulation.

This kind of slippery discharge appears during the middle of your menstrual cycle. It is your body’s way of easing the action of sperm to be able slide into your vagina and fertilize an egg.

“Discharge at ovulation can be copious," says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., ob-gyn in Westchester, New York and coauthor of V Is for Vagina. "I often hear from patients who are worried something is wrong, but it’s normal.” No wonder this type of sex is the kind women prefer when they’re ovulating!


If The Discharge is White, Clumpy, and Crazy Itchy

It’s Probably: A yeast infection

This kind of infection is caused by the overgrowth of the yeast present in the vagina. The yeast normally helps maintain the balance of bacteria inside your vagina. “There’s usually a lot of cottage-cheese looking discharge," says Dweck. "And while it doesn’t have an odor, it’s accompanied by killer itching of the outer or inner labia." A yeast infection very common and can be triggered by a ton of things, which include the consumption of  antibiotics or sitting around in your damp gym clothes. “Yeast love warm, moist environments,” says Dweck.

Tip: Buy yourself an OTC anti-yeast cream, or simply ask your doctor about an antifungal prescription that is required to end the infection without any hassle.


If The Discharge is Yellowish-Green and Possibly Stings a Little

It’s Probably: Chlamydia or gonorrhea.

The two, are the very commonly occurring bacterial STDs, says Dweck. The symptoms of either of the infections include pelvic pain and the experience of burning while urination.

Scarily, most women suffering from the infection do not experience any symptoms. Once you are diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea by your doctor, you can easily get cured by the use of antibiotics. Thing key is, that you have to get your partner to see a doctor, as well. “Both partners need to be cured, or you’ll keep passing either infection back and forth to each other,” says Dweck. 


If The Discharge is Grayish, Thin, and Has a Strong Odor

It’s Probably: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).

“The odor is the defining trait—it’s kind of a foul, fish-like smell," says Dweck. We know—not something you want a whiff of when you take off your undies. Bacaterial Vaginosis is the most commonly occurring vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 to 44. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BV can be easily cured with the use of prescription meds that are available online, or can be bought over the counter, once the doctor diagnoses you for bacterial vaginosis.

Why some women develop BV, is still an unsolved mystery. The fact that you have bacterial vaginosis generally indicates that some factor has upset the balance of bacteria in your vagina, though experts aren’t always sure about the reason behind the cause of the condition.


If The Discharge is Frothy, Has an Unpleasant Odor, and Is Tinged Gray or Green

It’s Probably: Trichomoniasis.

Trichomoniasis is another common STD in the country. According to the CDC, one does not necessarily have to have sex catch the ingfection. “Trichomoniasis is caused by an organism that can live on towels, vibrators, and other inanimate objects,” says Dweck. Trichomoniasis is equally as alarming, as other STD’s as most men and women living with the infection don’t show any symptoms of the infection. Trichomoniasis, if left untreated,  can make a woman very vulnerable to contracting HIV, which can also affect her baby’s health if she happens to be pregnant, reports the CDC.

Trichomoniasis can be treated and cured by using prescription medicines pretty quickly.


If Bloody

It’s Probably: Breakthrough bleeding

Breakthrough bleeding often happens during the initial few months once a woman starts consuming the pill. This happens because her body starts adjusting to the new hormones in the body.

Note: If the blood appears to be a discharge that is dark red or brownish-colored, there is a good chance that it could simply be leftover blood from your period, and decided to leave your vagina at its own pace. In certain rare cases, bloody discharge can signal something more severe—for example, the bleeding can indicate the presence of a precancerous cervical lesion. “Let your doctor know, so she can check you out and rule out a serious issue,” says Dweck. 

Now that you know what your vaginal discharge means, it is easier for you to maintain personal hygiene, and keep a check on yourself. 

Tip: Consume apple cider vinegar on regular basis to avoid the occurrence of vaginal infections.