The different types of vaginal discharge
At some point, for some reason, most women will experience vaginal discharge. It can feel disgusting, it’s frustrating, and, the worst part—it can cause worry if you don’t know what it is. For the most part, vaginal discharge is normal. But for the times when it isn’t—you need to know what you’re looking for.
Luckily, we’re here to help you know what is normal and what you might want to call your doc about.
What Is Vaginal Discharge?
As you may have figured out by now, your vagina and cervix need lubrication to stay moist and healthy. Fluids that move out of your vagina help clear out dead cells, bacteria, and anything else that shouldn’t be there. This discharge is simply the evidence that your body is doing what it’s supposed to. Really, we should be grateful it’s happening.
The average woman has around a teaspoon of white or clear discharge every day. It can change based on where you are in your menstrual cycle, what medications you’re taking, your sexual activity, and how old you are.
But ugh, sometimes it can look gross and smell bad, too. And often that is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right.
The 5 Types of Vaginal Discharge
Most doctors classify vaginal discharge by color. More often than not, the color is the first indicator of what might be going on up inside your lady parts. Here’s what to look out for:
White vaginal discharge
This is your normal discharge. It is probably thick and white, but not usually very stinky. But thick white, almost cottage cheese-like discharge is an indication of a yeast infection. Especially if you’re struggling with itching, redness, irritation, and/or burning. We know you’re tough—but girl, call your doctor and get this taken care of right away. No need to suffer!
Clear vaginal discharge
For some women it’s white, for some it’s clear. This is typical, so don’t worry.
Yellow vaginal discharge
This is leaning into the realm of abnormal. It’s often a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection (not disease, infection). Trichomoniasis is an infection commonly spread through sex. Yellow discharge can also smell awful. Again—call your doctor, and she can do a quick urine test to see if you do indeed have an infection.
- Brown vaginal dischargeBrown is usually an indication of an irregular period cycle. But if it keeps coming back on a regular basis, call your doctor and let her know. It can also be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer.
- Green vaginal dischargeDefinitely not normal. Call your physician right away, as green is a sign of infection.