Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy. It is your body’s way of cleaning itself, which is why you don’t really need all those floral scented chemical washes to clean your vagina. The vaginal fluids are there for a purpose- to maintain the pH level and cleanse your vagina from bacteria and dead cells, preventing you from infections and allergies.
A healthy vagina is supposed to be odorless and should not smell like roses or lavender- there is usually a mild odor. It can vary in texture- from being sticky, stretchy, paste-like and can vary in volume too.
Everyone’s discharge is different, and your discharge can vary if you are on hormonal birth control, or if you’re dehydrated, stressed, pregnant etc. However, there are certain things to look out for, to understand if something is not normal:
1. If the color looks yellow, green or grey
2. There’s a strong, fishy odor
3. You notice lumps, clumps or foam
4. If the discharge is way more than usual
If you experience any other symptoms such as burning sensation while peeing, itching, irritation, pain during sex, redness, soreness or rash- see your healthcare professional immediately.
Types of Vaginal Discharge
1. Thick, White Discharge: If thick, white discharge goes along with symptoms, such as itching, burning and irritation, it is due to a yeast infection. If not, it is normal discharge. You may also notice an increase in thick, white discharge before and after your period.
2. Yellow Discharge: Yellow discharge is an abnormal discharge, as this is a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection. There also may be an odor associated with it.
3. Brown Discharge: Brown discharge may be caused by irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a provider to be evaluated. This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer.
4. Green Discharge: Having green discharge is not normal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis and can be treated with antibiotics.
5. Yeast Infection Discharge: Yeast infection discharge is caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection discharge include a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, along with itching, redness, irritation and burning.
Roughly 90 per cent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life. Yeast infections are not contagious, and over-the-counter anti-fungal creams are available for a patient to use. But, if symptoms don’t improve with treatment or she has more than four yeast infections in a year, she should see a doctor.