The Different Types of Vaginal Discharge

Produced by the vagina and cervix, vaginal discharge is a fluid that is a common presence in women who menstruate. It’s a completely natural way of how the vagina keeps itself clean and healthy. The colour, amount, and frequency of discharge vary based on age and menstrual cycle, resulting in individual differences. This difference in vaginal discharge can sometimes be alarming to women who may feel alone in what they are experiencing. For instance, some women have discharge every day, while for others it occurs occasionally. To provide clarity, we’ll discuss the various types of discharge, address common questions, and help you distinguish normal from abnormal discharge to give you peace of mind.


Healthy Vaginal Discharge

This is the most common type of discharge released around the time one is ovulating and/or at the halfway point of your menstrual cycle. It typically appears white or clear in colour, and its consistency can vary depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle you are in – so it could feel stretchy, sticky, or even watery. You may also notice that it leaves a slightly yellowish tint on your underwear due to the discharge being exposed to air and eventually drying up. A normal discharge also carries a mild or slight odour, which is neither strong nor unpleasant.

You may experience having discharge like this daily, especially when leading up to your period. Therefore, monitoring the colour, texture, and smell of your discharge is a good way to maintain vaginal health and promptly detect any abnormalities.


Healthy Vaginal Discharge

Drastic changes in the usual colour, consistency, and smell of your discharge are causes for concern, as they could be early indicators of infections that require medical attention. Let’s delve into the different types of abnormal vaginal discharge.

  1. Brown or Bloody
    Old blood that is shed from your uterus is what causes your discharge to look brown or bloody. However, it is frequently associated with irregular menstrual cycles. Brown discharge may be a sign of an infection or, in rare cases, serve as an early indicator of cervical cancer. If the brown discharge is accompanied by abnormal vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain, consult with your local doctor as soon as possible.

  2. Dark Yellow & Cloudy
    A dark yellow colour and cloudy appearance along with a strong odour is an indicator of one contracting a sexually-transmitted disease (STD). Specifically, these symptoms are associated with gonorrhoea, where you may experience symptoms such as:

    • Bleeding between periods
    • Uncontrolled urine leakage
    • Pelvic pain

  3. Green & Frothy
    Vaginal discharge that appears green in colour while having a frothy consistency and a bad odour may be a sign of another STD, trichomoniasis. Its symptoms include:

    • Inflamed genitals
    • Itchiness or pain during urination
    • Pelvic Pain

  4. White & Cheesy
    Often referred to as having the look and feel of cottage cheese, this type of vaginal discharge is caused by a yeast infection. A yeast infection is not an STD but rather a result of an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina, and has symptoms such as:

    • Swelling and itching around the vulva
    • Pain during urination & sexual intercourse

  5. Grey & Fishy Odour
    When there is an overaccumulation of bacteria in your vagina, bacterial vaginosis occurs. In this case, the vaginal discharge may appear grey in colour and have a thinner consistency. It is also commonly accompanied by a fishy smell, where other symptoms include:

    • Vaginal inflammation
    • Burning sensation during urination

  6. Pink 
    Having discharge that is pinkish in colour is not necessarily a cause for concern. It is normal for your discharge to appear as such in the beginning and end of the bleeding that comes with your menstrual cycle when you experience light bleeding. However, this colour may also indicate conditions such as irregular menstruation or a hormonal imbalance. In rare cases, it may also be a sign of cervical cancer. Thus, with pinkish discharge it is advised to keep tabs on its timing and to meet a doctor if other symptoms such as itching and swelling of the vagina come along with it.

    Vaginal discharge is a natural and normal occurrence for women throughout their menstruating years. The different types of discharge act as an indicator of changes in your menstrual cycle, while also potentially revealing underlying health issues. Simply put, clear and white discharge that is not clumpy is healthy. On the other hand, irregular colours and consistencies suggest medical conditions or infections. Hence, it is recommended to be aware of these changes so that you may seek necessary medical attention for a healthy vagina.

    Keep your vaginal health in mind today with Lactacyd® Feminine Wash and experience the gentle care you deserve.