Should you be worried about your vaginal discharge?
If there’s something all women experience, it’s vaginal discharge. We deal with vaginal discharge on a daily basis but what is vaginal discharge? Why is it there in the first place? What does it do?
Don’t worry - you’ll walk away with the answers to all these questions (and more) after reading this article!
What is vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge refers to the clear or milky fluid that is discharged from the vagina. It contains bacteria, vaginal skin cells, mucus and fluid produced by the vagina and cervix¹. Vaginal discharge thus occurs to regularly get rid of the dead skin cells and bacteria from our vagina, keeping our vagina clean and our vaginal flora balanced.
Vaginal discharge can vary from one person to another in terms of their color, consistency, amount, frequency and more. The amount of vaginal discharge you experience can also change depending on which stage of the menstrual cycle you are at. Rest assured, experiencing vaginal discharge is normal. However, there are different types and colors of vaginal discharge that women can experience depending on their circumstances.
Normal, healthy discharge
If you are not experiencing any vaginal infection, your vaginal discharge is likely to be clear or white in color. The discharge should not stick to the vaginal walls and is not foul smelling. You may experience more of this discharge from time to time, but the increase in amount simply means you are shedding more of your vaginal lining².
It is also normal for its texture to change throughout your menstrual cycle. Your vaginal discharge can be thick and stickier when your estrogen (female reproductive hormone) levels are low. It can progressively become more watery and clear when your estrogen level rises prior to ovulation². Thus, changes in your vaginal discharge, its texture and amount is likely normal. What is not normal is when your discharge starts emitting a foul smell or you start experiencing certain symptoms alongside it.
These can be signs of a vaginal infection.
Discharge during urogenital infections³
If your vaginal discharge starts to emit an unpleasant fishy odor and is thin, watery and whitish-gray in color, you may be experiencing Bacterial Vaginosis, a bacterial infection due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina. Though there may not be any itch or irritation during BV, the fishy odor from the vaginal discharge can be a telling sign that you have an ongoing vaginal infection⁴.
Another kind of vaginal discharge you may have is one that doesn’t emit a fishy odor but has a white color and a texture that is thick, similar to cottage cheese. You may experience itch and irritation along with this discharge as well. These are signs of vaginal thrush or VVC, a yeast infection⁵.
Vaginal discharge that is frothy or yellowish-green in color may be a sign of Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. The discharge may have an unpleasant fishy smell as well as increased volume⁶.
These are some of the abnormal types of discharge that you may want to take note of, but the list goes on. As long as your vaginal discharge isn’t normal and you feel that something is wrong, you may want to visit a doctor or gynae for consultation.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to find out how to handle excessive or malodorous discharge, you may want to change up your hygiene habits to take better care of your vagina. Doing so can restore the vagina’s microflora back to normal and reduce the amount of bad bacteria breeding there, thus reducing your discharge amount and odor.
Aside from practicing good hygiene habits, probiotics targeting women’s urogenital health is also a way to help balance the vagina’s microflora. Pro-Uro™ is a clinically proven probiotic for women’s vaginal and urinary health that contains 2 patented probiotic strains which inhibits the growth of bad bacteria in the vagina, thus keeping the vaginal microflora balanced. This then prevents the overgrowth of bad bacteria and reduces the risk of having fishy discharge.
Vaginal discharge can be a telling indicator of your urogenital health. Listen to your body’s signals and take proactive steps to improve your urogenital health.
Raffles Medical Group. (2021). Is my vaginal discharge normal? » Raffles Medical Group. [online] Available at: https://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/health-resources/health-articles/is-my-vaginal-discharge-normal/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2022].
Bishop, G.B. (2012). Vaginal Discharge. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK281/#:~:text=A%20physiologic%20discharge%20is%20usually.
nhs.uk. (2017). Vaginal discharge. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaginal-discharge/.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). STD Facts - Bacterial Vaginosis. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm.
Mayo Clinic Staff (2019). Yeast infection (vaginal) - Symptoms and causes. [online] Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20378999.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). STD Facts - Trichomoniasis. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm.
Disclaimer: The article content is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.