Vaginal discharge is one of those bodily issues we don’t like to discuss (or perhaps even think about), but it is also an important health indicator. And because we don’t really talk about it, vaginal discharge can be confusing and even scary. So let’s get up close and personal and learn what our vaginal discharge might be trying to tell us. Ready to be more acquainted with your vagina?
1. Gray/Fishy Smelling
If your vaginal discharge is grayish and noticeably fishier smelling after sex then it is most likely to be a vaginal infection such as bacterial vaginosis. This is a very common infection that occurs when your vagina’s pH balance is not quite right or there is a higher than normal level of ‘bad bacteria’ down there. It can also be caused by a new partner not being so clean due to unprotected sex. BV usually goes away on its own but you can be prescribed medication by your doctor if it’s really worrying you.
This type of discharge will be a creamy white color and clumpy or chunky in texture, but will have no highly noticeable odor. You may also be feeling a degree of discomfort, itchiness and swelling. It is most likely in this case that you have a yeast infection, one of the most common vaginal issues there is. They can be prevented by eating healthy bacteria such as yogurt but should be treated with pills or creams right away; over the counter medication should suffice.
3. Clear/No Odor
If you have noticed some discharge that is clear in color and very elastic, almost like raw egg whites, then you have absolutely nothing to be worried about! This kind of discharge occurs when we are in the process of ovulating, and the elastic nature of the discharge is designed to trap sperm and help it find its way to the uterus. Impressive stuff! However, if there is an excess of discharge and it is bothering you, you can always wear a panty liner.
4. White/No Odor
This kind of discharge will be a milky white color and slightly more creamy than normal in texture but you will not be experiencing any odor or irritation. Though the color change may worry you slightly, there is nothing abnormal about this kind of discharge; it is just reflecting your bodily changes at certain points in your cycle. In this case, the white color is due to a release of the hormone progesterone.
5. Yellow to Yellowy Green/Odor
If your discharge is an unpleasant greeny-yellow color with an equally unpleasant smell of rotten eggs or fish, and you are experiencing itching, swelling and even bleeding in some cases, then you may very well have Trichomoniosis. ‘Trick’ is a sexually transmitted infection that is obviously caught through practicing unsafe sex. If you have these symptoms, make a doctor’s appointment straight away so you can be treated. DO NOT have sex again until you are cured because Trick is incredibly contagious. If the discharge is more yellow than green, it could be a sign of other STIs such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, or syphilis. Any of these might be accompanied by very smelly odor, genital irritation, swelling, a burning sensation when peeing, itchiness, vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, and even a fever. Any discharge on the yellow/green spectrum should be checked out as soon as possible.
If your discharge is a reddish, rusty brown kind of color that is almost blood like then it could most likely be a sign that your period is just about to begin or has recently ended. It is known as ‘spotting’ and it very common at the beginning and end of your cycle. However, if you are not taking the Pill and are experiencing spotting in the middle of your cycle, it might be worth getting it checked out at the doctor’s surgery.
7. Clear/Very Watery/No Odor
Clear, overly watery discharge that does not smell is often overlooked because many believe it to be similar to the thicker discharge that happens during ovulation. This is not the case. Discharge that is more liquid than normal could be an early sign of herpes, a devastating but unfortunately common STI. If your discharge symptoms match, then please visit a doctor as soon as you can.
I hope you feel more informed now. Remember, if any doubt, consult your doctor. Yes it can be embarrassing, but it’s best to be safe than sorry. Agreed?