What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Do you know the difference between normal vaginal discharge and abnormal discharge? Sometimes your doctor or nurse might ask if you have abnormal vaginal discharge. Maybe you have some discharge, but you have no idea if it’s normal or abnormal.
So what’s normal?
Well, some discharge from your vagina is normal – it’s even healthy. The acid in healthy vaginal fluid helps prevent infections and helps slough out dead cells. It’s your body’s way of keeping the inside of your vagina clean. Normal, healthy vaginal discharge is usually clear, white, or pale yellow. It doesn’t have a foul smell, and it isn’t accompanied by itching or burning.
Abnormal discharge can indicate an infection, like a yeast infection, a urinary tract infection, or a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STD). That’s why your doctor or nurse might ask you to describe any vaginal discharge you have.
So what’s abnormal?
Any discharge that is different from what you typically see during the month can be abnormal for you. Keep in mind – throughout the month, your vaginal discharge changes as hormone levels change and you go through the normal menstrual cycle. At some points each month, your discharge will become thicker and stickier or thinner and stringier. Those changes are normal.
Abnormal means your discharge changes to a color or consistency that is outside that normal monthly cycle. Maybe the consistency becomes more like cottage cheese or the color becomes green or gray. Or maybe you suddenly have a heavier amount of discharge. And of course, it would be considered abnormal any time outside of your normal monthly period when you have blood mixed in with your discharge.
It’s also considered abnormal if you have a foul odor or burning and itching or a rash.
So if you have abnormal vaginal discharge, what does it mean?
It might mean you have an infection of some kind – yeast, bacterial, or viral, sexually transmitted or otherwise. Your healthcare provider will want you to describe your symptoms and they may examine you or take urine or blood samples for testing. Once your healthcare provider determines whether you have an infection and what kind of infection, you can receive the appropriate treatment to help you get well.
If you think you have abnormal vaginal discharge or if you still don’t know whether it’s normal or not, we encourage you to speak to your healthcare provider. They’ll help you figure out what normal is for you and take care of anything abnormal.
We’re here to help you be healthy, and we hope this post answers some questions for you. If you have other sexual health questions we can answer for you, leave a comment, send a message, or call us.