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Normal and Abnormal Vaginal Discharge and Tips to Maintain Good Vaginal Hygiene


Different types of vaginal discharge

Today we are starting with a much requested series on vaginal health. This is a topic which everyone wants to know about but rarely does not know whom to talk to. So today featuring in vaginal talkies is vaginal discharge or commonly known as Leucorrhea. 

So what is a vaginal discharge? 

Vaginal discharge is a fluid which is made by the glands in the vagina and the cervix. It carries in it the dead cells and the bacteria and it actually serves a very important function of keeping the vagina clean, moist, lubricated and even prevent the vaginal infections. The normal vaginal discharge is also your body's way of maintaining the pH balance of your vagina.

Having a vaginal discharge is absolutely normal and it shows the normal functioning of the cervix and the vaginal glands. The amount, the color, the texture and the odor of the vaginal discharge varies from person to person. 

It depends upon your age, what day of the menstrual cycle you are on, whether you are pregnant, you are breastfeeding, if you are sexually aroused or if you are taking a birth control pill. 

Normal Vaginal Discharge 

A normal vaginal discharge is absolutely clear, watery, does not have any odor or smell and it does not itch and obviously it varies according to the days of the menstrual cycle. 

Immediately after the period, the discharge is actually very thin. Now as you move towards your mid cycle or towards your ovulation time, the discharge tends to become very thin and watery, so much so at the time of ovulation the discharge is really watery, really so much that you might actually need to use a panty liner.

Fertile mocus
Fertile mucus during ovulation 

It becomes very thin, stretchy, almost like an egg white consistency. This is basically so that the sperms can move up or swim up towards the cervix. Many women actually use this method to track their ovulation. 

Immediately after the ovulation now the discharge tends to become little lesser, it becomes thicker and it becomes little creamier and little whitish in color. This mucus is the infertile mucus, while the mucus which was there at the time of ovulation, the thin stretchy mucus is the fertile mucus. Just before your pivots, the discharge tends to become slightly more in amount. 

This pattern of vaginal discharge is absolutely normal and is not a cause of worry. Most women actually produce a teaspoon full of vaginal discharge every day and at the time of ovulation this can increase up to 30 times requiring you to use maybe a panty liner or maybe thin pad. 

The yellowish discoloration or a sort of a bleaching stain which you see on your undergarments is because the vaginal discharge is acidic and it leads to fading of the color of the undergarments and this is also not a cause of worry. 

Many women think that excessive vaginal discharge can cause backache which is also not true unless and until the vaginal discharge is associated with some kind of pelvic infection. Many women also think that excessive vaginal discharge can cause weakness, this is also absolutely not true. 

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge 

You should visit a doctor in case you feel that your vaginal discharge has suddenly increased in amount more than your normal self, in case your discharge is now foul smelling or itching or is associated with pain in the vaginal area or some kind of rashes, sores or blisters, in case you have pain when you pass urine, in case you have bleeding in between your period or in case you have blood stain discharge after a sexual activity or also in case you have fever or you have pain in the pelvic area. Pelvic area is the area which is between your tummy and your thighs. 

Different Types of Vaginal Discharge 

So now let's talk about what are the different types of vaginal discharges and what do they actually mean. 

1. A milky vaginal discharge with no odor. This is absolutely normal and does not need any treatment. 

2. A thick clumpy white discharge which is like cottage cheese which is very itchy is usually a sign of vaginal fungal or yeast infection or a candidial infection. Now this is not an STI and typically happens when the pH balance of the vagina is altered leading to overgrowth of a candidia causing fungal infection in the vagina.

Now this typically happens in women who are diabetic, who are on birth control pills or when you have been taking prolonged antibiotics for some reason. Women who are stressed also might see vaginal fungal infections and obviously in such cases you definitely need to see a doctor.

3. Greyish white vaginal discharge associated with foul fishy odor with some soreness and itchy. This is known as bacterial vaginosis commonly known as BV. The cause of bacterial vaginosis is unknown probably related to imbalance of the bacteria in the vagina and most times its associated with bacteria called Gadnerella Vaginalis.

It is also associated with smoking, douching, having a new sexual partner or having multiple sexual partners. Needless to say it needs treatment by a doctor. The treatment of bacterial vaginosis is very easy by a drug called metronidazole. 

4. Yellowish green frothy foul smelling discharge associated with some pain and inflammation. Now this is typical of an infection called trichomoniasis. This is a sexually transmitted infection but is also transmitted by sharing towels or maybe the bathing suits. Once again this needs treatment by a doctor. 

5. Cloudy yellowish discharge with painful urination. This is typical of an infection called gonorrhea. Its also a sexually transmitted infection and once again needs a treatment by a doctor. 

6. In case you have excessive vaginal discharge associated with painful blisters this is a sign of a herpes infection and once again you must see a doctor for this. 

7. Brownish or blood stain discharge. This could be simply because of irregular periods or hormonal problems but it could also mean something serious developing inside like a cervicitis or maybe a cervical polyp or sometimes precancerous or cancerous growth in the vagina and the cervix. 

So in this case you must see a doctor. Some rare causes of excessive vaginal discharge could be retained tampon, an infection in your IUD or maybe a ruptured bartholin abscess. Once again see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Tips to maintain a good vaginal hygiene. Do's.

1. Clean the vaginal or the vulval area only once in a day with warm water or just a mild soap separating labia. Cleaning your vulval area from front to back never from back to front. You don't need to repeatedly clean that area. 

Repeated use of soaps, repeated dabbing that area actually may strip that area of normal healthy good bacteria leading to even more infections. 

2. Don't use any perfume, deodorant, sprays or feminine washes. Be very careful of your sexual hygiene. 

3. Always be sure of your partner's history. Use a barrier contraception like a male or a female condom. Use breathable cotton undergarments in case you've been having frequent vaginal infections. 

4. Get your blood sugar checked in case you have been on prolonged antibiotics for any reason. Make sure that you are taking an added probiotic also and in case of any problems seek the medical help at the earliest. 

5. Remember having vaginal discharge is absolutely natural and normal and is in fact the protective mechanism by your body to keep your vagina clean. 

6. Maintaining good vaginal health does not need any fancy or exotic products. So we will be discussing many more such topics in subsequent weeks and today like always if you found this information useful please do not forget to share to your loved ones . Do not forget to follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter and join our WhatsApp group.


1. Ardahan M, Bay L. Knowledge levels of vaginal discharge and individual hygiene of 1st and 4th grade students of School of Nursing. Ege Medical Journal 2009; 48(1):33-43.

2. Özkan İA, Kulakaç Ö. Genital hygiene behavior in female prisoners. Anatolian Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences 2011;14(2):31-8

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Candidacies. 2009; http: //www. /-nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/candidiasis_gi.html#- (access: 30.04.2018)

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