Vaginal discharge in women

Causes for vaginal discharge, odor and treatment

In women vaginal discharge is normal. The fluid in mucus form helps to keep the area moist, clean and protects it from infection.

The discharge generally will be clear or white, sticky, wet and will not have strong or unpleasant odor. Sometimes the discharge can appear in color and its texture can change for reasons like:

  1. When by accidentally tampon is left behind and pushed sideways into back of cervix while inserting new tampon.
  2. If the person eats something the odor of which is strong and funky – eating garlic or strong spices can give the smell. This smell will go away by drinking enough water.
  3. Sextual intercourse – when two different fluids with different pH mixes up, it could end in giving strong odor. The smell will go away after shower or washing
  4. During menstrual period- The elevated pH of the blood can act on vaginal flora causing the strong odor. Odor will disappear once the period wraps up.
  5. Infection- Commonly known as B.V.- Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that occurs between the age group 14 to 44. When the flora increases, it results in change in pH of the area resulting in smell. 6. You have a yeast issue.
  6. Yeast infection – Yeast infections can cause odor with discharge. Medications can help to reduce the infection and odor.
  7. Trichomoniasis- is STD or Sexually transmitted disease that can cause strong odor, itchiness or irritation in vagina. Trichomoniasis can be cured with proper medication and it takes care of odor.
  8. Smoking – Smoking can result not only in bad breath, body as well as smell in vagina.

When the discharge in women changes its color, odor or texture it could be due to following types of infections.

  • Thick, white, cottage cheese like – Thrush or yeast infection
  • Fishy odor- Bacterial vaginosis
  • Green, yellow and type of frothy or foamy – Trichomoniasis -bacterial infection
  • Pelvic pain and bleeding – due to gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Sores or blisters, pain and fever – Genital herpes

 When to see the doctor?

  • If the discharge is more than normal
  • If there is any itchiness and soreness
  • Bleeding with discharge
  • If the color, texture and smell changes in discharge
  • If there is any significant pain while urinating
  • If there is pain in pelvic area, thighs and lower abdomen

During pregnancy the discharge will be more, thin, white, milky with mild odor. However, during perimenopause and menopause, due to low level of estrogen discharge decreases. Estrogen level in women drops and results in very little or no vaginal discharge during:

  • Treatments that used for Infertility, endometriosis, fibroids and breast cancer
  • Radiation treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgical procedure to remove uterus and ovaries
  • Mental stress and depression
  • Excess and intense exercise

Some vaginal discharge is common in women. It can leave yellowish tint behind on underwear. Using proper panties with liners and to prevent irritation one can wash the area gently using water and emollient. One should not use deodorants, scented wipes, gels and soaps to remove the odor. However, if there are any above-mentioned symptoms are there, as a precaution better to contact doctor for further health checkup.


Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: September 20, 2022

Recommended for you

Write a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *