Discharge is the fluid produced by glands inside the vagina to keep it healthy, helping to carry away dead cells and bacteria.
Thus, it's important to check your discharge regularly as changes may mean something is not quite right.
The amount of vaginal discharge can differ with each person. The colour, thickness and amount can change as well, depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle:
- Day 1-5: Discharge usually red or bloody, as the uterine lining sheds.
- Days 6-14: After a period, vaginal discharge will be less than usual. As the egg develops and matures, discharge will be cloudy, white or yellow and may feel sticky.
- Days 14-25: Before ovulation, discharge is thin and slippery, much like egg whites. After ovulation, it will be cloudy, white or yellow and sticky again.
- Days 25-28: The discharge lightens and there will be less of it before another period.
Colours of vaginal discharge
💧 Clear/watery discharge
It is normal and healthy for discharge to be odourless or to have a mild, unpleasant smell.
Normal vaginal discharge is clear or whitish. It may be slippery or have the consistency of egg whites.
A person is likely to experience more clear, slippery discharge just before ovulation, during sexual arousal, and during pregnancy.
☁️ White discharge
It is common to have white discharge when you are ovulating. The amount of discharge may increase as well before you ovulate.
The shade of white can extend to include cream or light yellow. If a person has no other symptoms, white discharge is most likely a sign of healthy lubrication.
🧀 White with a thick, cheesy texture
White discharge with a cheese-like consistency and/or has a strong odour may indicate a yeast infection. It may cause itching or irritation. Should you face this issue, please see a doctor!
🐟 White, grey, or yellow with a fish-like smell
This is not healthy, and is usually a symptom of a common bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis (BV), which may also cause other vaginal symptoms as well, such as:
- strong odour
Anyone with greyish discharge should see a doctor immediately. Usually, the doctor would prescribe antibiotics to treat BV.
💛 Yellow discharge
Discharge that is a mild yellow may not indicate a problem. This usually happens with diet change or dietary supplements.
However, discharge that has a darker shade of yellow, yellowish-green, or even green signals a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection (STI). See a doctor immediately if it is especially thick or clumpy with a foul smell.
💗 Pink discharge
Discharge that is light or a deeper pink usually contains a little bit of blood. This usually happens with spotting after ovulation, before a period.
Although, it is also a symptom of implantation bleeding in early pregnancy.
Pink discharge can also happen after sexual intercourse if there has been small tears or irritation in the vagina or cervix.
🍷 Bloody or brown discharge
Bleeding during a period usually results in red or brownish discharge.
It may also happen if a person has irregular menstrual cycles, in which they should see a doctor. Intermenstrual bleeding usually is not dangerous, however, it sometimes signals a serious condition.
If anyone going through menopause or did not have their period for a minimum of 12 months experiences vaginal bleeding, they should see a doctor as it may be a sign of endometrial cancer.
When To See A Doctor
If you face any of the vaginal symptoms below, please seek medical care! After all it's better to be safe than sorry.
- pain or discomfort
- discharge that is frothy or like cottage cheese
- bleeding between periods or after menopause
- spotting after sex regularly
- grey, green, or yellow discharge
- a strong odour
- a burning sensation during urination
To summarise, here's a simple chart by Medical News Today that summarises what you need to take note of!