• Vaginal Discharge – The colour says it all!

    Almost every woman will go through vaginal discharge at some point in their life. Have you ever wondered what might be the reason for vaginal discharge? Also, if you have noticed, the colour can be different on different occasions, if you had vaginal discharge multiple times.  Usually, vaginal discharge can be in any of the following colours:

    1. White
    2. Yellowish Green
    3. Pink
    4. Clear
    5. Reddish brown
    6. Gray

    Now, what does these colours tells your gynaecologist about the underlying problem? Let’s take a quick look.

    1. White (Creamy or Milky White)

    This is common in many women. You may see different shades of white to egg yolk yellowish colours. There is nothing to worry about unless you can smell the stink or if the discharge has any texture to it.  Usually, this type of discharge happens to lubricate the vagina to allow frictionless penetration sex. (Remember your arousal moments?)

    Possible Medical Conditions: Yeast Infection, Bacterial Vaginosis

    1. Light yellow to Green

    This is more commonly seen in women. Very pale yellow to a little greenish coloured discharge. This colour usually indicates an infection. You need to look at what you are eating. Also, try to recollect if this is happening since you started any medication or supplements (if you are under medication).

    Possible Medical Conditions: Sexually Transmitted Infections (Gonorrhea, Chlamydia), Trichomoniasis, Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis.

    1. Pink

    If your monthly period cycle is going to begin and if you see the discharge in light pink to little darker pink, that can be considered normal. However, if you see this coloured discharge at other times, then you must see your gynaecologist for sure. If you had sexual intercourse the previous night or the night before, you can wait for a day to see if the discharge subsides. Sometimes, a small tear inside the vagina can show up as discharge. If this doesn’t stop or if you didn’t have intercourse recently, you must immediately fix up an appointment with your gynaecologist.

    Possible Medical Conditions: Cervical Cancer

    1. Clear

    If the discharge is whitish in colour and neat consistency like the white part of an egg, then you can relax. It indicates that your vagina is cleaning up itself.  Other reasons for clear discharge include – Ovulation (when it is the 14th day of your cycle when you are ovulating and producing cervical mucus.), Pregnancy (levels of hormones change resulting in discharge), Sexual arousal.

    Possible Medical Conditions: Hormone Imbalance

    1. Reddish brown

    Little reddish to darker reddish brown discharge is normal during your period. But if you see this coloured discharge during other days, it indicates a health condition, may be an infection. You must see your doctor as soon as you can. Irregular menstrual cycle or spotting can be one of the reasons. Also check if you are having any birth control pills.

    Possible Medical Conditions: Vaginal Infection, Cancer (Cervical, Uterine)

    1. Gray

    This coloured discharge surely needs intervention of a good gynaecologist. This colour indicates Bacterial Vaginosis which is not uncommon. You will be put on certain antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

    While discharges of different colours are experienced throughout of the life of a woman, one must also check for the following symptoms associated with it.

    1. Itching
    2. Pain
    3. Burning sensation when urinating
    4. Stinking smell of discharge
    5. Thick discharge or frothy
    6. Vaginal bleeding (not during your period)

    If you see these along with discharge, rush to your doctor as soon as possible.

    Dr. Deepa Ganesh,

    Cosmetic Gynecologist, Chennai, India.


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