Vaginal discharge, often white or clear in color, is a completely normal occurrence. However, when what’s normal for you, changes, and the vaginal fluid becomes noticeably different in color, smell, consistency, and frequency of the discharge, chances are there’s some kind of a health issue like an infection, for example. We urge you to utilize top-notch gynecological care at University Park, Florida, if you notice anything unusual with your gynecological health and well-being. To learn more about the meaning of different vaginal discharge types, keep on reading.

What Is Vaginal Discharge?

Vaginal discharge, a fluid that aids in keeping the vagina free of infection and clean, is an entirely normal bodily function. However, the quality, quantity, and presentation of vaginal fluid might vary with age and the stage of the menstrual cycle.

Vaginal fluid is typically transparent and/or white or off-white in color. The cells and bacteria in your vaginal discharge come from your uterus, cervix, and vagina. It aids in vaginal hygiene, provides lubrication, and protects against bacterial and fungal infections.

While most alterations and types of vaginal discharge are harmless, extreme changes in appearance, smell, or texture are all potentially indicative of a more severe problem.

Types of Vaginal Discharge

While there are several different vaginal discharge types and ways to classify them, consistency and color are primarily used for categorization.

Thick White Discharge

Thick white discharge may seem unusual, but it’s actually quite typical among the vaginal discharge types, especially at the beginning and the end of a female menstrual cycle. However, this kind of thick white discharge shouldn’t have an overly strong smell.

Clear Watery Discharge

Women Health Problem, Period Concept.

Clear watery discharge is common around the time of ovulation. During pregnancy or while you’re sexually stimulated, you could also experience more of the clear watery discharge.

Clear and Stretchy Discharge

Clear and stretchy vaginal discharge is indicative of ovulation, as opposed to watery discharge.

Bloody or Brown Discharge

You may get brown or red discharge during or immediately after your period. Additionally, you may notice slight bloody spotting in between your periods. You may be pregnant if you start to spot before your period is due and you haven’t used any kind of protection during your most recent sexual encounter. In addition, early pregnancy spotting can be an indication of a miscarriage.

Green or Yellow Discharge

If the discharge becomes yellow after exposure to air, it may not signify anything serious or unusual. However, among the types of vaginal discharge, darker green or yellow is a warning indicator that should prompt a visit to a doctor. This is especially true when the discharge is chunky, thick, or accompanied by an offensive odor.

What Causes Vaginal Discharge?

Natural fluctuations in estrogen levels cause vaginal discharge, which is a normal and healthy biological function. Ovulation, sexual stimulation, birth control medications, and pregnancy can all increase the amount of vaginal fluid.

Alterations to the vaginal bacterial balance can have unfavorable effects on the discharge’s appearance, odor, and consistency. The risk of a vaginal infection rises when the population of dangerous bacteria grows. The transmission of some of the following infections occurs through sexual contact with an infected partner.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections of the vagina occur when Candida fungus develops uncontrollably in that area. The resulting vaginal fluid is thick and white, resembling cottage cheese. You may have vaginal swelling, itching, and pain during sex. Yeast infections can be treated with antifungal drugs.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Among bacterial infections, bacterial vaginosis is relatively common. It leads to more discharge from the vagina, and this discharge often smells very unpleasant, even fishy. Gray, watery discharge is also a possibility. There may be no outward signs of infection in a few cases.

While bacterial vaginosis is not spread through sexual contact, those who engage in sexual activity or who have just acquired a new sexual partner are at greater risk of contracting the condition. Sexually transmitted diseases are another possible consequence of the infection.


To add to the list of parasitic infections is trichomoniasis. It is commonly transmitted through sexual contact but may also be transmitted from sharing personal items like towels or swimwear.

Up to 50% of those afflicted show no signs at all. Those affected may notice a foul-smelling, yellow, green, or foamy discharge. Vaginal pain, irritation, and itching are other frequent symptoms, especially after urinating or having intercourse.

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia are widespread. Both of these infections require antibiotic treatment. Cloudy, yellowish, or greenish vaginal discharge may be present in some patients. If the infection is not treated, it can spread and lead to a painful condition called pelvic inflammatory disease.

Genital Herpes

This STI can cause odorous, heavy vaginal discharge, especially after sexual activity. Itching, burning, soreness during urination, and bleeding between periods are all symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak.

The absence or mildness of symptoms is, nevertheless, the more typical occurrence. If you do suffer symptoms, they may frequently return throughout your lifetime.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Common pelvic inflammatory disease signs include a discharge that is heavy, smelly, and painful during urination, menstruation, or after having sex. Untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to this condition, which arises when bacteria spread from the vagina to other reproductive organs.

Noninfectious Causes of Vaginal Discharge

Woman With Hands Holding Pressing Her Crotch Lower Abdomen

Infection is not the only cause of unusual or increased vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge can also be caused by changes in the natural balance of beneficial bacteria in the vagina and by sexual arousal. Other potential causes are as follows:

  • Improper placement of an object in the genital area. A tampon could get stuck within your vagina if you’re not careful.
  • A skin reaction caused by an allergen. This may result from contact with cleaning products, soaps, lubricants, condoms, or sex toys.
  • A condition that’s known as atrophic vaginitis. Since estrogen levels tend to drop after menopause, the vaginal walls grow drier and thinner than usual.
  • The increased discharge you experience during pregnancy serves as a natural defense against infection.
  • While ovulating, your discharge could be especially wet and slick to facilitate the sperm’s fertilization of the egg.

Vaginal discharge is a daily occurrence for most people. It’s your body’s way of ensuring the cleanliness and well-being of your vagina, and you can’t really avoid it. Wearing a pantyliner will assist with absorbing any excess fluid if you’re concerned about having too much discharge.

If you monitor your vaginal discharge, you can get a sense of your body’s normal patterns and see any deviations promptly. If you notice anything atypical, it’s best to consult a doctor. 

Remember that long-term problems from most infections and diseases can be avoided if they are recognized and treated quickly enough. Feel free to contact us at University Park OB/GYN if you’re interested in expert gynecological care.