Is Yellow Vaginal Discharge Normal?

Some discharge is normal, but it can indicate a problem

Beautiful girl sitting pensively holding her legs in bedroom.
Arief Juwono/Getty

All menstruating women and girls will have some degree of vaginal discharge during their cycle. It's totally normal ​and is made up of vaginal secretions and normal healthy vaginal bacteria. This discharge is the body's way of cleaning the vagina and keeping it lubricated.

Typically, this vaginal discharge will be clear to whitish in color. The discharge may have a slightly yellowish hue and can vary from thin and watery to thick and sticky.

You only need to be concerned about yellow vaginal discharge when it's accompanied by a strong odor, or when you're notice vaginal burning or itching. These can be signs of a vaginal infection.

What Affects Vaginal Discharge?

In women with a regular 28- day cycle, ovulation happens right around day 14. During these few days, a women’s vaginal discharge will change, becoming stretchy, stringy, and very sticky. It is usually clear to opaque in color. This type of discharge is actually an increase in cervical mucous and is called Spinnbarkeit.

If you're trying to get pregnant, this is the time of the month that you're most likely to be able to conceive. 

The amount of vaginal discharge can also increase at times of emotional stress. As long as there is no change in the color or odor of the discharge or any vaginal symptoms, an increase in the amount of discharge in these situations is usually quite normal.

When You Should be Concerned about Vaginal Discharge

On the other hand, if you experience a vaginal discharge that suddenly and randomly increases, this may be a sign of a problem. Another change that may indicate a problem is a discharge that is bright yellow or greenish in color. A thick clumped or chunky discharge or a very watery discharge can also indicate a that something is amiss in your vagina.

And as mentioned previously, vaginal discharge with any foul odor or itching is an indication of a problem. 

Common causes of abnormal vaginal discharges include:

What Do Different Kinds of Vaginal Discharge Indicate?

If your discharge is whitish to pale yellow and thick and clumped and you have vaginal itching or burning you likely have a vaginal yeast infection.

But if you have a discharge that is heavier than usual, that is watery and grayish in color with a foul fishy odor, you likely have bacterial vaginosis.

If you are having a vaginal discharge that suddenly increases in amount, that is green or yellowish that has a bad odor, or is causing vaginal symptoms you should see your doctor to determine the cause and to get treatment.

Treatment for Vaginal Discharge

The treatment for your vaginal discharge will depend on the underlying cause. For a yeast infection, you can get over-the-counter clotrimazole (Monistat), but you may want to consult your healthcare provider before self-treating. 

For bacterial vaginosis, a prescription is needed; usually, your healthcare provider will prescribe vaginal metronidazole gel.

 

Continue Reading