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Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal and can vary in odor and color depending on the time in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Generally, there is more discharge when ovulating, breastfeeding, or during sexual activity, and this is no cause for concern.
However, there are times when vaginal discharge can be abnormal. Most changes in odor and color are not cause for alarm; but, if the color, smell, or consistency of the vaginal discharge seems different than usual, an infection or other condition may be present.
Discharge-Causing Health Conditions
Any change in the vagina’s balance of normal bacteria can affect the smell, color, or discharge texture and can be a result of a few things:
- Antibiotic or steroid use
- Bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection more common in women who are pregnant or women who have multiple partners
- Taking birth control pills
- Cervical cancer
- Chlamydia or gonorrhea (STDs) or other sexually transmitted infections
- Douching, using scented soaps or lotions, bubble baths
- Pelvic infection after surgery
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection typically contracted and caused by having unprotected sex
- Vaginal atrophy, the thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls during menopause
- Vaginitis, irritation in or around the vagina
- Yeast infections
When to See a Doctor for Vaginal Discharge
If the abnormal discharge is recurring and you experience other symptoms such as nausea or bleeding, we recommend seeing a healthcare provider. While changes in vaginal discharge is completely normal, its occurrence alongside other symptoms — such as fever, bloody stools, chest pain, yellow skin (jaundice), or abdominal swelling and tenderness — could indicate a serious medical condition that may require urgent, immediate medical help.
Abnormal types of vaginal discharge can be indicated by color and odor and could mean many different things. You should meet with your doctor to discuss your personal health situation, current health circumstances, and your symptoms if you are experiencing:
- Vaginal itching or burning
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Swelling and pain around the vulva
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Pain and itching while urinating
- Redness of the vagina or vulva
How Advanced Gynecology Can Help: Treatment Options for Vaginal Discharge
If you have reason to believe your vaginal discharge is abnormal and could be an indicator of a greater problem, Advanced Gynecology is here for you.
Our board-certified team of women’s health experts are ready to help you with diagnostic care and a range of options from pain management solutions to surgical procedures to hormone therapy to a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. We will counsel you about the best options for you and your health.
Meanwhile, it can be helpful to take note of your symptoms and changes in your vaginal discharge before meeting with a specialist, so they can better and more efficiently diagnose the problem. It can be helpful to take anti-inflammatory NSAID medications like over-the-counter Advil or Aleve if you are experiencing pain until you can seek medical attention.
For more information, schedule an appointment today or call 706-389-9228 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.