Vaginal discharge: what does green, yellow, white discharge and itching mean?

Vaginal discharge: what does green, yellow, white discharge and itching mean?
Photo source: Getty images

Vaginal discharge is individually different as far as each woman is concerned. In some situations, its color, odor, quantity or overall consistency changes. Sometimes the cause is in a hormonal change, sometimes in a disease.

Vaginal discharge, also known as fluoride, is experienced at least once in a woman's lifetime. It is not always a symptom of a serious illness. For example, a whiter discharge without other symptoms may not yet mean anything serious.

However, it is worse if it is accompanied, for example, by pain, or if it is lumpy, green, yellow or white with a curd-like consistency. Or if it smells or is purulent. The key, however, is for a woman to maintain good hygiene so that she can prevent this from happening. If the symptoms are serious and the discharge has not subsided, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Diseases of the genital tract

Inflammation of the external genitalia and vagina is most often responsible for the impaired function of the protective mechanism.

Woman standing, hands on crotch, has intimate problem, disease
Several factors may be involved in the development of the problem. Photo source: Getty Images

Risk factors for the development of:

  • Stress
  • psychological disorders
  • Allergic reaction (e.g. to cosmetics, textiles, latex)
  • pH changes (after using spermicides, swimming pool water, after vaginal rinsing)
  • hormonal influence, changes during puberty, pregnancy, menopause
  • antibiotic treatment
  • hormonal contraceptives
  • weakened immunity
  • diabetes
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Tight underwear, wet bathing suits
  • foreign body in the vagina
  • tumour
  • sexual activity, especially changing sexual partners, oral, anal intercourse

Purulent vaginal discharge can be a symptom of inflammation of the uterus. Typical accompanying symptoms are especially pain in the lower abdomen and pain when urinating. Sometimes the woman also has an increased body temperature.

Inflammation can be located in several places in the uterus. Most often the throat, the mucous membranes of the body and the musculature of the uterine body are affected. Most often, inflammation of the uterus is bacterial in nature.

Model of female genital tract, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, magnifying glass
In addition to discharge, pain is associated. Source: Getty Images

A smelly vaginal discharge is typical of inflammation of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhoea). These bacteria infect humans most often through sexual intercourse.

A very typical fluorrhoeal disease is also a yeast infection of the vagina, which affects almost 75 per cent of women once in their lifetime. Unpleasant vaginal discharge is accompanied by intense itching and the presence of a smelly and whitish vaginal discharge.

This disease is most often caused by a particular type of yeast, namely Candida albicans. If a woman wants to prevent this infection, she should pay particular attention to good hygiene and also to safe sexual intercourse, because even during this, transmission occurs.

These infections can also be accompanied by:

  • pain or cramps in the lower abdomen
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • bleeding outside the menstrual cycle

It may be malignant or benign

White vaginal discharge is also present in cervical cancer. This is a very dangerous cancer. However, it is not always a true cancer. Sometimes benign tumours are also found on the uterus.

Pain during urination and intercourse is also typical. Sometimes women may also experience burning during urination and bleeding outside the normal menstrual cycle is common. However, it is very important not to underestimate the presence of these symptoms in particular and to see a gynaecologist as soon as possible.

Pregnant woman, cutout, chest, belly, arms, black dress
The period of pregnancy is also risky, due to hormonal changes. Photo source: Getty Images

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can cause a change in the amount and also in the colour of the discharge. This does not immediately indicate a problem. However, in some situations, an examination is needed to prevent complications during pregnancy.

A change in colour and smell can be an indicator of inflammation or venereal disease. Especially if the colour of the discharge is grey, white, yellow, green and the smell is unpleasant. Other symptoms can also occur, such as pain in the lower abdomen, after intercourse, when urinating, but also itching and burning.

Even with urinary tract inflammation

Vaginal discharge can also be a symptom of urinary tract inflammation, which is most often caused by a bacterial infection. Escherichia coli bacteria normally live in the digestive tract of humans, but if it gets into the urinary tract, it causes inflammation.

Women have this infection more often than men. And it is typically accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen, frequent urination and pain or burning sensation when urinating. Vaginal discharge occurs in this inflammation, but only at an advanced stage.

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The aim of the portal and content is not to replace professional examination. The content is for informational and non-binding purposes only, not advisory. In case of health problems, we recommend seeking professional help, visiting or contacting a doctor or pharmacist.