July 25, 2016

Vaginal Discharge

MedicineNet - Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal Discharge Symptoms & Signs

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A certain amount of vaginal discharge (fluid that flows out the vaginal opening) other than the expected vaginal bleeding at menstruation is normal. The vaginal walls and uterine cervix contain glands that produce a small amount of fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean. This normal fluid is usually thin and clear or milky white and does not have an unpleasant smell. Vaginal discharge is thicker at specific times of the menstrual cycle (at the time of ovulation), during breastfeeding, or during sexual arousal. This temporary thickening of the vaginal discharge is normal and is not associated with the symptoms and signs of vaginal infection.

An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge, an abnormal odor or consistency of the fluid, or pain, itching, or burning that accompanies vaginal discharge can all be symptoms or signs of infection or other more serious disorders. Vaginitis, including bacterial vaginitis or candidiasis, can lead to changes in the appearance of the discharge. It can appear cloudy, bloody, white, yellow, or green and may be bloody in some cases.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/7/2014

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REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Vaginal Discharge
    • Bacterial Vaginosis Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition that is characterized by vaginal discharge resulting from an overgrowth of...learn more »
    • Cervical Cancer Cervical cancer is cancer of the entrance to the womb (uterus). Regular pelvic exams and Pap testing can detect precancerous...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cervical Cancer Article
      • Cervical cancer facts
      • What is cervical cancer?
      • How do women get cervical cancer? What causes cervical cancer?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of cervical cancer?
      • What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?
      • What are cervical cancer screening guidelines?
      • What tests are used to diagnose cervical cancer?
      • What are the stages of cervical cancer?
      • What is the treatment for cervical cancer?
      • What are methods of treatment for cervical cancer?
      • Can cervical cancer be prevented? What is the cervical cancer vaccine?
      • What kind of support is available to women with cervical cancer?
      • What is the prognosis and survival rates for women with cervical cancer?
      • What research is being done on cervical cancer?
    • Chlamydia in Women Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia, a bacterial infection,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Chlamydia in Women Article
      • What is chlamydia?
      • What causes chlamydia?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of chlamydia?
      • How is chlamydia diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for chlamydia?
      • What is the prognosis for chlamydia?
      • Can chlamydia be prevented?
    • Genital Warts (HPV) Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. HPV is primarily transmitted...learn more »
      In This Article
      Genital Warts (HPV) Article
      • Genital warts (HPV) facts*
      • What are human papillomaviruses (HPVs)?
      • How common is HPV infection?
      • What are the symptoms of genital warts?
      • How is HPV infection diagnosed?
      • Is there a DNA test for types of HPV infection?
      • How are genital warts diagnosed?
      • How to treat and get rid of HPV or genital warts
      • Precancerous changes (dysplasia) of the cervix
      • Can HPV infection be prevented?
      • What should a person do if exposed to someone with genital warts?
    • Gonorrhea In Women Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted during sexual contact. In women, symptoms include a yellow vaginal discharge,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gonorrhea In Women Article
      • Gonorrhea facts
      • What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
      • What is gonorrhea?
      • What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?
      • How is gonorrhea diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for gonorrhea?
    • Is a Yeast Infection Contagious? Yeast are a fungi that has many types. A type of yeast that can cause infection in humans is called Candida. Candida can infect...learn more »
      In This Article
      Is a Yeast Infection Contagious? Article
      • What are yeast?
      • Is a yeast infection contagious?
      • How do I know if I have a yeast infection?
      • How will I know if I am cured of a yeast infection?
      • When should I seek medical care for yeast infection?
    • Menopause Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause...learn more »
    • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common and serious complication of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), aside from...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Article
      • Pelvic inflammatory disease facts*
      • What causes pelvic inflammatory disease?
      • How common is pelvic inflammatory disease?
      • Are some women more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease?
      • What is the treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease?
      • What should I do if I think I have an STI (sexually transmitted disease)
      • How can I keep myself from getting PID?
    • Pinworms Pinworm infection is an intestinal infection caused by a pinworm, seatworm, or threadworm. Female pinworms leave the intestine...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pinworms Article
      • Pinworms facts
      • Can humans get pinworms?
      • What are the symptoms of pinworms in children and adults?
      • Who gets pinworms?
      • How do you get pinworms?
      • Can you get pinworms in the vagina?
      • What do pinworms and their eggs look like (pinworm pictures)?
      • Which specialties of doctors treat pinworms?
      • How is the tape test used in diagnosing pinworms?
      • Are there natural or home remedies that treat pinworms?
      • What medicine treats pinworms?
      • What are the consequences if pinworms aren't treated?
      • Can pinworms be prevented?
    • Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs) Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual exposure, including...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs) Article
      • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) facts
      • What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
      • Gonorrhea
      • Chlamydia
      • Syphilis
      • Genital Herpes
      • Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) and Genital Warts
      • Chancroid
      • Ectoparasitic Infections
      • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
      • Hepatitis B
      • Hepatitis C
      • Conclusions
    • Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a parasite passed from person to person. Trichomoniasis can be...learn more »
      In This Article
      Trichomoniasis (Vaginal Infection) Article
      • Trichomoniasis facts*
      • What is trichomoniasis and how do you get it?
      • What are the symptoms of trichomoniasis?
      • Is there a test for trichomoniasis?
      • How is trichomoniasis treated?
      • What happens if I don't get treated?
      • Should I tell my partner if I have trichomoniasis?
      • Does trichomoniasis cause problems during pregnancy?
      • How is trichomoniasis prevented?
    • Uterine Cancer Though uterine cancer's cause is unknown, there are many factors that will put a woman at risk, including being over age 50,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Uterine Cancer Article
      • Uterine cancer facts
      • What is uterus?
      • What are cancer cells?
      • What are the risk factors?
      • Symptoms of uterine cancer
      • Diagnosis of uterine cancer
      • Staging of uterine cancer
      • Treatment of uterine cancer
      • Surgery of uterine cancer
      • Radiation therapy
      • Chemotherapy for uterine cancer
      • Hormone therapy for uterince tumors
      • Second Opinion
      • Nutrition and diet
      • Follow-up Care
      • Sources of Support
      • Taking Part in Cancer Research
    • Vaginal Bleeding Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Vaginal Bleeding Article
      • Vaginal bleeding facts
      • What is normal vaginal bleeding?
      • What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?
      • What conditions cause abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly?
      • What conditions cause vaginal bleeding after menopause or abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are not ovulating regularly?
      • What causes abnormal vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?
      • What causes vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse?
      • What diagnostic tests are used to evaluate abnormal vaginal bleeding?
      • How is irregular vaginal bleeding treated?
    • Vaginal Cancer Vaginal cancer is fairly uncommon. There are two types of vaginal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Risk...learn more »
      In This Article
      Vaginal Cancer Article
      • Vaginal cancer facts*
      • What is vaginal cancer?
      • What are causes and risk factors for vaginal cancer?
      • What are symptoms and signs of vaginal cancer?
      • What tests are used to diagnose vaginal cancer?
      • What is the prognosis for vaginal cancer?
      • How is staging determined for vaginal cancer?
      • What is the treatment for vaginal cancer?
      • Treatment options by stage
      • Treatment options for recurrent vaginal cancer
      • Where can I find more information about vaginal cancer?
    • Women's Health Women's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Women's Health Article
      • Introduction to women's health
      • Women's general health and wellness
      • Female anatomy
      • The female reproductive System
      • Female hormones
      • Diseases more common in women
      • Cancer in women
      • Women's cosmetic concerns
      • Menstruation
      • Sexuality
      • Fertility, birth control, and infertility
      • Pregnancy
      • Motherhood
      • Menopause
      • The mature woman - post menopause
    • Yeast Infection (in Women and Men) Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection...learn more »
Other Causes of Vaginal Discharge
  • Atrophic Vaginitis
  • Cervical Polyp
  • Cervicitis
  • Foreign Body (Forgotten Tampon)
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Overgrow normal bacteria in the vagina
  • Chemicals found in detergents, softeners, ointments, creams, and contraceptive foams, which may irritate the skin around vagina
Examples of Medications for Vaginal Discharge


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