We’ve touted the vagina as a finely tuned ecosystem with a specific balance of bacteria and moisture that maintains a healthy (acidic) pH. This balance is sensitive to changes from within and outside your body, and can be affected by diet, sleep patterns, birth control, and other forms of medication.
Vaginal discharge is normal and necessary to help maintain a healthy vaginal environment.
It is the fluid secreted from tiny glands in the vagina and cervix that helps remove old cells and debris.
While the amount of vaginal discharge varies significantly from person to person and the color, consistency, and amount can also change day to day throughout your menstrual cycle. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your unique “normal” discharge so that you will recognize if the changes are benign, or signal that something else is going on and it’s time to see a doctor.
To make it a bit easier, we’ve created a color-coded cheat sheet to understand and decode your discharge.
If your Discharge is Clear
Clear discharge is healthy discharge with no sign of infection. Odorless, and scant discharge that has an egg-white consistency is a sign that you’re in the clear. Just note that you may experience more clear, slippery discharge just before ovulation, during sexual arousal, or during pregnancy.
If your Discharge is White, Creamy, or Milky
Discharge that is slightly white in color with no accompanying symptoms is completely normal, but if the consistency of your discharge is thin and watery, opaque white, and mostly odorless with slight itching, you may have vaginal candidiasis, which is an overgrowth of bacteria called Candida, which disrupts your vaginal pH.
If your discharge turns thick, curd-like, and milky white, you may be experiencing vaginal thrush, also known as a vaginal yeast infection. If you experience other symptoms like swelling around the vagina, pain and/or burning during sex or urination, and redness or a rash around your genitals, we suggest our soothing Salve. If symptoms persist, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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If Your Discharge is Pink
Pink discharge is usually a marker of the beginning of your period, and there’s no reason for concern. It’s also quite common for some people to experience light bleeding after vaginal penetration. Rough sex or toy play can cause small tears or irritation to the vagina or cervix, so allow your body to heal for a few days before having penetrative vaginal sex.
Pink discharge may also indicate implantation bleeding, which is an early sign of pregnancy. If you’re experiencing other pregnancy symptoms, take a test, or schedule an appointment with your sexual/reproductive health care provider.
If your Discharge is Red or Brown
Red and/or brown discharge is perfectly normal during your period and is an indicator of reproductive tract bleeding. The color might range from cherry red at the beginning of your cycle to rusty brick brown near the end.
A lot of people experience spotting and irregular periods due to their birth control method or hormonal changes affected by medications, or even a change in diet. However, if you notice irregular red or brown discharge with clotted blood and mucous, it could be a sign of infection. If this is a common occurrence, you should see a doctor, as it may be a sign of something more serious, like endometrial cancer.
If your Discharge is Gray
Gray discharge is a sign of bacterial vaginosis. BV is an imbalance (not infection!) of good and bad bacteria in your vagina. Other symptoms may include excessive amounts of discharge, scents that you may not be used to (people often report a “fishy” smell), and, although less common, itching, redness, and pain during vaginal penetration or urination.
We recommend examining your current diet, incorporating probiotic rich food throughout the day and taking a natural probiotic supplement, and trying any one of our signature products for both immediate relief and maintaining your vaginal flora as a form of preventative care. All natural and organic, each product is formulated with ingredients with anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties that work with your body to address symptoms of discomfort.
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If your Discharge is Yellow or Green
If you see yellow or green discharge, don’t immediately freak —this color discharge is more normal than you think, especially if it’s a one-off occurrence. Look at your diet or any supplements you take because what you eat may be the cause for colored discharge ranging from daffodil yellow to chartreuse green.
However, if green or yellow discharge is accompanied by other symptoms like itching or unusual odors, you likely have a bacterial infection or STI. The yellow and/or green color is due to pus mixing with mucous to fight off the infection, so you know your body is working to protect and heal itself!
When to See Your Healthcare Professional
If your symptoms are mild and manageable, take a look at your diet, lifestyle habits, and where you are in your menstrual cycle and incorporate organic products into your preventive care routine.
Regardless of if you're experiencing symptoms or not, you should regularly get tested for STIs (you can even take them at home!). Only you know what is normal for your body, and if you're experiencing prolonged discomfort and irregular symptoms persist, talk with your healthcare provider to discuss other treatment options.
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Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.