Vaginal Discharge | Symptoms

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What changes may be a sign of a problem?

Changes that may signal a problem include an increase in the amount of discharge, a change in the color or smell of the discharge, and irritation, itchiness or burning in or around your vagina. This is called vaginitis. A discharge that's stained with blood when you're not having your period could also be a sign of a problem. If you have any of these signs, you should talk to your doctor.

You should also be on the lookout for symptoms of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis, 3 infections that can cause changes in your vaginal discharge.

Signs of yeast infections

  • White, cottage cheese-like discharge
  • Swelling and pain around the vulva
  • Intense itching
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Signs of bacterial vaginosis

  • A white, gray or yellowish vaginal discharge
  • A fishy odor that is strongest after sex or after washing with soap
  • Itching or burning
  • Slight redness and swelling of the vagina or vulva

Signs of trichomoniasis

  • A watery, yellowish or greenish bubbly discharge
  • An unpleasant odor
  • Pain and itching when urinating
  • Most apparent after your period

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 01/99

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