Color of Vaginal Discharge
Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
The colour of the vaginal discharge varies in different conditions of the vagina, some physiological and some pathological. Although an accurate diagnosis is impossible to make based on the colour, a rough idea of the cause of the vaginal discharge can be postulated.
Heavy, Mucous-like Vaginal Discharge without Odor and Itching
This type of vaginal discharge is seen mainly in normal physiological causes of vaginal discharge:
- During Ovulation.
- During pregnancy.
- During sexual excitement.
- At Puberty.
- In women using birth control pills.
- Sometimes in newborn female babies.
Thin Whitish or Creamy Vaginal Discharge without Itching and Odor
- Cervical Erosion.
- Cervical Polyp.
- Foreign body inside the vagina.
- Prolonged ill health.
- Certain tumours of the genital tract.
Thick Cottage Cheese-like or Curdy Vaginal Discharge with Severe Itching
- Infection by Candida Albicans or vaginal yeast.
Thick Pus-like Greenish or Yellowish Vaginal Discharge
- Trichomonas infection - infection by Trichomonas vaginalis also causes severe itching.
- Infection by Chlamydia trachomatis - It causes a foul smelling pus-like vaginal discharge.
- Secondary Infection of cuts and bruises - Depending on the infecting organism, there may be greenish or yellowish pus-like vaginal discharge. No itching.
Brownish Vaginal Discharge
A brown stain in the vaginal secretion usually indicates the presence of blood in the discharge. But it can also be due to dirty genital areas and unwashed underwear. Blood is present in the vaginal discharge in:
- Bleeding from a tumour e.g. a cervical polyp.
- Bleeding from a cervical erosion.
- Maligant (cancerous ) changes in the genital tract.
- Implantation bleeding.
- If the patient is pregnant, the cause is usually due to some problems in the pregnancy and needs thorough investigation.
Urinary / Fecal discharge
This type of discharge occurs if there is a fistula (connection) between the urinary tract and the vagina, or, the rectum and anus and the vagina. The discharge has a distinct urinary or fecal smell. Occasionally urine or even stool may come out of the fistula if it is large enough.
Diagnosis of cause of vaginal Discharge
The best test for the diagnosis of the cause of vaginal discharge is a swab test. Swabs are taken from the vagina and tested for the presence of lactobacilli, Gardnerella vaginosis, yeast and other other infective organisms. Trichomonas is tested by examining the vaginal discharge under the microscope.
Treatment is as per the cause diagnosed by the vaginal swab and other tests.
- Normal Vaginal Discharge without Itching.
- Vaginal Itching without Discharge.
- Vaginal Discharge with Itching .
- Postmenopausal Vaginitis.