Vaginal discharge is a normal part of having a healthy functioning reproductive system, and the nature of that discharge can change throughout the month based on your menstrual cycle. While this changing nature is part of your normal cycle, it’s important to be aware of it and keep an eye out for abnormalities that may indicate a health concern. When you have concerns about changes in your discharge, it’s a good time to see your women’s health care provider. If you aren’t sure if you need to schedule an appointment, consider the following.
What Is the Difference Between Normal and Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
Paying attention to your vaginal discharge is an important part of tracking your overall health. Every woman’s discharge is different, but there are some similarities that help establish a baseline for what’s healthy. Below are some examples of the kind of discharge you may identify, and whether or not they represent a health concern.
- White – This is a common color for your discharge to be at the start and finish of your cycle. In addition to being white, it tends to be thick in nature. What won’t be present is itching or an unusual smell. If these are present, you may have a yeast infection.
- Clear and Stretchy – During your ovulation cycle, you may notice that your discharge is watery, stretchy, and clear. This indicates fertility and is perfectly healthy.
- Green or Yellow – If this color is accompanied by a foul odor and a chunky texture, you likely have an infection.
- Brown – While this may be somewhat alarming, it generally indicates that your body is finishing the cleansing of your vagina after a period. Brown is the color of old blood.
- Brown with Spotting Blood – This can be normal if it occurs during your cycle or as part of early pregnancy. If it occurs outside of this time period or is recurring, speak to your physician.
Questions Your Provider May Ask Related To Your Vaginal Discharge
If you have concerns about something happening with your vaginal discharge, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your women’s health care provider. During your visit, you should be prepared to answer some questions about your overall health and vaginal discharge. These questions may include:
- Your Age
- Medications you’re on, including vitamins
- Whether you’re pregnant
- Do you have any itching or pain?
- What other health concerns do you have? (Diabetes, etc.)
Another thing your physician may ask questions about is your sexual activity. It’s important that you answer this question completely, rather than just saying you are or are not active. You should indicate what kind of birth control you’re using if there have been any failures with that birth control, how many partners you have, and what the nature of those partners are. You may also be asked if you’re experiencing any abuse as part of your sexual activity.
How Our Clinic Can Help Concerns With Vaginal Discharge
By visiting our clinic and speaking to our women’s health specialists, you’ll be speaking to professionals who have made women’s health their career. If you also receive your primary care with us, you’ll know that the staff is familiar with your overall case, and will be able to provide you with a comprehensive answer about your case.