Vaginal discharge can indicate a host of problems ‘down below’. From fishy aromas to cottage-cheese like consistencies, genitalia fluid may imply women are battling uncomfortable bacterial or fungal infections, according to Noway-based Dr. Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl.
Discharge can even be green and frothy inconsistency, which suggests women are suffering from the sexually transmitted infection trichomoniasis, the doctors discuss in their new book ‘The Wonder Down Under: A User’s Guide to the Vagina’.
Vaginal Discharge Treatment by Dr Sharafat Ali
If infected with gonorrhea, which is typically symptomless, cloudy-yellow fluid leaking from the vagina could be the only clue a woman is suffering. Discharge can even be an indicator of cervical cancer if it comes out red or brown. In a piece for getting The Gloss, the medics discuss what ‘normal’ discharge looks, and smells, like.
Dodgy discharge checker
A strong, rotten fish whiff is often characteristic of bacterial vaginosis, which, according to Helen Knox, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Contraception and Sexual Health, is known to affect one in three women of childbearing age at one point or another and can be triggered by everything from tight clothing to perfumed toiletries and panty liners and even sperm, owing to its alkaline pH. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in your vaginal bacteria and it can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics.
Sorry to put you off your lunch, but thick, curd-like discharge, often accompanied by itching, the burning sensation can be indicative of thrush. You may also notice a more ‘yeasty’ smell than usual, owing to the fact that thrush is a fungal infection.
Be assured that almost every woman on the planet will experience thrush at some point during her life, and it’s easily treated with a course of over-the-counter antifungal medicine, although see your GP if it’s the first time you’ve had it, or if your thrush is recurring.
It’s also important to see a doctor if you’ve got thrush while pregnant or breastfeeding. Thrush is especially common during pregnancy and menopause and in women aged 20-30.
Green, yellow, and frothy:
Surely the horror story of vaginal secretions, these symptoms could be caused by trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by a small parasite.
It can be accompanied by cystitis-Esque burning when you pee, and often soreness, swelling, and itching in the vaginal area. All in all, not nice, but it can be treated with an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor or health specialist.
Cloudy and yellow:
This could be a symptom of gonorrhea, which is now one of the most common bacterial STIs in the UK according to Public Health England. The gonorrhea bacteria infects the cervix, where the fluid glands that produce vaginal discharge are located, hence the thick, yellow discharge that can often ensure.
You may also experience pain when you pee and bleeding between periods, but if you’re in any doubt, book an appointment with your GP or local sexual health specialist to get tested. Antibiotics should clear things up within a matter of days. More rarely, similar discharge can be caused by chlamydia, so it’s always a good idea to get screened for this too- your local STI or GUM clinic will offer this.
Red or brown:
Blood in your discharge can occur if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, but it can also be a sign of an STI, or less commonly, cervical and endometrial cancers. Book an appointment with your GP to be on the safe side, and never ignore pelvic pain, bleeding after sex, vaginal soreness, or pain when peeing. dailymail