5 Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge, Treatment, Prevention!

Vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge is a condition that has been commonly noticed among females of reproductive age. This discharge can be normal or abnormal. The discharge can be whitish, yellowish or clear. It can also be itchy & foul smelling.

Is it smelly, itchy, burning? Is the discharge much?
Do you have painful urination?

These are some questions asked when a woman has a vaginal discharge or infection.

Vaginal Discharge
Lady checking her pad for discharge. Image Credit: Get The gloss

It can happen when the vagina is not as acidic as it should be, allowing bad organisms to grow. It can be caused by sexually transmitted infections.

Conditions where immunity is low like pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, HIV infection etc, can make it more common. You can also change the acidity of your vagina by DOUCHING. This puts you at risk of infection.

If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you have a vaginal infection, see a specialist and make sure you are tested and treated to avoid stories that touch in future. – @Naijaobgyn

Table of Content

What is Vaginal discharge

This simply means the leakage of fluid from the vagina. This discharge from the vagina can be normal, or can be abnormal as a result of an underlying infection.

What causes Vaginal discharge

Discharges from the vagina can be normal or abnormal.
Normal discharge: is usually clear (colourless) and is not foul smelling. You will have more discharge when you’re ovulating, breastfeeding, or sexually aroused. Excessive normal discharge can be due to Cervical ectropion or cervical polyp.

Abnormal discharges is usually not clear and sometimes, they have a malodorus smell. They are usually due to infections from bacteria, Fungi and a number of other organisms. Common examples in our environment are;

Bacterial Vaginosis

This is the commonest cause of abnormal discharge. It is commonly caused by an organism known as Gardnerella Vaginalis. The vagina is usually acidic. This organism causes a reduction in this acidity of the Vagina.
Things that can make you contract this organism are; douching, having Multiple sexual partners as well as oral sex.
Symptoms of this infections are: whitish discharge that smells like a fish.
Diagnosis is through the laboratory.
If not treated, it can cause PID, as well as miscarriages in Pregnancy.
Treatment: is by metronidazole or clindamycin. You should see your doctor for the dosage required. & duration.


This is caused by a fungi known as Candida Albicans. Most persons who have this do not show any symptoms.
Others may show symptoms like: white vaginal discharge, itching as well as irritation.
This condition is commonly seen with diabetics, those with weak immunity (e.g: HIV) or in Pregnancy.
Diagnosis is through laboratory test.
Treatment: See your doctor for the antifungal drugs & dosages to take.
Know that this is not an STI. Read about Sexually Transmitted Diseases here


This organism Trichomonas vaginalis causes vaginal discharge that are yellowish in colour. Some may have other colours. Some persons having this may show no symptoms.
This is sexually transmitted & your partner should also be treated.
Treatment: see your doctor for the dosage & duration of metronidazole to be used, after confirmation through the laboratory.


This can also cause abnormal vaginal discharge in women. In addition, it would also cause abdominal pain. Read more about gonorrhoea, symptoms & treatment here.


This also cause abnormal discharges. If not treated early, it can lead to PID & future infertility. See more about it here & treatment.

PID: due to untreated bacterial infections. See causes.

Prevention of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

This is by avoiding the contracting of these organisms that can cause the infections. They include;

  • practice of safe/protected sex. Always use a condom
  • reduce number of partners.
  • For diabetics, always be consistent with the medications, so as to keep the glucose level under control. These infections most develop in uncontrolled persons.
  • Avoid douching & excessive washing of the vagina. Some organisms are naturally there. It prevents these bad organisms from coming there. When you take them out, these bad organisms now go there & colonize it.
  • In Pregnancy, maintain good hygiene at all times.
  • For HIV & immunosuppressed individuals: adherence to their medication is very important.

Always share the awareness & feel free to ask any questions or add contributions below.


  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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