5 things to know about Vaginal Discharge

These are 4 important questions a woman should be able to answer about her vaginal discharge. This is because, the answer to each question tells us something about that discharge.

  • Is the discharge normal?
  • What is the colour of the discharge?
  • Is it smelly, itchy, burning?
  • Do you have painful urination?

What is Vaginal discharge

VD is the fluid secreted from tiny glands in the vagina. The fluid leaks from the vagina each day to remove old cells and germs. It’s a way the body keeps the vagina and the reproductive system clean and healthy. Read more about vaginal discharge here.

vaginal discharge


They are most often normal and a regular occurrence during a woman’s monthly cycle but there are certain types of discharges that can indicate an infection.

How Do We Differentiate The Normal And Abnormal Ones?

We check the color, thickness and smell of discharge.


Causes of Normal Vaginal Discharge includes: Sexual arousal, ovulation, exercise, use of birth control pills can cause vaginal discharge.

Causes of Abnormal vaginal discharge: The common causes of abnormal VD are infections eg: Gonorrhea, yeast infection, PID, HPV, Chlamydia etc.

What does the quantity of the discharge tell you?

There are some conditions that can increase the quantity of a woman’s discharge such as; normal menstrual cycle changes, vaginal infection, or cancer (rare).

What does the Colour of Your Discharge tells you?

  1. White V.D: Whitish discharge at the beginning or end of a menstrual cycle is normal but if discharge is associated with itching and it’s very thick. Its Not Normal. It May Be the sign of a YEAST INFECTION.
  2. Clear V.D: Clear discharge that is stretchy in between your fingers and not watery is a normal vaginal discharge. It may be a sign of ovulation. This means that, if you have sex at this time, pregnancy is very very likely to happen.
    Hence, If you’re single or practicing birth spacing/family planning and you don’t want a baby, its best to avoid unprotected sex as this is your MOST FERTILE PERIOD.
  3. Brown V.D: Discharge that is brown or bloody in color is usually normal especially in cases of discharge during or right after menstruation.
    However, Cases of cervical cancer, fibroid may also present with this type of bloody/brown discharge, especially of it comes in the middle of your monthly cycle.
    You should see your doctor for more assessments.
  4. Yellow/Green Discharge: Discharges of this color are NOT NORMAL especially when its associated with a very bad smell/odour and its thick. It’s normally a sign of “Trichomoniasis” a sexually transmitted infection caused by the organism, Trichomonas Vaginalis.

You should see a doctor to commence treatments.

What does the Smell of the Discharge tell you?

If you have a vaginal discharge that is very foul smelling, especially like that of a rotten fish, it is a sign of possible infection with Trichomonas Vaginalis, like that above. You should see your doctor.

What does the nature (itch or burning) of the discharge tell you?

This means that you are having an allergic reaction.

In brief, if you have vaginal discharge, you should see a doctor when the discharge has:

  1. Foul smelling odour
  2. Unusual colour
  3. Itching, burning or redness
  4. Blood in the discharge

Every woman has a vaginal discharge at some point in their lives. So it is important to know which is normal & which is not.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and I’d do well to get to you as soon as possible.


  • Dr. Echibuogu Nelson Tochukwu currently works as a medical officer at Prince Of Peace Specialist Hospital in Lagos. He holds an MBBS Degree from the Abia State University. He is a story teller, script writer and a lover of sport. You can follow him on twitter below.

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