Vaginal discharge may be in several colors. The consistency varies and may change throughout the month.
Some of the most common colors of vaginal discharge are brown, red, clear, yellow, white, pink, or green.
Most vaginal discharge is normal; however, some colors may signal some problem that needs to be addressed. This fluid is released by the vagina. It’s how the vagina cleans itself and eliminates dead cells and bacteria.
The discharge may be thin or thick, pasty, watery or elastic, clear or cloudy, bloody, with a bad odor or odorless. The discharge varies throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. In the period of ovulation, the discharge is thin and slippery.
Before the period, the discharge may become thicker and whiter. Days before the period the discharge may become brown and red.
What Do the Different Vaginal Discharge Colors Mean?
- Red or brown
Irregular menstrual cycle
A brown or red discharge may appear several times during a menstrual cycle.
A woman may have discharge or spotting several days before their period and several days after it has ended.
Spotting may happen during a menstrual cycle as well. Its color ranges from red to pink to brown and may happen in days outside of the bleeding.
It’s usually lighter than the period and doesn’t usually require sanitary protection.
Women who approach their 40s will experience changes in their menstrual cycle and the level of hormones.
Their periods may be heavier or lighter, longer or shorter. In some women, spotting may occur as well as discharge between the bleeding.
The discharge may be brown or red and this is usually normal.
This cancer starts in the cervix.
Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV. In the early stages, this cancer doesn’t show any symptoms. However, an unusual discharge may be a sign.
It could be pale, bloody, smelly, watery, pink, or brown.
The glands in the cervix produce a clear mucus and it’s normal for women during childbearing age.
This mucus becomes white when it’s exposed to air when it comes out of the body. The amount of it differs during ovulation, pregnancy, or sexual arousal.
This infection occurs in more than a million women in the US annually. They’re a result of the presence of a yeast form known as candida.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include a red and swollen vulva and vagina, itchiness in the vagina, a burning sensation while urinating, and cracks or cuts in the vagina.
- Green and yellow
Also known as the trick, this is an STI. it’s the most common in the US, and it’s treatable.
Up to 70 percent of people infected with it are free of symptoms, making the infection easy to spread.
The symptoms happen some 28 days after exposure. The discharge becomes foamy, green, thin, bad smelling, or yellow.
This is also an STI. It may be without symptoms or the symptom could be a white, green, yellow, or bad-smelling discharge.
In some women, light spotting is possible after intercourse. The color may range from red to pink, to brown.
The spotting may be a result of irritation due to insufficient lubrication. Sometimes, it could be a sign of abnormal changes or infections.
Bleeding due to implantation
This bleeding happens in the period after fertilization of sperm in an egg.
In one or two weeks after the egg is implanted into the uterus lining, some women may have spotting or light bleeding.
The color is pinkish to rusty brown and is usually lighter.
This bacteria spreads through sex. Some of its symptoms include a white or gray discharge and a fishy odor.
It may also cause burning and itching in the vaginal area.
- Clear discharge
In the period of ovulation, the body produces a clear discharge that is stretchy.
This is a sign of fertility and it’s normal. Some women wear a panty liner during this stage.
When a person is sexually aroused, the body may release a clear discharge which is a lubricant for the vagina during sexual activity and it’s normal.
In pregnancy, having discharge is normal.
Sometimes, it may be more than usual. The discharge should be clear to white and doesn’t have a bad odor.
In the final week of pregnancy, the discharge may also have blood or mucus.