How do I treat vaginal discharge & odor?

Why choose wikiHow?
wikiHow marks an article as reader approved once we have received enough feedback to know that most readers were able to successfully complete the task. In this case, we have also received several testimonials from our readers, who told us how this article truly helped them.

How to Control Vaginal Discharge

Two Methods:

Any bodily discharge can be embarrassing. If you don't know how to hygienically cope with vaginal discharge, you may have issues with odor and/or staining that can lead to additional embarrassment. While many discharges are normal and help keep the pH balance of your vagina intact, other discharges can be the sign of real issues that need to be addressed either with over-the-counter medication or by seeing a qualified doctor.


Evaluating the Problem

  1. See if your discharge is normal.Normal vaginal secretions will be clear or milky in appearance. This natural lubricant helps clean your vagina, keeping it free from unhealthy germs. Normal secretions are odor-free. Secretions may be thin, stringy or have white spots. If this sounds like your discharge, leave it alone. Natural discharge is very important in keeping your vagina healthy.
  2. Learn the types of vaginal discharge.There are several different types of vaginal discharge. These types are categorized based on their color and consistency. Some are normal, while others may indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment.
    • Thick, white, cheesy discharge – This is usually a sign of a yeast infection. May also be accompanied itching or swelling around the vulva.
    • White, yellow or grey discharge – Especially if accompanied by a fishy odor, this type of discharge is likely a sign of bacterial vaginosis. May also be accompanied by itching and swelling.
    • Yellow or green discharge – A yellow or green discharge, especially when it is thick, chunky, or accompanied by a bad smell, is not normal. This type of discharge may be a sign of the infection trichomoniasis, which is commonly spread through sexual intercourse.
    • Brown or bloody discharge – Brown or bloody discharge may be a product of irregular menstruation, but can also be a sign of more serious illness such as cervical cancer if accompanied by pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding.
    • Cloudy yellow discharge – This type of discharge, especially if accompanied by pelvic pain, may be a sign of gonorrhea.
  3. Consider the state of your body.Factors that affect vaginal discharge include what you eat, your menstrual cycle, whether or not you're on the pill, if you are breast-feeding, what medications you are taking, whether or not you are pregnant, and whether or not you are under stress.
    • You can also be at risk of throwing off your vagina's natural pH balance if you are on antibiotics or if you use vaginal douches, feminine hygiene products or perfumed soaps. While anti-biotics cannot be avoided, douching and scented feminine products should always be avoided as these are bad for your body.
    • Other things that can put you at risk include pregnancy, diabetes or other infections that are near or around that area of the body.
  4. Look for foreign objects.Leaving in a tampon for too long can cause unusual discharge. Some women forget they even had a tampon up there! You can also end up with other objects in your vagina which can cause a discharge (as your body tries to expel it). A common example is a piece of a broken condom.
  5. Know the difference between colors and odors of vaginal discharge.Off-color or foul odors in the vaginal region can be the sign of a pelvic infection after you've had a surgery, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), vaginal atrophy during menopause, trichomoniasis or vaginitis, and several other vaginal infections, all of which should be diagnosed by a doctor and treated as advised by your doctor.
    • Vaginal discharge with bacterial vaginosis will be gray, white or yellow. It will also have a fishy odor.
    • If you have gonorrhea, you might have a cloudy or yellow discharge.
    • Yeast infections can be apparent if you have a thick, white discharge. This discharge is often described as having a cottage cheese consistency. Cottage cheese discharge is also characteristic of chlamydia, a common STI.
    • If you have an irregular period or endometrial or cervical cancer, you may notice a bloody or brown discharge.
    • If you have trichomoniasis, yellow/green frothy discharge that has a bad odor may affect you.
    • If you don't have health insurance, there are clinics (like Planned Parenthood) which offer gynecological exams and treatment that are inexpensive or free.
    • Avoid taking medication until you know what the cause is. There is medication for things like yeast infections, but you should not self-diagnose a yeast infection if this is your first time getting one. Taking yeast infection medication without a yeast infection can lead to future problems.

Treating Normal Discharge

  1. Use baby wipes.Wipe away the excess discharge when you go to the bathroom. Try not to get the wipe too far into your vagina; you should only be cleaning the outside (vulva). Use wipes which are unscented and contain as few chemicals as possible.
  2. Change your underwear.Changing your underwear 2-3 times a day can help the problem. This will help keep bacteria away from your vagina and will also reduce your discomfort and the smell.
    • Make sure you're wearing the right kind of underwear, since wearing the wrong kind can even be causing the problem! Wear cotton underwear with good ventilation (meaning those skinny jeans you wear can also be causing the problem).
  3. Air yourself out.Try to get as much air exposure as possible. Sleep naked or walk around your house without pants or underwear if you can. The air will help keep your skin from becoming irritated and decreasing opportunities for infection. It can also help treat the problem itself, if your body simply has an imbalance of bacteria, since it will give your body the opportunity to restore itself to normal.
  4. Use a pad or pantyliner in extreme cases.Generally you want to avoid these, as usually your body creates the discharge to get rid of something and keeping that something close to your body is not the best idea. However, if you are in a situation where you really need to keep the discharge in check or the discharge is so bad it cannot be controlled, you can use a pad or pantyliner. Try to change it as often as possible.
    • Don't use douches. Many douches that are bought at the store contain "scents" or soaps, these may make you feel cleaner in the short term, but in the long run will actually make the problem worse. They will disrupt the natural pH of your vagina and cause it to work overtime to get back to its normal state.
  5. Try herbal remedies to control your discharge:Herbs are safe and effective remedies to prevent abnormal discharge from your vagina. Many herbal remedies are effective in eradicating the infection of vaginal mucosa. Many of them also have astringent action to reduce the flow of abnormal discharge.
    • Herbs like Pippali are believed to cleanse your body by eliminating infection causing organisms from your body.
    • Herbs like Saraca ashoka, Symplocos racemosa, Cyperus rotundus, Ficus benghalensis, vetiveria zizanioides, Andropogon muricatus and Acacia confusa reduce the vaginal discharge due to their astringent properties.
    • Herbs such as Cimicifuga Racemosa assist in eradication of fungal infection and for reducing inflammation, which is associated with leucorrhoea.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    I'm 12 and haven't had sexual relations and my vaginal discharge is yellow or green. I'm embarrassed to tell my mum. What should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Tell your mum. It's no big deal, it's probably a yeast infection. It's extremely common and nothing to be embarrassed about, just let her know so you can get the medication that will clear it up. The sooner you tell her the better.
  • Question
    What if the discharge is yellow and accompanied by itchiness and pain?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    This is probably a yeast infection, or if you are sexually active, it could be an STI. You should see a doctor.
  • Question
    Is it normal to have a lot of discharge?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Vaginal discharge is normal. The amount depends on the person. If the discharge is an unusual color or has an unusual odor, see your doctor.
  • Question
    What should it smell like?
    Top Answerer
    Musky and sweaty. Not overpowering.
  • Question
    I've had discharge for years and have seen many doctors. I still have it. What's going on?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Discharge is normal! If your doctors say nothing is wrong, then it is very likely that the discharge is completely normal.
  • Question
    I have lots of discharge and I'm 13. I still haven't had my period. It's the normal color, but how do I stop it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It is completely normal to have lots of discharge before your period starts. Discharge helps clean your vagina and keeps it from getting dry. You can wear panty liners if the discharge bothers you, but there is no way to stop it, and you wouldn't want to, it's necessary for the health of your vagina.
  • Question
    Does a hairy vagina stop discharge?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, the amount of hair doesn't affect the amount of discharge. There's no correlation.
  • Question
    Should it normally have a smell?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It depends on what the "smell" is. Some odor is normal for vaginal discharge. However, if it smells rank or distasteful, a visit your doctor for a check-up.
  • Question
    Why does my vagina smell for no reason?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It would not smell for "no reason", so it does suggest infection or an overgrowth of bacteria. Having sex, wearing tampons, or even living in a hot or humid climate can make the area have an odor. Talk to your doctor or follow the tips mentioned above in treating/preventing the problem.
  • Question
    I have a clear-ish discharge and a strong odor. Is that bad?
    Top Answerer
    Not at all. This may be your "normal."
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
  • Don't be scared that the smell will make your friends think you're a smelly person. Because you're not. It's just something that happens to all of us.
  • If you start to notice a difference in color or smell, try changing your diet, drink more water add vitamins to your daily routine. If that doesn’t work see your doctor. I suggest going with your mother. At your lowest moments she will help you and it will boost your relationship.
  • You might want to wear panty liners to prevent staining your underwear.


  • Don't let embarrassing vaginal discharge cause you to start using vaginal deodorants or sprays. These will only make the symptoms worse because you will continue to throw off the pH balance in that area.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article Info


In other languages:

Español: , Português: , 中文: , Français: , Deutsch: , Русский: , Italiano: , Čeština: , 日本語: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Nederlands: , हिन्दी: , Tiếng Việt: , العربية: , 한국어: , ไทย: , Türkçe: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 3,362,924 times.
Did this article help you?
of readers found this articlehelpful.
4,255 votes - 85%
Click a star to add your vote
85% of people told us that this article helped them.
Views: 3,362,924

Lindiwe Precious

Jul 14

"This article helped me a lot, now I know better about good and bad discharge."


Jun 21

"How to prevent and control bacterial infection."


Apr 19

"It helped to know how to deal with it while you have it."

Jess Walker

Jul 5, 2019

"I had no idea that panty liners could make things worse. Mine is normal. I get a lot, but it got worse after Istarted having periods and I just got into the habit of using them. It's nice to know that I'm not gross or doing something wrong and I'm normal."

Sydney Catchings

Aug 26, 2019

"I used to use the scented panty liners because I couldn't find anything else. Then one day this organic panty linercame on the shelves. It's all-cotton and all-natural! It has helped me so much, turns out they were cheaper than what I was buying, too. "
Rated this article:


Sep 22, 2019

"The tips on how to clean the vagina naturally really helped a lot, and I also got a chance to differentiate betweenthe natural discharge and a discharge which might be an infection. It's my first time to learn that it's best to sleep without underwear."


Mar 26

"I'm very confused. The past few weeks I realized that there's something wrong in my discharge. It's became heavierand yellowish in color and does not smell nice. I'm finding a better solution to cure it in the right way. Thanks for helping me."


Jul 9, 2019

"Air yourself out. Sleep naked or walk around the house naked without pants or underwear, as the air will help keepone's skin from becoming irritated, thereby decreasing opportunities for infection, and can also help treat infection itself."


Jun 21, 2019

"If you find yourself in a situation where someone may see your underwear (if you know what I mean), do that moveyou see in movies and say you need to slip into something more comfortable. Take your panty liner off, and you're good to go!"


Oct 21, 2019

"I have this discharge problem with a fishy smell. Reading through this article helped me find out that theover-stressed life is problematic to my private parts as well. I tried doing few exercises and meditation, which worked. Thanks."


Jan 25

"The section for how to treat normal discharge was very helpful. I've been experiencing discharge for a while nowand have always used pantyliners, but now I know that maybe it isn't the best idea to use them all the time."


Apr 12, 2019

"The use of pads or pantyliner's was a great help. I normally buy the scented ones and I could feel the discomforteveryday until trying the unscented ones and it works wonders. Thank you for your help. Much appreciated."

Monica West

Nov 10, 2019

"It stood out to me that it went step by step and expanded meaning to what is trying to be explained. Thank you forall the tips! They helped me to be more mindful and careful about how to deal with the situation."


Sep 1, 2019

"I didn't know that a little smell was normal. Sometimes I smell it when I'm just sitting down at my desk at school,and I feel like if I smell it, someone else can too. I'll try the pantyliner. "


Jan 18, 2019

"My discharge seemed to be a bit smelly and yellowy-white. The tips like airing yourself out and changing undiesbecause your body is trying to get the stuff AWAY from you solved my problems!"

Shelby Bendel

Dec 14, 2019

"I'm 10 and got my first time about an hour ago! My mother said its healthy and I'm growing into a young woman!Thanks wikiHow for helping me control my fear and all! Thank you!!"

Suraiya umar

Aug 23, 2019

"It helps me a lot because I just experienced pain and itch around my vagina and vulva tonight and was afraid.Didn't know what to do, so I just log in here and I'm very happy. "


Oct 25, 2019

"The step-by-step description of the topic along with explanations and a few tips have cleared my doubts and easedmy mind. As close as having met a doctor. Thank you, wikiHow!"

Samantha Kelly

Jun 23, 2019

"Identifying the different types of discharge and knowing not to wash inside the vagina is helpful. I think that iswhat's causing me to discharge."


Jun 23, 2019

"Literally every tip was super in helping me find out which type of issue I had. Thanks a lot, so appreciated.Literally had no one to ask."


Feb 28, 2019

"All the various related topics were helpful. You really never really know what you are looking for until you comeacross it. Thank you. "


Jan 25, 2019

"I live in a hot climate and I've always had a lot of discharge, I thought something was wrong with me. This wasvery helpful. Thank you."

Sayli Su

Jul 2, 2019

"I, too, have a discharge during the day. I get too irritated with it, but now this information helps me know whatit should be exactly."
Rated this article:

Erica Gandhi

Oct 19, 2019

"The most useful thing was that we should use pads only in most rare cases, and my discharge is normal according tothe above article."

Sarah Baker

Sep 14, 2019

"The 10 tips helped me the most. I hate having smelly discharge. At first I thought it was normal, this articlehelped me a lot."


Nov 9, 2019

"OMG, this helped so much! I'm only 13 and haven't told my mom because I was embarrassed, but now I know I'm not theonly one."
Rated this article:

Charlotte Farr

Jun 6, 2019

"Using baby wipes, changing your underwear, using pads or pantyliners, and airing yourself out. These tips are veryhelpful."


Aug 23, 2019

"Thanks! This helped! I will probably use the pad idea.

Video: What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge

How to Control Vaginal Discharge
How to Control Vaginal Discharge images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Control Vaginal Discharge pictures

How to Control Vaginal Discharge forecast
How to Control Vaginal Discharge advise photo

How to Control Vaginal Discharge photo
How to Control Vaginal Discharge pics

How to Control Vaginal Discharge How to Control Vaginal Discharge new pics
How to Control Vaginal Discharge new picture

picture How to Control Vaginal Discharge
images How to Control Vaginal Discharge

Watch How to Control Vaginal Discharge video
Watch How to Control Vaginal Discharge video

Communication on this topic: How to Control Vaginal Discharge, how-to-control-vaginal-discharge/
Forum on this topic: How to Control Vaginal Discharge, how-to-control-vaginal-discharge/ , how-to-control-vaginal-discharge/

Related News

This 20-Minute Workout Will Help You Lose Weight—No Gym Required
10 Stylish (Yes, Stylish) Breastfeeding Clothes to Keep You Chic and Concealed
Chicken Meatball Soup with Kale
Expectant Moms Flu Shot Protects 2
The 7 Brushes That Should Be In Your Makeup BrushSet
Who Knew That Having Brows Like a Boy Was a GoodThing
NYFW day 4 hair and beauty trends round-up
35 So-Pretty Eye Makeup Ideas to TryNow
Julia Roberts Has the Perfect Response to People Who Ask Her What Being 50 Is Really Like
Sittin’, Talkin’

Date: 06.12.2018, 17:00 / Views: 51432