How do I treat vaginal discharge & odor?
How to Control Vaginal Discharge
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
QuestionI'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 ContributorCommunity AnswerTell 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.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the discharge is yellow and accompanied by itchiness and pain?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis is probably a yeast infection, or if you are sexually active, it could be an STI. You should see a doctor.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal to have a lot of discharge?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerVaginal discharge is normal. The amount depends on the person. If the discharge is an unusual color or has an unusual odor, see your doctor.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should it smell like?Top AnswererMusky and sweaty. Not overpowering.Thanks!
QuestionI've had discharge for years and have seen many doctors. I still have it. What's going on?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDischarge is normal! If your doctors say nothing is wrong, then it is very likely that the discharge is completely normal.Thanks!
QuestionI 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 ContributorCommunity AnswerIt 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.Thanks!
QuestionDoes a hairy vagina stop discharge?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, the amount of hair doesn't affect the amount of discharge. There's no correlation.Thanks!
QuestionShould it normally have a smell?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt 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.Thanks!
QuestionWhy does my vagina smell for no reason?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt 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.Thanks!
QuestionI have a clear-ish discharge and a strong odor. Is that bad?Top AnswererNot at all. This may be your "normal."Thanks!
- 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.
Sources and Citations
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:
Jul 5, 2019
Aug 26, 2019
Sep 22, 2019
Jul 9, 2019
Jun 21, 2019
Oct 21, 2019
Apr 12, 2019
Nov 10, 2019
Sep 1, 2019
Jan 18, 2019
Dec 14, 2019
Aug 23, 2019
Oct 25, 2019
Jun 23, 2019
Jun 23, 2019
Feb 28, 2019
Jan 25, 2019
Jul 2, 2019
Oct 19, 2019
Sep 14, 2019
Nov 9, 2019
Jun 6, 2019
Aug 23, 2019
Video: What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge
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