Discharge: normal, heavy or colored – what does that mean?

Discharge: normal, heavy or colored - what does that mean?

For cleaning, the vagina produces a vaginal secretion, which can become noticeable as a discharge . It contains dead mucous membrane cells, sperm, pathogens and blood. The composition of the discharge can vary, and the amount of discharge varies from woman to woman – it also depends on the time of the cycle. Discharge is a normal bodily reaction, but changes in colour, smell, consistency, and strength can indicate certain diseases.

The average discharge is whitish and odourless.

The discharge from a healthy vagina is whitish and has no odour. Whether the discharge is heavy or only slight varies from woman to woman. It also doesn’t occur to the same extent every day: if you have more or less discharge, you don’t necessarily have to worry.

White discharge from vaginal thrush

Vaginal thrush is one of the most common infections in the intimate area. Infection often presents a heavy, whitish discharge with a crumbly buttermilk-like consistency. Other symptoms such as itching, burning during sex and urination or reddening of the vagina often occur with vaginal thrush. The fungal infection can be treated well by the gynaecologist.

Glassy discharge in genital herpes

If the discharge has a glassy consistency and is very heavy, it may be a genital herpes infection. The herpes simplex virus causes the joint and contagious sexually transmitted disease. In the case of an initial infection, in addition to discharge, other symptoms appear a few days after infection, including redness and swelling of the vagina and vulval lips as well as itching, burning or pain. Shortly after that, the fluid-filled blisters characteristic of herpes develop.

Gray discharge from bacterial vaginosis

A milky-grey-coloured discharge that has a fishy odour indicates bacterial vaginosis. This is a bacterial infection of the vagina. A disruption in the natural flora of the vagina often causes bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms that can occur include itching and pain during sex.

Yellowish crumbly discharge in genital tuberculosis

A sporadic disease is urogenital tuberculosis, which manifests in yellowish discharge with a crumbly consistency. Genital tuberculosis is notifiable and is caused by the tuberculosis pathogen (TB) – but it is a secondary infection since the pathogens reach the genitals via the bloodstream and cause infection there. Previously, the bacteria were inhaled via aerosols, primarily affecting the lungs.

Yellowish sticky discharge in chlamydia

If there is a yellowish discharge with a sticky consistency, it may be an infection with chlamydia – one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Since untreated infertility threatens later, women with such a discharge should consult their gynaecologist in good time. The bacterial infection can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Greenish purulent discharge in gonorrhoea

A yellow discharge with a green tinge can mean a purulent infection with gonococci. The bacteria cause the contagious sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea (gonorrhoea), but it is easily treatable with antibiotics.

Yellow discharge indicates infection.

Yellowish purulent discharge usually occurs in connection with a vaginal infection. A solid odour often accompanies this discharge. For a suitable treatment, the gynaecologist must first determine the pathogen; this is done with a swab from the vagina.

Red-brown discharge

A beginning or ending menstruation often shows up as a red-brownish discharge. In addition, the colour of the discharge can also indicate serious diseases such as a tumour or polyps. Therefore, to be safe, affected women should consult their gynaecologist if this discharge occurs outside menstruation and lasts several days.

Green discharge from trichomonads

Trichomonads are parasites that cause the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis. Typical is a greenish foamy discharge with a thin consistency and a foul odour.

Spotting: Light to dark brown discharge

Spotting is characterized by light brown to dark brown discharge. Spotting can always occur outside of menstruation and is not necessarily a cause for concern. If intermenstrual bleeding occurs more frequently or if you are currently pregnant, you should consult your gynaecologist.

Brownish discharge from foreign bodies

If a foreign body is inserted into the vagina, it can damage the vaginal mucosa. The result is usually a light brownish discharge.


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