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Change in vaginal discharge: What it means

If you notice that your vaginal discharge changes in smell, appearance, and texture, this might indicate that you have an underlying condition. You might also notice spotting or bleeding that definitely isn’t your menstrual period.

The cause

Vaginal discharge keeps the vagina healthy, and its appearance can change a little bit over the course of a woman’s cycle. However, some changes might indicate an infection. Yeast infections usually cause white, cottage cheese-like discharge. Bacterial vaginosis commonly causes fishy-smelling discharge that is gray, white, or yellow in color. Frothy, foamy, and yellow, green, or gray-colored discharge might indicate the presence of trichomoniasis.


Any time you experience a noticeable change in the amount, color, or smell of vaginal discharge, it’s worth calling your healthcare provider, especially if this change is accompanied by itching, irritation, or burning of the area in or around your vagina. This is also true if you notice blood when you’re not menstruating.

  • “Vaginal discharge: What’s normal, what’s not.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, Oct 2013. Web.
  • “Vaginal discharge.” FamilyDoctor. American Academy of Family Physicians, Apr 2014. Web.

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