Your Vee-Jay can tell you a lot about your health — especially when it comes to discharge, which can signify everything from normal cycles to major health issues, like STDs or other infections. Always ask your healthcare provider if something doesn’t look right to you, but here are a few of the most common kinds, according to doctors.
1. Yellow or Greenish Yellow
This most often means trichomoniasis or gonorrhea, both of which are STDs that require medical treatment. (More on this in a bit, but if it’s greenish and frothy it might be something else, but you should still see your doctor.) Also keep in mind that chlamydia can cause a discharge like this, but frequently it has no symptoms at all — so just because you don’t have a discharge doesn’t mean you don’t have it.
2. Brown Discharge
Brown discharge may be caused by irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a provider to be evaluated. This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. Additionally, during menopause, a woman should not have any type of vaginal bleeding, which is also a sign of uterine cancer.
3. White and Creamy
Don’t freak out. A few days or a week before your period, you may get a thicker, creamier discharge. “Discharge is almost like tears to the eyes or saliva to the mouth, where it’s helpful to the cleaning process,” explains Dr. Sherry A. Ross, an OB/GYN and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period. “Depending on the time of the month, it’s going to change consistency and texture.”
4. Green Discharge
Having a green discharge is not normal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis. Anyone experiencing green discharge should see her provider. If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, you’ll be placed on antibiotics.
5. Yeast Infection Discharge
Yeast infection discharge is caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection discharge include a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, along with itching, redness, irritation, and burning. Roughly 90 percent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life. Yeast infections are not contagious, and over-the-counter antifungal creams are available for a patient to use. But, if symptoms don’t improve with treatment or she has more than four yeast infections in a year, she should see her provider.