What color is your vaginal discharge?

Discharge is an important factor in your overall vaginal health. The glands inside your vagina and cervix produce a fluid that plays several roles in the female reproductive system: it washes away debris, dead cells and microorganisms; it helps prevent and fight infections; and it lubricates the vagina.

The amount, consistency, smell and color of discharge are very individual and can vary throughout your menstrual cycle, while breastfeeding, during pregnancy or when you are sexually aroused. By getting to know your body well, you will be able to recognise what are normal and acceptable characteristics of discharge that cause no reason for panic.


For example, you may notice a slight change in smell if you are pregnant or an increased amount of discharge while you’re ovulating. On the other hand, any unusual change of color, consistency, amount or smell may indicate that an infection is developing – especially if other symptoms, such as itching, burning or pain, are present as well.


"The amount, consistency, smell and colour of discharge are very individual and can vary throughout your menstrual cycle, while breastfeeding, during pregnancy or when you are sexually aroused. "


Understanding your discharge


Changes in the appearance of your discharge can indicate that it is time to seek advice from your gynaecologist – take a look at the table below so that you can learn how to recognise the most characteristic changes and their causes.

Color of dischargeConsistencyAccompanying symptomsPossible causes
Clear, white or white-ish, pale yellowThin or thick, sticky, elasticNo other symptomsNormal discharge
WhiteThick and cheesy (like cottage cheese)Swollen vulva, pain – especially during sexual intercourse, itching, burning, white residues that cannot be wiped offYeast infection
White, grey or yellowThick or thinFishy odour, itching, burning, swollen vulva, redness and irritationBacterial vaginosis
Yellow or cloudyCan be of different consistencyPain in the pelvic region, vaginal bleeding or spotting in between periods, urinary incontinenceGonorrhea
Yellow or greenishBubbly, foamyStrong odour, itching, pain while urinatingTrichomoniasis
Brown or with traces of bloodCan be of different consistencyPain in the pelvic region, vaginal bleeding or spotting in between periodsIrregular periods. Brownish discharge can also appear at the beginning of your menstrual bleeding or at the very end.
PinkCan be of different consistencyNo other symptomsIf you recently had a baby, this is most likely the uterine lining shedding – normal occurrence after the delivery

If you notice any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above or other unusual symptoms, do consult your gynaecologist as soon as possible.