Have you ever sat down to go to the bathroom, looked at your underwear and thought, “Is that normal?”
Vaginal discharge is common and actually beneficial for your body. But depending on the color and smell, it may point to an infection or other health issue that needs to be resolved.
Normal vaginal discharge is a healthy bodily function, and it’s your body’s way of cleaning and protecting the vagina. It’s normal for discharge to increase with exercise, sexual arousal, ovulation, birth control pill use, and emotional stress.
Here are some causes of vaginal discharge and what they can mean:
- Dark red or brown – This type of discharge is very common right before or after your menstrual cycle.
- Yellow or green (with a bad odor) – This can mean you have an STI or bacterial infection, especially if you also experience pelvic pain, itching or problems with urinary incontinence.
- White – Some white discharge is normal, but if it’s thick and chunky, you may have a yeast infection. If it smells fishy, you could have a common bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis.
If you have questions or concerns about your vaginal discharge, don’t hesitate to contact your gynecologist.