Vaginal Discharge

At puberty, the vagina begins to produce discharge. This discharge is normal. It is mostly water and also contains microorganisms. The discharge naturally keeps the genital area clean and healthy by removing dead cells from the lining of the vagina. The amount and makeup of normal discharge changes throughout the menstrual cycle.

Normal vaginal discharge is clear to white and does not have an odor. Signs of abnormal discharge include a change in the color, odor, amount, or consistency from what is usual for you. A certain amount of vaginal odor is normal. If the odor is strong and noticeable, an infection or other problem may be the cause. Sprays, deodorants, and douches are not recommended and may make things worse.

Estrogen helps keep the vaginal lining thick and supple and encourages the growth of lactobacilli. These bacteria make a substance that keeps the vagina slightly acidic. The acidity protects the vagina from harmful, disease-causing microorganisms. Yeast also may be present in the healthy vagina. The natural acidity of the vagina helps keep yeast and other microorganisms from growing out of control.

A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina. This can result from lubricants, spermicides, taking antibiotics or pregnancy. The most common symptoms are itching and burning of the vulva. 

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria that normally live in the vagina. The main symptom is increased discharge with a strong odor often described as “fishy.” 

Please visit the following links for more information provided curtesy of

Vaginitis FAQs

Vulvovaginal Health FAQs

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