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Vaginal Discharge (cont.)

5 Signs and Symptoms of Causes of Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge may range in color from clear to gray, yellow, greenish, or milky-white and may have an unpleasant smell. The symptoms and character of vaginal discharge depend upon the specific condition that is the cause of the discharge.

  1. Bacterial vaginosis: Not all women with bacterial vaginosis will have symptoms, but bacterial vaginosis typically produces a discharge that is thin and grayish-white in color. It is usually accompanied by a foul, fishy smell.
  2. Trichomonas: Trichomonas infection produces a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor. Associated symptoms can include discomfort during intercourse and urination, as well as irritation and itching of the female genital area.
  3. Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea may be not produce symptoms in up to half of infected women, but it can also cause burning with urination or frequent urination, a yellowish vaginal discharge, redness and swelling of the genitals, and a burning or itching of the vaginal area.
  4. Chlamydia: Like gonorrhea, Chlamydia infection may not produce symptoms in many women. Others may experience increased vaginal discharge as well as the symptoms of a urinary tract infection if the urethra is involved.
  5. Vaginal yeast infection: A vaginal yeast infection is usually associated with a thick, white vaginal discharge that may have the texture of cottage cheese. The discharge is generally odorless. Other symptoms can include burning, soreness, and pain during urination or sexual intercourse.

What kind of doctor treats vaginal infections?

Vaginal discharge can be treated by primary care physicians such as family practitioners or pediatricians as well as internal medicine doctors and gynecologists.

When should you seek medical care for a vaginal discharge?

It is appropriate to seek medical care any time you have a change in the character (color, odor, consistency) or amount of vaginal discharge or if you have other symptoms such as pain, burning, or itching of the vaginal area.

How are the causes of a vaginal discharge diagnosed?

After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, the health-care professional will likely perform a pelvic examination, which includes examination of the external genital area and the insertion of a speculum to examine the vaginal walls and cervix.

Depending upon the examination, the health-care professional may take swabs of the vaginal discharge for culture or for examination under a microscope to help define the cause of the vaginal discharge.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/13/2015

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