- What Is Yellow Discharge?
- When to See the Doctor
What is yellow discharge?
Discharge is vital to keeping your vagina moist. It creates the right balance between the naturally occurring bacteria and yeast that are always present in your vagina.
Healthy discharge is generally clear, watery, pale yellow, or white. It doesn’t have an intense smell or strong color.
The amount and color of discharge will typically vary depending on where you are in your cycle. It’s the heaviest close to ovulation and increases with sexual arousal.
Vaginal discharge is affected by many different factors, such as:
- Scented soaps or bubble bath
If you notice a yellow discharge, you’ll want to pay attention to your body and check for other symptoms.
Signs of yellow discharge
Yellow discharge can be anywhere from light yellow to a darker yellow-greenish. It’s noticeable in your underwear or on toilet paper after using the bathroom.
A pale yellow without any odor is considered normal.
Causes of yellow discharge
The causes of yellow discharge may or may not be a sign of infection.
You’ll need to check to see if you have any other symptoms in addition to the discharge. The amount, smell, and timing of the discharge can help you determine the cause. There are several possible causes, including:
Thin yellow discharge near the time you start your period is common. The yellow is due to early menstrual blood mixed with regular mucus discharge.
Thick yellow discharge can be an early sign of pregnancy.
Vaginitis is another cause of yellow discharge.
Vaginitis is an irritation or inflammation in the lining of your vagina. This can produce redness, odor, and pain.
Poor hygiene that allows fecal bacteria to spread to the vulva is another major source of infections.
Infections that cause vaginitis are not always sexually transmitted. However, all sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginitis.
The most common infections that cause vaginitis are yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
It’s important to be aware of your body and what’s normal for you in order to evaluate any new symptoms.
Yeast infection symptoms include:
Bacterial vaginosis symptoms include:
- White, gray, or yellow discharge
- Burning and itching
- Fishy odor
Sexually transmitted disease
These STDs don’t always have symptoms. It’s possible to have them and be asymptomatic or to have only some of the symptoms but not all of them.
Gonorrhea symptoms include:
- Yellowish to green, slightly creamy discharge
- Sharp pain in the stomach
- Burning during intercourse and while urinating
Chlamydia symptoms include:
- Abnormal yellow to green discharge
- Burning during intercourse and while urinating
- Yellowish to greenish watery discharge
- Unpleasant smell
- Mild discomfort or pain while urinating
When to see the doctor for yellow discharge
You should see your doctor if you have yellow discharge and it:
- Changes color
- Smells foul or fishy
- Feels sore or itchy
- Causes you any pain in the pelvic area, especially when urinating
Diagnosis for yellow discharge
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose the medical issue that your yellow discharge may be a symptom of.
Your doctor will do a pelvic exam to diagnose the cause of the yellow discharge. During a pelvic exam, your doctor will take a sample of your discharge that will be screened for infections. If you’re sexually active, they will also determine whether you have any sexually transmitted diseases.
It’s essential not to use any spermicide or douche before the pelvic exam to ensure you have an accurate sample.
Treatments for yellow discharge
Once your doctor diagnoses the medical reason for your yellow discharge, it can be treated relatively quickly in most cases. Treatment is typically a topical cream or gel, or antibiotic, but it will depend on the specific cause.
If a sexually transmitted disease is the cause, your doctor will advise you to have your partner treated as well. Both you and your partner must be treated to keep you from passing it back and forth to each other.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Academy of Family Physicians: "Vaginal Discharge."
Associated Women’s Health Specialists P.C.: "Vaginitis."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Chlamydia."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Gonorrhea."
Healthdirect: "Vaginal discharge."
Merck Manual: "Vaginal Discharge."
National Health Service: "Vaginal discharge."
Top Causes of Yellow Discharge and What Does It Mean Related Articles
How Can I Treat Vaginitis at Home?What Is Vaginitis? Learn whether you need antibiotics and what other treatments can help to relieve your symptoms.
How Do You Get Vaginitis?Vaginitis is a condition where the vaginal walls become inflamed and infected. Learn how vaginitis happens, how vaginitis is diagnosed, and what is done to treat vaginitis.
What Does It Mean If I’m Having a Lot of Vaginal Discharge?It's normal for women to have some amount of vaginal discharge. Learn more about what it can mean if you have more vaginal discharge than usual or if your discharge has an unusual appearance.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs)Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Vaginitis (Inflammation of the Vagina)Vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis can be caused by infections, menopause, or poor hygiene. Symptoms of vaginitis include vaginal itching, discharge, odor, pain, or discomfort. Treatment for vaginitis depends on the cause. Antibiotics may be necessary for some forms of vaginitis.
What Does Yellow Discharge Mean?The vaginal discharge is the fluid secreted from the uterus, cervix (neck of the uterus) and vagina. A thick yellow vaginal discharge may point to vaginitis (infection of the vagina)
What To Know About Vaginal Discharge?Any fluid that comes from the vagina is called a vaginal discharge. Generally, some discharge from the vagina is a part of body secretions. A normal vaginal discharge is without foul smell and not accompanied with itching.