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Yellow discharge

Yellow discharge can be pretty disturbing and alarming. It can be triggered by several conditions and could be a symptom of different diseases.

Most women experience vaginal discharge which is just a fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. Regular discharge keeps the vagina clean and helps prevent infection.

Depending on the time of the menstrual cycle, the amount of normal vaginal discharge can vary – being clear milky whitish (is similar to an egg white). The volume of vaginal discharge can increase during ovulation, “hormonal storms” and during breastfeeding. Every woman has very specific vaginal smell which most people cannot feel.

If the volume, color, smell or consistency of vaginal discharge seems significantly unusual, especially if it accompanied by vaginal itching or burning, in most cases it would mean vaginal infection.

Women could experience small amount of yellow discharge before period (premenstrual period). If it was accompanied with other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and disappear after menstrual period, it can be considered normal.

But if you have on-going yellow discharge (especially accompanied with foul odor, itching or irritation), better check possible causes.

Yellow discharge causes

Yellow discharge causes


Cervicitis is the inflammation of cervix. Several sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis) can cause cervicitis with yellow discharge. Bacterial vaginosis also could lead to cervicitis. Some vaginal contraceptive devices (pessary, cervical cap, condoms, spermicides) also could cause cervicitis.

Cervicitis typical symptom include yellow discharge, temporary infertility, vaginal bleeding and pain.


Vulvovaginitis is the unflammation of vagina and vulva – it affects every woman once in their lifetime. It can be triggered by yeast, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Sexually transmitted infections, poor hygiene and allergens can also cause vulvovaginitis.

Vulvovaginitis typical symptoms include yellow discharge, vaginal smell, pain, vaginal dryness, discomfort, itching and irritation in genital region.


Chlamydia is vaginal infection caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is sexually transmitted disease and usually diagnosed in sexually active women – more often in women with several partners.

Chlamydia typical symptoms include yellow discharge, burning sensation during urination, inflammation (mainly Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), infertility, loss of appetite, pain during intercourse.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is pretty common vaginal infection triggered by vaginal bacterial disbalance. The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is fishy vaginal odor which is worsening during menstrual periods or after sex.

Bacterial vaginosis typical symptoms include yellowish or grayish-white or grayish-yellow vaginal discharge, fishy vaginal odor and vaginal irritation.


Gonorrhea is common sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria Neisseria gonorrhea. This infection is transmitted through direct sexual contacts (all types). Usually symptoms appear during 2-5 days after unprotected sexual contacts.

Gonorrhea typical symptoms include green or yellow discharge, burning sensations, fever, mouth lesions, sore throat, painful intercourse and frequent burning urination.


Trichomoniasis is also sexually transmitted infection – usually affecting young sexually active women. It is caused by parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. First symptoms of disease usually appear during 5-28 days after unprotected sexual contacts.

Trichomoniasis typical symptoms include greenish yellow discharge, sometimes frothy vaginal discharge with strong odor, irritation and soreness in the genitals, urination problems, painful intercourse and very typical “Strawberry cervix”.


During pregnancy some women could have yellow discharge without any odor – it could be a result of increased estrogen levels. But if yellow discharge accompanied with irritation, itching or unpleasant odor, then it could be vaginal infection.

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