What does green vaginal discharge mean? And, is it a cause for due concern? Keep on reading our complete guide packed with information to find out.
An Introduction to Green Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is entirely normal among women, and it’s often caused by fluctuating hormones during your cycle. For example, many people have some discharge around ovulation, and then also right before their period when progesterone spikes.
However, green discharge is not a normal occurrence, and does require medical treatment. It’s often frothy in appearance at the beginning of an infection, but then appears yellow, light green, and then green and thicker.
Keep on reading to find out more about the causes, treatment options and complications with green vaginal discharge.
Light Green Discharge Causes
There are only a few reasons why you may experience green discharge without odour. Some of them are serious diseases, while others are as simple as using the wrong feminine hygiene product. In some cases discharge may be caused by sexually transmitted infections. If you suspect that you may have contracted an STD (sexually transmitted disease), you can find out by using an at home STD test, these are widely available online at affordable prices. We’ll give you some more information about each of these types of problems.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Objects left in the vagina
- Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Soaps, douches or other hygiene products
- Cervical Cancer
Read more details about each of these problems and why a woman might have discharge that is green in color.
Cause #1: Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas) Infection
Trichomoniasis is the most common reason why you might have green vaginal discharge issues. It’s commonly known as “trich,” and is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s caused by the parasite, trichomoniasis vaginalis.
Only about 30% of people with this infection will show symptoms of it. It affects almost 4 million people in the US each year.
Even if you’re not showing symptoms, you can pass Trich onto somebody else during sex, so protection is always recommended. This is particularly true if you have multiple, or new partners.
Along with discharge, you may also experience: odor, itching, burning, and vaginal bleeding. Discharge from Trich often appears to be yellow-green, instead of only green.
The good news is that Trichomoniasis is easy to treat, and there’s a 100% cure rate within a week or two. It does require a visit to the doctor however, as there are no known home remedies.
If Trichomoniasis is suspected, your doctor will take a sample and send it to the lab for diagnosis. If confirmed, antibiotics is the treatment of choice. The most commonly prescribed ones are: metronidazole or tinidazole.
It’s often recommended that you abstain from sex for the course of treatment. Your partner may also be tested and/or treated for trich in order to prevent reinfection.
When you have an outbreak of Trich, your genitals will be inflamed, which makes it easier to contract HIV, and other STI’s. That’s why treatment is recommended as soon as possible.
Cause #2: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The second reason why you may have green discharge is because of PID. It’s an infection of the female genital structures like the fallopian tubes or uterus. It’s often caused by Gonorrhoeae or Trachomatis.
Along with abnormal discharge, you’ll also have fever and abdominal pain, as you would with any infection.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease does require a visit to the doctor.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Treatment
For PID, antibiotics are also the treatment of choice. Your partner will also likely be treated as well in order to minimize the changes of reinfection.
Abstinence may be recommended temporarily until the infection has cleared.
In very serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
Cause #3: Objects Left in the Vagina
If you accidentally leave something in your vagina for too long, you may have abnormal and increased amount of discharge (green?) as a result of it. For example, a menstrual cup, tampon, condom, etc.
You’ll also notice a foul-smelling odor along with it.
Foreign Object in Vagina Treatment
Your doctor will immediately remove the foreign object that’s been left in your vagina. Besides that, they may prescribe some antibiotics in order to treat, or prevent any infections.
Cause #4: Gonorrhoea (Gonorrhea) or Chlamydia
Green vaginal discharge is commonly found with these two STIs/STDs. It’s also quite common for them to be present, along with Trichomoniasis.
You can get Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia through unprotected sex, so protection is always recommended, even if you’re on birth control pills on an IUD.
Many people with these two STI’s don’t experience any symptoms. However, when you do, it may include the following:
- Unusually coloured discharge (green, white, yellow). It’s often “cloudy” with these two STI’s.
- Pain when urinating
- Painful sex
- Spotting between periods
When left untreated, these two STIs can result in some more serious things, including Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can damage your reproductive organs, and even make it difficult for you to get pregnant later.
Like Trichomoniasis, a visit to the doctor is required for a suspected Gonorrhoea infection. You’ll usually be given antibiotics, either by injection and/or orally. Remember to take your entire dose of antibiotics to reduce your risk of reinfection.
Gonorrhoea is diagnosed with a simple swab test for women, and urine test for men.
Your doctor will probably take a swab in order to diagnose this infection. It’s taken from the urethra in men, and the cervix in women. There are also some tests that use a urine sample.
Antibiotics are the treatment of choice, and your partner will be treated as well to reduce your chance of reinfection. Even if your symptoms start to clear up, remember to take your full course of antibiotics.
Cause #5: Bacterial Vaginosis
BV is another reason why you may have unusually coloured discharge. It’s often grey-white, but it can also appear to be yellow-green. About 23% of people diagnosed with BV have green vaginal discharge so they are closely related.
It’s similar to a yeast infection, but instead of an overgrowth in yeast, it’s caused by bacteria that are out of control. The giveaway for this one is a strong, fishy odour to your discharge.
Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment
If your doctor suspects that you have BV, they may take a sample of your vaginal secretions and look at them under a microscope.
They may also take a sample and test the pH of it. 4.5 or higher is a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, either orally or a topical treatment that’s inserted into your vagina.
Cause #6: Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis (DIV)
This is a rare condition that results in chronic discharge and soreness in the vaginal area. The vaginal discharge is usually yellow, or greenish-yellow with DIV. Because it’s so rare, many people go years without a proper diagnosis.
It’s painful almost every time you try to have penetrative sex with DIV, and it’s most common in women after menopause. A trigger for it may be a lack of estrogen, hence why it could be most common in women who’ve gone through menopause. It’s not an STI/STD, nor is it associated with something like cancer.
The inner surface of the labia may have purple spots on them that look red and raw. These are actually blood spots.
Doctors most often diagnose Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis by ruling out all the other conditions that can cause an inflamed vagina.
Treatment usually involves antibiotic ointment in the vagina, along with a mild cortisone treatment. This cures the vast majority of people with this condition.
Cause #7: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
It’s possible to get a urinary tract infection at any time, although it’s more likely during pregnancy. This is because the uterus gets larger, and presses on the ureters which can cause urine to collect in the bladder.
Green discharge, along with a foul odour or burning sensation when peeing are common symptoms of an UTI.
Schedule an appointment with your general physician if you suspect that you have an UTI. The most common treatment option is antibiotics.
Cause #8: Sprays, Soaps and Hygiene Projects
You may be tempted to treat abnormal discharge with something like a douche in order to cut down on the odor and amount of it. However, resist this temptation! They’re in fact the source of many problems.
Sprays and douches or vaginal soaps can disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina and lead to some unusual discharge as a result of something like a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis
It’s recommended that you stay away from vaginal soaps or any sort of feminine sprays, etc. The only thing you really need to clean the area around your vagina is water. Take regular showers and you’ll be fine.
Cause #9: Cervical Cancer
One of the symptoms of cancer of the cervix is unusual vaginal discharge. If often smells bad, and can be watery, or appear brown because it’s mixed with blood.
Although it’s usually not green, it’s worth noting that abnormal discharge is a reason to visit a medical professional. It can be a sign of this very serious problem.
Along with this discharge, you may also notice unusual bleeding, pain during intercourse, pelvic or lower back pain, loss of appetite, or unexplained weight loss. A variety of unusual things can occur if you have this type of cancer, so please be aware.
Prevention is key, which is why you should schedule regular pap tests, or consider the HPV vaccine if you’re eligible.
Beyond that, treatment is much the same as for other types of cancers. Your doctor will help you decide the best course of action.
Learn more about Unusual Vaginal Discharge
Green Discharge Treatment
The treatment for green discharge will depend on the suspected cause.
However, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you have green discharge, along with a high fever, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, confusion, severe nausea/vomiting, or a weak pulse.
Trichomoniasis vs Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms
These are the two most common reasons why someone might have green vaginal discharge. Here are the differences between this STI (Trich) and vaginal infection (BV):
- Itching, redness around, or in the vagina
- Vaginal odour, but not necessarily “fishy”
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain when urinating
- Most often white-gray discharge, but can be yellow-green as well
- Fishy smell
- Itching or burning around the vagina
I’m Pregnant and Have Green Discharge
Green discharge while pregnant is not a normal thing. If you’re experiencing this, you should seek treatment from your doctor.
It’s likely that you have an infection of some kind (STI, or UTI), and will probably require antibiotics. Be sure to mention that you’re pregnant to your doctor so they can prescribe you ones that are safe for your body, as well as your baby.
Green Secretions: Sign of an UTI?
One common thing that can happen during pregnancy is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). As the uterus expands, it restricts the urethra which can result in having to go the bathroom all the time. Trying to “hold it” and avoid this is what can cause an UTI.
What happens is that bacteria grow in your urinary tract, and can cause some green secretion, which you might mistake for green vaginal discharge. It’s most treated with antibiotics, but of course, using antibiotics during pregnancy is sometimes tricky.
If you have any sort of green discharge, or secretion during pregnancy, please consult with your doctor. They’ll be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and then provide you with the treatment available to you.
How to Handle Green Vaginal Discharge?
As you can see from the recommended treatment, green discharge without odour, or with an odour is never something to treat yourself. It can develop into more serious things like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
In almost all cases, you’ll require a trip to the doctor. They’ll usually take a swab of some kind, send it to the lab, and then recommend some antibiotics for treatment.
Treatment will often involve your sexual partner(s) as well in order to reduce your chance of reinfection.
You could also use pantyliners during this time to deal with the excess discharge. However, this is just a “band-aid” solution and will do nothing to address the underlying problem. Most experts actually recommend using pantyliners sparingly because they can actually lead to an increase in certain vaginal infections.
See your doctor for treatment, okay? Okay! Proper diagnosis is the key for proper treatment, and it’s hard for an “Internet warrior” to do this in most cases. It really is important and not something to be taken lightly.
How To Prevent Green Discharge?
Okay, so you’ve had a bout of green vaginal discharge, and you’re now hoping to prevent this form happening again in the future!
This problem is often caused by STI’s (STDs), so it’s recommended that you always have protected sex. Use a condom! This is true even if you’re on birth control or have an IUD. These things will only prevent pregnancy, and not sexually transmitted infections.
Beyond that, practice good vaginal health. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep things clean “down there” by taking regular showers
- Avoid douches, and vaginal soaps.
- Air-flow is good! Use cotton underwear, and don’t wear any underwear at night. Try to minimize your use of pantyliners.
- Stay hydrated, and eat healthy food
- Avoid sugar and alcohol in large quantities
- Consider taking a probiotic (check with your doctor about this)
- Avoid antibiotics when not really necessary. Besides killing the bad bacteria that’s causing illness, they also wipe out all the good bacteria in your vagina and can lead to an increase in things like vaginal infections of various kinds.
- Take care with new, or multiple sexual partners and use condoms.
Perhaps most importantly, just say no to douching!
How Can I Get Rid of Smelly Discharge?
So you have some smelly discharge going on? Probably the most likely explanation is bacterial vaginosis, but there are a number of other things that can cause it.
It’s best to visit your doctor to get some treatment before heading down the home treatment road. This type of discharge is best treated with antibiotics, and of course, a medical professional will be able to give you a proper diagnosis.
Questions your Doctor May ask you About your Vaginal Discharge
- When did you notice a change in your vaginal discharge?
- Have you been pregnant, or are you pregnant now?
- When was the last time you got a pap test?
- Is your vaginal discharge better, or worse than before?
- Does you have constant discharge, or does it come and go?
- How much discharge is there?
- What colour is it? Does it smell bad? Is it chunky?
- Are you sexually active?
- Is it painful when you urinate?
And perhaps the best way to get rid of smelly discharge is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can learn more about it here:
Why Do I Have Discharge Every Day?
It’s quite normal to have varying amounts of vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle. It’s your bodies’ natural way to get rid of old cells and fluid. If it’s clear, watery, white, doesn’t smell and isn’t accompanied by itching or burning, it’s probably nothing to worry about.
That said, if you’re getting enough discharge that you need to wear something like a pantyliner almost every day, something may not be right. Check in with your doctor for some help with this.
For more details, please check out: I Have Discharge Every Day!
Green Discharge: Have your Say!
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Please note: This content is for informational purposes only and should not be regarded as medical advice. If you’re experiencing green discharge, or any other sort of health issue, please visit your doctor for the best advice regarding your specific situation.