What is Yellow Vaginal Discharge?
Vaginal discharge contains a mixture of vaginal secretions as well as cervical mucus. Each woman produces a different amount of vaginal discharge but is normal and healthy. There are also different types of based on consistency and color including white, yellow, brown and clear.
Yellow vaginal discharge is typically caused by menstrual blood that mixes with normal vaginal discharge before or perhaps after your period. It could be normal, but it could also be a sign of hormonal imbalance or an infection.
Sexual health specialist, Dr. Dominic Rowley says that although the presence of yellow discharge alone isn’t something to be concerned over, it is the symptoms that usually indicate whether it should be taken as a cause for concern or not.
Common Causes of Yellow Vaginal Discharge
There are a number of reasons why you may experience yellow discharge. Here are a few of the most common ones.
Short Menstrual Cycle
Menstrual cycles last between 25 to 30 days on average. When you have a short menstrual cycle, you may at times notice a brownish-yellow discharge right after your period. This is when your menstrual blood mixes with your discharge, but should go away on its own after a couple of days.
Please note that a yellow discharge with no odor is normal and should not be a cause for concern. But if you experience an abnormal discharge, which is usually accompanied by a foul odor, unpleasant itching, pain or burning sensations, then you must consult your doctor immediately.
Before a regular menstrual cycle, it is normal to see yellow brownish discharge. At this time, your body produces more cervical fluid to prepare it for ovulation. But sometimes, small amounts of blood may mix with your discharge, giving it a yellowish color as a result. If you witness a discharge like this, there is really no cause for concern and it goes away on its own after a few days.
Bacterial Vaginosis is when the yellow vaginal discharge is produced due to the imbalances of good and bad bacteria that are present in your vagina.
The vaginal cavities usually consist of bacteria known as lactobacillus, which is made specifically to keep harmful disease-riddled bacteria out and make sure everything is balanced. But when bad bacteria builds up, it can alter your discharge, which can lead to a condition known as bacterial vaginosis.
You can also contract bacterial vaginosis through sexual intercourse as well as medication changes and hygiene habits. If you experience such symptoms with each of your periods, then it is apparent that you see your doctor right away. During this time, you should also wear loose cotton underwear.
Learn more here: Your Guide to BV.
Please note: Many people often mistake Bacterial Vaginosis for a yeast infection. A yeast infection usually has clumpy white discharge and can be accompanied by itching and/or burning. Please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Taking certain medications can also produce a yellow vaginal discharge. For instance, antibiotics alter the bacteria of your vagina, which would then cause your discharge to turn yellow in color. Antibiotics may even cause candida and thrush whereas birth control pills and the coil may bring about physiological changes in your discharge. It is only by adjusting the strength of your medications can you avoid these symptoms.
It is worth considering that none of these issues can be properly diagnosed without a thorough examination and laboratory testing by a certified doctor.
Dr. Rowley advises that when you meet with your doctor, be sure to be clear on the type of symptoms you notice or experience.
During pregnancy, it’s normal to have an increased amount of vaginal discharge. This is caused by an increase in the hormone estrogen, as well as increased blood flow in the area around the cervix. This will start during the first trimester and increase as time goes on.
You can learn more here: Yellow Discharge and Pregnancy.
Causes of Yellow Discharge
Other Causes of Yellow Vaginal Discharge
There are some more serious reasons why you may experience an increase in vaginal discharge. They include the following:
This is a disease that is caused by the contraction of parasites known as Trichomonas vaginalis, due to sexual contact with a person who has the disease. For many, trichomoniasis does not have any symptoms as 70% of those who have the disease usually do not show any signs of it. As for others, they may notice some symptoms such as a yellowish-green foul-smell in their discharge, which is usually between 5 to 28 days before they contract trichomoniasis.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
This is an infection of the female reproductive organs which is usually contracted via sexual contact. Though not common, it is possible to contract the pelvic inflammatory disease if the cervix’s barrier has been damaged after giving birth, miscarriage or while having an abortion.
Typically, the main cause of PID is an untreated sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. What’s worse is that PID could lead to the development of scar tissue that could result in numerous abscesses growing along your fallopian tubes.
PID usually has no symptoms, but some women often report experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge (yellow, green brown) as well as pelvic or abdominal pain. If you notice of its symptoms, get yourself treated right away because if you don’t, it can cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs and also lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and ovarian cysts.
When’s The Right Time To See Your Doctor about Vaginal Discharge
You should visit your doctor if or when you feel any kind of discomfort along with an abnormal discharge. He adds that you should especially see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Any kind of foul smell with your discharge
- Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
- Unusually heavy periods or abnormal bleeding
- Bleeding or pain during sexual intercourse
- Chills or fever
- A burning sensation when urinating
- If you’re presently pregnant or are going to be
- A recent history of unprotected sex
As soon as you’ve identified the cause of your condition, be sure to inform your doctor about it immediately so you can follow the appropriate treatment plan for it. If you have doubts what the first doctor has recommended, be sure to get a second opinion of another highly qualified doctor just in case.
And just because you are not showing any additional symptoms, doesn’t mean you do not have an STD. If you suspect that you may have contracted an STD, then you may want to consider using an at-home-STD test, which is used for testing the most common types of STDs.
Treatment for Yellow Discharge
There are a number of situations in which some yellow vaginal discharge is entirely normal, including pregnancy and throughout the menstrual cycle. However, there are a number of situation in which vaginal discharge can signal that something is wrong.
Treatment for yellow discharge depends on whether or not there actually is a problem, and then on the underlying cause of it. Please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and the treatment options available to you.
How to Prevent Problems with Vaginal Discharge?
Please remember than some amount of vaginal secretions is totally normal. As long as it’s not an excessive amount, a strange color (green for example), clumpy, doesn’t smell bad or itch/burn, then it’s usually not a problem.
That said, there are a number of things you can do to help improve your overall vaginal health and prevent any kind of problems from occurring.
Have Protected Sex
If you’re having sex, make sure to use a condom in order to prevent the spread of STI’s. Sexually transmitted infections, especially when untreated can lead to all sorts of more serious problems. One of the first signs that you may have one is you’ll notice unusual discharge.
Practice Good Hygiene
Take regular showers to prevent vaginal infections. However, don’t be “too clean.” Avoid things like douches, vaginal soaps, feminine sprays or deodorizers, etc. These kinds of things can throw off the pH balance of your vagina and lead to things like yeast infections or BV.
Air it Out
Your vagina likes to have some air circulation going on! Wear cotton underwear, change out of sweaty workout gear, avoid tight-fitting pants and shorts, and sleep without underwear under your PJ’s.
Remember, bacteria and yeast like to grow in warm, moist environments.
Maintain Good Overall Health
Drink lots of water, get enough sleep and eat your fruits and veggies. This will help all the systems in your body to run optimally.
Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy Vagina
How to Deal with Vaginal Discharge?
Okay, so you’ve got the vaginal discharge thing going on, and now you’re wondering how to deal with it in style. There are a few different options you might want to consider.
See Your Doctor
If you have an excessive amount of vaginal discharge all the time, then you might want to consider seeing your doctor. There may be an underlying cause, and treatment option for this.
Reusable Cloth Pantyliners
The next thing you could consider for dealing with vaginal discharge issues are some reusable cloth pantyliners. They’re a cheaper, more eco-friendly alternative to disposables and many people find them more comfortable as well. You can check out some or our top picks here:
Best Cloth Pantyliners
|Best Overall||Most Affordable||Best Organic|
|Dutchess Cloth Pantyliners||Simfamily Panty Liners||Hesta Organic Pantyliner|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Finally, you may want to consider period panties. They’re similar to regular underwear, but they have a leak-proof layer in them. Some of them also have absorbent padding, which is the option you may prefer to deal with discharge. You can see our top picks in the chart below:
The Best Period Panties
|Best Overall||Most Affordable||Most Comfortable|
|Modibodi Menstrual Underwear||Yoyi Fashion||Anigan Period Panties|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Yellow Vaginal Discharge: Have your Say
Any thoughts or questions about yellow discharge? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Tammy Ford is the resident expert for all things Women’s Health (vaginal discharge and infections, perimenopause, menstrual cycles and more) and is also a chief tester of all things eco-friendly period products. She has a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and specializes in reproductive health.
You can contact her via email: [email protected]