fertility basics

Abnormal Vaginal Discharge - Causes, Types, and Treatment

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  • 4.6   (7 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 04 May 2018 - Written by Dr. Chitwan Dubey - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are birth control, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and STDs. Types of abnormal vaginal discharge are in the colors of pink, brown, white, and yellow. Treatment of abnormal vaginal discharge are vaginal cream, antibiotics, and staying hydrated.

Have you noticed that after having sex with your partner, there is white colored creamish discharge? It is known as vaginal discharge, which is an important function of the female reproductive system. To get rid of dead cells and bacteria, glands within the cervix and vagina secrete this fluid. It not only keeps the vagina clean but also helps in preventing any infection.

It is perfectly normal to have vaginal discharge and it can vary in color, odor and amount. It ranges from clear to milky white when color is taken into consideration. This discharge can be seen in abundance during ovulation, breastfeeding as well as sexual arousal.  Last but not the least, the odor differs if you are pregnant or don’t keep personal hygiene.

Vaginal discharge after sex is composed of the following fluids: cervical mucus, semen fluid, female ejaculation fluid and lubrication fluid. If vaginal discharge is abnormal then color, odor and consistency of this fluid may vary.

Vaginal discharge is a reliable indicator to know what is going down there. There are other symptoms also to understand if something is wrong.

What is Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?

Vaginal discharge is said to be abnormal if it has foul order, it is yellow, green or chunky. It might also indicate bacterial or yeast treatment. There are several reasons for abnormal discharge. Sometimes, abnormal vaginal discharge is harmless and doesn’t signal any underlying problem.

Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge:

Below are just some of the reasons for abnormal discharge. Abnormal discharge is not a matter of concern but one must be careful especially when this discharge comes while having sexual intercourse.

  • Antibiotics or steroids: Sometimes taking antibiotics and steroids can result in the change of vaginal discharge color, which is not alarming.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: Due to the rise in pH of the vagina, it becomes favorable for some kinds of bacteria, which causes irritation and results in abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Birth Control: Taking birth control pills impact hormonal changes in the body resulting in excessive or lesser vaginal discharge.
  • Cervical cancer: Cervical cancer can result in changes of vaginal color and consistency.
  • Diabetes: You will be surprised to know but it’s true that diabetes can also change your vaginal discharge appearance.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID can cause irritation in the vaginal cavity. Vaginal discharge is also foul smelling. If not treated on time, it can result in damage of the female reproductive organs.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Scented soaps, bubble bath, or lotions: Using scented soaps to clean your internal organs can change the pH level, which makes it favorable for harmful bacteria.
  • STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Sexually Transmitted Diseases can change vaginal discharge appearance.
  • Yeast infection: Yeast infection can also make vaginal discharge bad in odor, which causes itching. If not treated on time, it can aggravate and makes the sexual intercourse painful.

Treatment of Abnormal Vaginal Discharge

If someone experience abnormal vaginal discharge, it should not be taken lightly. One should reach out to a specialist as soon as possible. Timely treatment stops the further damage to internal reproductive organs such as ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and vaginal cavity. Treatment is provided after knowing the cause of the abnormal discharge. Some of the basic treatments include:

  • Vaginal Cream: Vaginal cream is applied on the affected region so that pH level is balanced again
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water helps in eliminating the harmful bacteria from the body.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are given to some women if they experience pelvic pain along with itching.

Types of Vaginal Discharge after Sex

If after intercourse, you have a transparent vaginal discharge then it is normal but if the color differs from white with strains of pink, yellow, and brown in it then there might be some reasons, which should not be neglected.

1- Pink discharge - For most of the times, pink discharge is not anything serious. It basically indicates the presence of blood. It is not always a bad thing and can imply normal occurrences. You need to worry when pink discharge is a result of:

  • Trauma- Due to rough sex or violent act, the traumatized vagina secretes blood discharge. It can be accompanied by acute pain and possibly due to disturbances in urethral function. It is advised to take medical consultation for preventing any further issues like an infection.
  • Menopause-The other reason for pink discharge is vaginal atrophy as cervical fluid is secreted during sex starts decreasing. The trauma in the blood vessels starts producing light bleeding. So, make ensure that you are using lubrication. You will be astonished to know that Fertility drugs cause premature menopause.
  • Oncological Pathologies-Pre-cancerous conditions cause pink discharge after sex. There are chances of uterine, cervical and endometrial cancers. Along with these cancers, cervical polyps reduces the cervical fluid thus, leads to rupturing of blood vessels. Other symptoms like abdominal cramps and pain while intercourse needs attention.
  • Menstruation-Beginning or end of your cycle allows the pink color fluid to secrete after sex. Check out the Signs of Healthy and Normal Menstrual Cycle for more details.

Menstruation

  • Pregnancy-Bleeding a little after sex can happen if you are pregnant because cervix is very sensitive at that time.
  • Birth control-When you are on birth control, it is common to have impromptu bleeding due to uterine lining thinning.

2- White Discharge- It is quite normal to have white discharge after sex. This is the normal discharge, which occurs on a regular basis. But it can also be due to yeast or bacterial infection. Some of the causes of white discharge after sex include:

  • Cervical Mucus: Cervical mucus discharge is produced throughout the cycle and varies in consistency. It protects the sperms by maintaining their ph. During ovulation, cervical mucus is stretchy and slippery which makes it easier for the sperms to flow in. When you are closer to your menstrual cycle, cervical mucus is creamy or is like a lotion.
  • Lubrication Fluid: The inner walls of vagina, which makes the sexual intimacy a pleasure, produces Lubrication fluids. If sufficient fluid is not produced during sex, it can result in pain and irritation in the vaginal cavity.
  • Seminal Fluid:Male ejaculation component semen also comes out as discharge after sex.
  • Female Ejaculation Fluid: During intercourse, if a woman reaches her peak, then her internal organs secretes a fluid which is watery in appearance and makes part of vaginal discharge.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: As vagina has a delicate balance of bacteria; the disturbance in this balance can result in bacterial vaginosis, which is accompanied by a fishy odour. It is actually grayish and whitish in color and signals the infection.
  • Yeast infection: Yeast grows in numbers in the vagina when vagina pH changes. This doesn’t occur due to sex and has symptoms like clumpy white discharge, itching, burning and redness around the vagina.
  • Pregnancy: Creamy white discharge also signals gestation. It is known as leucorrhea and either has mild odour or none at all.

3- Brown Discharge- It is harmless to have a brown discharge. Below are the reasons behind brown color discharge:

  • Endometrial cells: It happens when old blood is being expelled. It is left over blood from the previous period. It can occur anytime irrespective of the fact that you had sex or not. There is nothing to worry until you are filling a pad within an hour. And it is advised to diagnose the underlying issue.

Endometrial cells

  • Ovulation: The discharge might get darker when the uterine cells start sliding. Either before or during ovulation discharge might become darker. It usually takes place in the middle of the menstrual cycleThe discharge can appear brown or pink spotting. And there are chances of egg white cervical mucus along with it.
  • Stress: Stress affects the period and the discharge it secretes. A change in emotions and consumption of stimulants, liquor and other substances can also cause stress. Malnutrition is also a reason for the body to be stressed out. Stress hormones also have an impact on sex hormones, which can affect menstrual cycle and causes brown discharge after intercourse.
  • Implantation: Once the embryo attaches to the uterus, you can see brown spotting. It is due to the accumulated blood in the cervix. The discharge might be pink when diluted with mucus.
  • Birth Control: It is another reason for brown color discharge. The regular use of birth control can thin out the uterine lining and shed randomly. For more information, read: Birth Control Side Effects.

4- Yellow discharge- It is actually not a good thing. It implies STDs or other problems. It is advised to consult the doctor to ensure good vaginal health. The reasons can be:

  • Trichomoniasis: Greenish yellow discharge signals STDs and is caused due to a small organism called Trichomonas vaginalis.
  • Gonorrhea: There are chances of gonorrhea if you have yellow mucus discharge. This is a STD, which is caused due to an exposure to the infected bodily fluids or having sex with an infected person.
  • Chlamydia: It is another type of sexually transmitted disease caused due to Chlamydia trachomatis. It is contagious and quickly spreads. It might also cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in other cases.

Vaginal discharge is common after intercourse. But if it has different texture along with other symptoms, it should be treated to keep your reproductive organs healthy.

If you are having unbearable cramps in your lower abdomen due to periods, try these home remedies for Menstrual Cramps. Also, if you’re getting early periods, please feel free to explore our article on reasons of early periods.

Dr. Chitwan Dubey

Written by

Obstetrician, Gynecologist
Mumbai

Dr. Chitwan Dubey is a leading Obstetrician and IUI Expert currently working at SevenHills Hospital in Andheri, East Mumbai. She has been practicing in the same field for over a decade and her areas of expertise are Endometriosis, Ectopic Pregnancies, Fibroids, Total Lap Hysterectomies, and Fertility Enhancing Diagnostic etc. She completed MBBS from Rant's Medical College in 2004 followed by MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Mumbai University in 2006. Dr. Chitwan Dubey is an honoured member of Indian Medical Association (IMA). For contact details of Dr. Chitwan Dubey visit elawoman.com

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:


1.  Appearance of cervical mucus - know about different types of cervical mucus  cervical mucus, Elawoman - 2017
2.  Facts about semen quality, and color - know with semen analysis test  semen fluid, Elawoman - 2017
3.  Birth control pills - types and effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills  birth control pills, Elawoman - 2017
4.  Effect of infertility drugs on premature menopause - when to worry, what to do  premature menopause, Elawoman - 2017
5.  Normal menstrual cycle and irregular menstrual cycle causes and treatment  Normal Menstrual Cycle, Elawoman - 2017
6.  Unprotected sex - tips to deal with it, monitoring pregnancy  intercourse, Elawoman - 2017
7.  Most effective ways to track ovulation with irregular period cycle  ovulation, Elawoman - 2017
8.  Things you must know about menstrual cycle and its calculation  menstrual cycle, Elawoman - 2017
9.  Ipill - find out side effects, uses, risks, precautions of the birth control method  Birth Control Side Effects, Elawoman - 2017
10.  Top 10 effective natural remedies to cure menstrual cramps  Menstrual Cramps, Elawoman - 2017
more

7 Comments

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Sarita Pal

I have greenish yellow discharge, does that mean I have infection or STD?

Oct. 1, 2018, 3:23 p.m. 4.5

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Rohini Sahdev

I have pelvic inflammatory diseases, please suggest me with some best vaginal cream.

Sept. 12, 2018, 3:19 p.m. 4.5

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Arpita Roy

Very informative article. Many women have themselves tested just to have a reason behind their vaginal discharge and waste lots of money. Must share article!

Aug. 31, 2018, 7:16 p.m. 4.5

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Chitra Gupta

I have a white vaginal discharge after sex and my doctor told me it is completely normal.

July 19, 2018, 5:12 p.m. 4.5

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Shanti Vediya

I have oral contraceptive pills and my vaginal discharge is full of odor. I drink lots of water to eliminate odor and it does work.

June 23, 2018, 3:06 p.m. 5.0

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Cute Girl Yasmin

I feel there is always an increase in vaginal discharge after sex. but thank god it's normal!

June 4, 2018, 4:23 p.m. 5.0

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Nitin Vishwasrao Shinde

I experience green color discharge sometimes. What is it?

May 8, 2018, 10:12 a.m. 4.5

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