Vaginal discharge is abnormal if it is:
With abnormal vaginal discharge, you may also have itching, burning, a rash, or soreness in your vulva (the area outside the opening to the vagina).
There aren't really any dangerous causes of vaginal discharge.
The most common cause of an abnormal vaginal discharge is:
An infection in your vagina—yeast infections or sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). An STD is an infection that is spread from person to person by sexual contact. Gonorrhea infects your genitals and, in women, your fallopian... read more and chlamydia Chlamydia Chlamydia are bacteria that can cause several kinds of infection. One common chlamydia infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). An STD is an infection that is spread from person to... read more
Other causes of abnormal vaginal discharge include:
Causes of vaginal discharge in children include:
See a doctor within a day if you have vaginal discharge and any of these warning signs:
A child with a fever or yellow or green discharge that smells fishy could have an STD (sexually transmitted disease), possibly from sexual abuse. Take this child to a doctor that day.
See a doctor within a few days if you have abnormal discharge but no warning signs.
If you've had yeast infections Candidiasis (Yeast Infection) Candidiasis is an infection by Candida yeast. Because yeast is a type of fungus, candidiasis is a fungal infection, but it's usually referred to as a yeast infection. Candida yeast usually live... read more before, you probably don't need to see a doctor every time you have the typical symptoms, unless you also have other symptoms. Typical symptoms are a thick, white, and clumpy discharge and itching and burning in your vulva. Yeast infections should be treated with antifungal medicines.
Doctors will ask questions about your vaginal discharge and any other symptoms.
Doctors typically do a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor looks inside your vagina, holding it open with a small instrument called a speculum. Doctors may use a cotton swab to take a sample of the discharge for testing.
Doctors treat the cause of your discharge, if they can. For example, if you have an infection caused by bacteria, doctors will give you antibiotics to take by mouth.
If you’re feeling sore and itchy, doctors may also suggest you: