health

Discharge: 8 Types You May Find ‘Down There’ And What They Reveal About Your Health

becca Rebecca Endicott

Just about every woman has a keen understanding of what’s normal for her body.

We’re attuned to everything, from hormonal fluctuations to lumps and bumps in our breasts that might signal that we need a doctor’s opinion.

The one area that tends to be a little more, shall we say mysterious, is, well, our most private area.

Women know more about their bodies now than ever before, but we can still get a little bit shy when it comes to our vaginas.

It’s not that we don’t care about their health — far from it! — it’s just that investigating under the hood can be a little awkward.

Even going to the gynecologist and getting an expert opinion makes plenty of us uncomfortable, even though we should all go at least once a year.

That’s part of the reason it’s so important that we pay attention to the signs our bodies send us.

Often, vaginal discharge is our body’s first warning that something might be amiss, so we should all know what different kinds of discharge mean!

Scroll through below to learn more.

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / cw3283

Discharge Type #1: Clear And Slippery

Discharge Type #1: Clear And Slippery
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

One of the major signs of ovulation is clear and slippery discharge, which is your body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m trying to get pregnant over here!”

Not coincidentally, this is also the natural lubricant your body releases when it’s aroused; even if you aren’t looking to be pregnant right now, your body definitely is.

In other words, if you notice this kind of fluid in a totally non-sexy situation, it’s a good indicator that it’s your other time of the month, and you should be extra careful about using protecting.

Discharge Type #2: Thick And Foamy

Discharge Type #2: Thick And Foamy
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Yeast infections are one of the most common — and irritating — ailments that can afflict your undercarriage.

Yeast infections, caused by the candida organism, can affect men too, and can also be found in the throat and mouth, but they’re at their worst when they affect your vagina.

Fortunately, even if you do spot the tell-tale thick, “cottage cheese” discharge, it’s easy to treat with an over-the-counter antifungal like Monistat or a prescription from your doctor.

Discharge Type #3: Yellowish-Green

Discharge Type #3: Yellowish-Green
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

If you notice that your discharge seems to be turning a yellow-green color, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Greenish discharge is a sign of infection in your vagina, just like green mucus is a sign of infection in your sinuses — your body is building up white blood cells to fight off an attacker, which give it a greenish tint.

A lot of the infections that cause this tint are caused by treatable STI’s, like gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, so it’s a good idea to go to the doctor and get treatment, and to tell any sex partners.

Discharge Type #4: Bloody Or Brown

Discharge Type #4: Bloody Or Brown
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Finding blood anywhere when you aren’t expecting it is alarming, and it’s especially unnerving when it’s coming from your private area.

Fortunately, most of the time these stains are just menstrual spotting, and might be brownish because it’s older blood that wasn’t flushed out during your last period.

However, if you no longer get a period, or don’t normally spot, you should have this checked out immediately — bloody discharge can be a sign of cervical or ovarian cancer.

Discharge Type #5: Bad-Smelling

Discharge Type #5: Bad-Smelling
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

To be perfectly frank, we all know the downstairs can get a bit musty from time to time.

Most bad smells are related to sweat getting trapped in the groin and developing body odor, much like your armpits, but pay attention if it’s your discharge itself that smells funky.

Smelly discharge might be linked to a yeast infection, or it could be related to bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection that happens when the acidic balance of your vagina is thrown off.

Discharge Type #6: Cloudy White

Discharge Type #6: Cloudy White
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Normal vaginal discharge colors can range from clear to milky white, so this is usually nothing to be overly concerned about.

The exception? If your discharge normally looks different and the cloudy discharge comes with additional changes, like itching or sores, which could mean infection.

On the other hand, cloudy discharge is also one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, so if you’ve been “trying” it might be time to take a home test!

 

Discharge Type #7: Gray-Black

Discharge Type #7: Gray-Black
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Gray or black discharge is almost always cause for alarm, so if you’re seeing this pattern, call your doctor straight away.

There are some exceptions: Sometimes old menstrual blood can look black, or your body might be picking up color from something like a new pair of underpants.

The most common reason for black discharge is that you have a foreign object — like a forgotten tampon — in your body, and you need immediate medical attention to avoid toxic shock syndrome.

Discharge Type #8: Pinkish Tint

Discharge Type #8: Pinkish Tint
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Pinkish discharge usually means that you’re bleeding, but only a little bit.

Pink discharge usually indicates a small amount of fresh blood, rather than the heavier, darker flow of menstrual blood.

If you get pregnant, you might experience pink discharge from implantation. You might also see this coloration after sex, because the friction of sexual activity can sometimes cause minor injuries to the vaginal walls.

Do you think it’s important for all women to know what their vaginal discharge means?

Please SHARE this crucial information with every woman who knows the value of understanding her own body!