If Your Discharge Is White
White discharge is often totally normal, Lauren Streicher, M.D., a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Throughout your menstrual cycle, it can be common to see discharge that ranges from white and sticky to clear and slippery and more. .
Even though white discharge can be just fine, sometimes its a sign of a yeast infection. This can happen if yeast in your vagina, typically a kind called Candida albicans, grows too much and throws off the balance of microorganisms in there, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .
While having yeast and bacteria in your vagina is totally normal, they need to live in harmony for you to have optimal vaginal health. If youre experiencing an overgrowth of yeast, you might see a thick, white, odorless discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese, and experience other symptoms like itching and burning of your vulva and vagina, a burning feeling during sex, and vulvar redness or swelling, the Mayo Clinic says.
A thin white discharge that comes along with other symptoms can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, according to the Mayo Clinic. This condition happens due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your vagina. Other symptoms include a strong fishy odor, itching, and burning when you pee.
Colors Your Vaginal Discharge Can Be
You might already know that its normal to have vaginal discharge. Discharge helps your vaginal tissues stay healthy, provides lubrication, and keeps your vagina clean, according to the Mayo Clinic. But seeing an unexpected color of vaginal discharge may give you pause . Here are the different colors your vaginal discharge can be and why.
What Are Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, affecting both men and women all over the world. It is a bacterial infection, transferred when having unprotected sex: anal, vaginal and oral. It affects all ages and can be easily passed from an infected person to another. The only way to prevent it is by not having sex. Other preventive measures include using a latex condom, consistently, every time you have sex limiting the number of sex partners, getting checked regularly and avoiding douching. Gonorrhea, also, is a bacterial infection considered to be a sexually transmitted disease. It is normally spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, whether its oral, vaginal, or anal.
Chlamydia symptoms, very similar to the gonorrheas, can be numerous, ranging from an abnormal vaginal discharge, and itching as well as burning sensation in the vaginal area, to having bleeding between periods and feeling pain during sex and urination. For men, symptoms are different and consist of a cloudy discharge, burning and itching at the tip of the penis, as well as feeling some pain and swelling around the area of the testicles. While the symptoms of both STDs are similar, the treatment plan is different.
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If Your Underwear Looks Like This You Probably Need To See A Doctor
Normal vaginal discharge varies between different women, but is normally clear, thin and watery, or slightly jelly-like in texture. This can change throughout the monthly cycle for women who are having periods and be slightly darker coloured as menstruation approaches.
If the infection is somewhere in the reproductive tract, vaginal discharge can change. While normal vaginal discharge is typically clear, discharge from an infection is more cloudy or milky in colour. This is because of the white blood cells the body sends to fight the infection being passed out of the body, which leave a colouration in the mucus.
If the infection has affected the cervix or uterus, you may also notice spotting between periods. This could be anything from slightly darker discharge like the type you get close to your period or even spots of blood when youre not expecting your period.
What Happens If Chlamydia Is Untreated
In the long term, if chlamydia is untreated, the infection may spread across the reproductive system and other organs. Inflammation of the cervix causes odorous vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, and pain during intercourse. With more widespread infection involving the Fallopian tubes and uterus, a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease can develop.6
The chlamydia bacteria infects the Fallopian tubes causing swelling and scarring of the tissues. This leads to blockage, and prevents the movement of eggs into the uterus. For this reason, fertilisation becomes a problem, and chlamydia can be responsible for causing infertility.7 Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea, may also cause PID in the same way.
Scarring of the Fallopian tubes can increase the chance of ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilised egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, for example in the Fallopian tubes. When this occurs, the embryo begins to grow and the tubes can rupture, leading to sudden onset of severe pain and bleeding. This can be life threatening if the embryo is not surgically removed. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden severe tummy pain with a positive pregnancy test.
Chlamydia can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child. As such, it is associated with pre-term births, infant eye infections , and lung infections . For this reason, it is important to receive treatment for chlamydia early.
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What Does The Test Measure
Gonorrhea testing detects evidence of infection with the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. There are several types of gonorrhea tests:
- Gonorrhea nucleic acid amplification testing: NAAT testing detects the genetic material of the gonorrhea bacteria and is considered the optimal test for gonorrhea infection. This type of test can be performed on a urine sample or a swab taken from a site of potential infection.
- Gram stain: Gram stains look for certain types of cells that are characteristic of a gonorrhea infection under a microscope. This test is performed on urethral swabs and is used primarily in men who are experiencing urinary symptoms.
- Gonococcal culture: Gonococcal cultures attempt to grow the gonorrhea bacteria from swabs taken from sites of potential infection. Cultures are the only tests that detect the infections susceptibility to antibiotics. Doctors may order a gonococcal culture if they suspect that a patient has an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea.
- Rapid gonorrhea tests: While rapid testing for gonorrhea isnt common, several tests are being developed to allow health care professionals to give same-day gonorrhea testing results.
How Do I Prevent Chlamydia
Using condoms every time you have sex can greatly reduce the risk of contracting chlamydia. Condoms should be used not just during ejaculation, but before any genital or sexual contact starts. If you are having oral-vaginal sex, use a dental dam to stay protected.
Ask a partner whether theyâve been tested recently for STIs before starting sexual contact. If a partner has sex with multiple people, ask about their STI status and encourage them to also get tested. Limiting the number of sexual partners you are exposed to will also decrease your risk of contracting chlamydia.
For people with female reproductive organs, a yearly gynecologic visit is recommended, even for those in a monogamous longterm relationship. People who are sexually active should always be screened for chlamydia. The screening can easily be performedâon a urine specimen, or as part of a pelvic exam.
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Abnormal Discharge With Blisters Around The Genitals
Genital herpes can cause painful, red blisters or sores to appear around your genitals, as well as an abnormal vaginal discharge. See your GP or go to a genitourinary medicine clinic as soon as possible.
You may be offered a course of antiviral tablets, which stop the herpes virus multiplying, but the symptoms may have a tendency to return.
Key Question 2 How Effective Are Different Screening Strategies In Identifying Persons With Gonorrhea And Chlamydia
No studies compared the effectiveness of different screening strategies for gonorrhea or chlamydia in asymptomatic persons or the effectiveness of sampling from various anatomical sites, cotesting for concurrent STIs, or using different screening intervals. Several studies of screening in high-risk groups have been published, but they did not meet inclusion criteria because they enrolled both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, lacked comparison groups, or did not report relevant outcomes. An observational study in the Netherlands evaluated a risk prediction tool to identify persons with chlamydia in high-risk populations. However, the tool was not an accurate predictor, and its applicability to practice in the United States is unclear. Prior reviews did not directly address the effectiveness of different screening strategies, but rather summarized risk factors associated with gonococcal and chlamydial infections., An observational study comparing nine sets of selective screening criteria for chlamydial infection among women attending family planning and STI clinics in the United States indicated that age alone had similar or better sensitivity and specificity as more extensive criteria. In this study, nearly 80 percent of cases were identified when testing 50 percent of the population and using an age cutoff of 22 years or younger.
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Which Std Test Results Are More Likely To Be False Negative
Although chances of false negative STD test results are very rare, they do happen. In the case of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the disease where the False negative test result is observed. You can be a carrier of chlamydia or gonorrhea and test negative, but only to discover later that it was actually positive.
What Is Green Vaginal Discharge
Green vaginal discharge is an abnormal green-coloured secretion which is often caused by the body’s inflammatory response to an infection. When pathogens enter the genital tract, they reproduce causing the normal clear or whitish vaginal fluid to become heavy and take on a yellow, yellow-green or green color.
Green discharge is often accompanied by a foul-smelling odour and other symptoms such as vaginal irritation, a burning sensation during urination and pain during sex. More often than not, infections associated with green discharge are not serious, and are often easily curable with antibiotics if caught early.
Some common causes of green discharge:
- Bacterial Infection
- Urinary Tract Infection
At the onset of an infection, it is typical for your discharge to take on a frothy texture, and as the infection progresses it may increasingly take on the appearance of a yellow looking mucus, then light green before becoming thick green in color.
Remember, some form of discharge is normal. As a sexual health specialist, I get asked about abnormal discharge and vaginal discharge on a daily basis. I understand that it can be a cause of great concern, and for many people, it leads them to the conclusion that they have a sexually transmitted disease, or that they may have a very serious health condition.
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Vaginal Itching And Discharge
Vaginal discharge refers to secretions from the vagina. The discharge may be:
- Thick, pasty, or thin
- Clear, cloudy, bloody, white, yellow, or green
- Odorless or have a bad odor
Itching of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area may be present along with vaginal discharge. It can also occur on its own.
How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed
The most common test for chlamydia is called a nucleic acid amplification test . Your provider takes a sample of fluid by doing a vaginal/cervical swab or collecting a urine sample. Then, they send the sample off to a lab to check for the bacteria that causes chlamydia. Your provider may do the test in an office, or they may ask you to do an at-home chlamydia test. Follow your providers instructions carefully to ensure you get accurate test results.
Because most chlamydia cases are asymptomatic, its important to get screened for chlamydia even if you dont notice any signs of infection. The CDC recommends that sexually active cisgender women who are high-risk for chlamydia get screened regularly. Women, more so than men, experience the most severe complications from chlamydia. Transgender men and nonbinary individuals with vaginas should be screened regularly, too, as they can experience the same complications of chlamydia.
Youre considered high-risk if you:
- Are under 25.
- Have had chlamydia infections previously.
Cisgender men, or trans and nonbinary individuals with penises, should be screened for chlamydia if:
- They live in a setting where chlamydia spreads frequently, like correctional facilities, adolescent clinics and sexual health clinics.
- They have sex with other men.
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Treatments For Yellow Discharge
Once your doctor diagnoses the medical reason for your yellow discharge, it can be treated relatively quickly in most cases. Treatment is typically a topical cream or gel, or antibiotic, but it will depend on the specific cause.
If a sexually transmitted disease is the cause, your doctor will advise you to have your partner treated as well. Both you and your partner must be treated to keep you from passing it back and forth to each other.
How Long Can You Have Chlamydia Without Knowing
Chlamydia is sometimes called a silent infection because the majority of people who have chlamydia regardless of gender never notice symptoms. People who do notice symptoms often dont recognize the signs that they have chlamydia until a few weeks after theyve been infected. Because chlamydia cases are often asymptomatic, its easy to spread chlamydia to someone else without realizing it. And its easy to miss out on receiving the treatment needed to prevent the serious complications that can result from chlamydia.
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Different Stds And Their Effect On Discharge
- Chlamydia and GonorrheaNot only are chlamydia and gonorrhea two of the most common STDs in America, but they are also the two most common STDs that could change the color of your vaginal discharge. Discharges associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia are typically filled with mucus and pus, therefore, giving discharges a yellow, to mildly green, color. There might also be accompanying putrid smells that are unusual to regular discharge.
- Trich Trichomoniasis symptoms also include differently colored discharges and itchiness around the pelvic regions. Those with trich symptoms will typically see their discharge become a yellow color. They might also experience burning sensations during urination and sex.
When it comes to vaginal discharges, a good rule of thumb should have you raising alarms if your vaginal discharges are anything but normal. Normal typically entails a milky, white, or clear discharge without any sour or irregular smells. One of the keys to a healthy vagina is healthy bacteria, so if there is an introduction of any other bacterias, the climate of your body will be disrupted and you should be able to tell by observing your body and recognizing its normal functions.
Does Chlamydia Feel Like A Uti
The symptoms Urinary tract infections and chlamydia can also cause pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic region. The main symptom that chlamydia does not share with UTIs is penile or vaginal discharge. A chlamydial infection can cause a yellowish, strong-smelling vaginal discharge or a watery, milky penile discharge.
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Can I Compare Pictures Of Chlamydia With My Own Body
This isnt a good way to tell if you have chlamydia although it may be tempting to look at pictures of chlamydia on the internet and compare this to any symptoms you are suffering or clinical signs you may have, this is not recommended because:
- Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms or signs
- There are a variety of symptoms of signs that may well not be due to chlamydia
- If you guess you have chlamydia, and get it wrong, you may well be missing another serious infection or medical condition
- The internet does not always give accurate information
- You cannot visualise your own genitalia properly
What if I compare pictures and I think they match? if you have any concerns you may have chlamydia you are strongly advised to have a chlamydia test. Remember even if you compare yourself with pictures and dont see matching symptoms, you could still have chlamydia without visible symptoms. This is very common.
What if I dont want to get tested? there is no good alternative. Chlamydia is a common infection, and it is easy to have a test and be treated if it is positive. Doctors and nurses are trained to deal with these issues, and they will do their best to put you at ease.
What Is Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharge is abnormal if it:
- is thick and white, like cottage cheese
- smells fishy
- is greenish and smells very bad
- is pink or brown
- is irritating or causes your vaginal area to itch
A white or grey watery discharge with a fishy smell may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. Treatment is usually with antibiotics, either as tablets or a cream or gel.
A thick and white, cottage cheese-type vaginal discharge may be a sign of thrush . Treatment is usually with an antifungal cream or pessaries into the vagina.
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