The 5 Signs You Need To See A Doctor About Your Vaginal Discharge

It’s a taboo topic but it doesn’t have to be.
George Mdivanian / 500px via Getty Images

According to new research by Vitality the number one health problem that people assigned female at birth are too ashamed to speak to their friends, family or doctors about is vaginal discharge.

This makes sense as many words are still very taboo even in increasingly progressive circles and on social media platforms that pride themselves on being supporters of open conversations around issues like health, gender, sexuality, etc.

However, the taboo is misplaced, even if 58% of Vitality respondents experience it. Vaginal discharge comes in many forms and can tell us so much about our bodies, where we are in our menstrual cycle and our overall health.

It’s also often not anything to worry about but knowing what the types of discharge you’re experiencing mean can help you to make decisions around your health and guide any doctors appointments you make.

When to worry about vaginal discharge

According to the NHS, you don’t need to worry about your discharge if it:

  • Doesn’t have a strong or unpleasant smell
  • Is clear or white
  • Is thick and sticky
  • Is slippery and wet

They also add that vaginal discharge can start at any age but you get heavier discharge when you’re pregnant, sexually active or using birth control. There’s also a type of discharge that’s very slippery and wet for a few days between your periods and this is actually cervical mucus and a sign that your body is currently ovulating!

However, if your discharge changes in smell, colour, or texture, it could be a sign of an infection and you need to see a doctor.

  • Fishy-smelling discharge could be bacterial vaginosis
  • Thick and white, like cottage cheese discharge could be thrush
  • Green, yellow, or frothy discharge could be trichomoniasis
  • Discharge with pelvic pain could be chlamydia or gonorrhoea
  • Discharge with blisters or sores could be genital herpes

Remember though, these are just descriptive words and while it might be awkward to discuss these symptoms with your GP or a sexual health clinic, they’re just a symptom and that is how doctors see them, too!

Getting them treated will ease your discomfort and ensure that any potential deeper health issues are identified.