Types of Vaginal Fluids
Vaginal discharge is a fluid released by the glands of the vagina and the cervix. There are different types of vaginal fluids, and each one removes dead cells and bacteria from the body. In addition to preventing infections, they also help keep the vagina clean.
The amount of fluid can vary, as can the smell and color depending on several factors. You should bear in mind that if the color, smell, or consistency seem to be quite different than usual, it could be an infection or another complication, especially if it also includes vaginal itching or burning.
Often, our flow is indeed our body’s first warning that something may be wrong. That’s why it deserves special attention to know what the different types of vaginal fluids mean.
Types of vaginal fluids
Vaginal fluids fulfill a cleaning function in women’s reproductive systems as they keep the vagina moist and clean, as well as help to prevent infections. These are the types of vaginal fluids that women can have:
1. Clear and watery
The thick, white discharge is common at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle. The usual whitish secretion isn’t accompanied by itching, but if it is, it may indicate a fungal infection.
2. More volume than usual
It’s normal to see a little more discharge near the end of the menstrual cycle. Taking hormonal contraceptives can also make the flow heavier.
However, there are some other possible causes of excess moisture, such as an infection, a lost tampon, or a reaction to a new soap. If it includes discomfort, it’s necessary to go to the doctor.
3. Red or brown
Most of the time, red or brown spots are just due to menstruation. These can be a dark color when it’s from older blood that comes from the last period.
“The amount of fluid can vary, as well as the smell and color, depending on several factors.”
4. Greenish color
Yellow vaginal discharge may not be a threat to your health if it occurs before and after periods or during pregnancy. The odorless yellow discharge is absolutely normal and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.
Nonetheless, if you notice that the vaginal fluid seems to be changing to a greenish-yellow color, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the doctor, since dark yellow or green mucus may indicate an infection.
A greenish discharge is a sign of infection in the vagina, just as green mucus is a sign of infection in the paranasal sinuses. Your body is accumulating white blood cells to fight an attacker, which gives it a greenish tone.
5. Clear color
It’s a standard emission that occurs near the beginning of the menstrual cycle. The secretion will probably be clear and watery, or milky white. As long as it doesn’t cause any strange symptoms, like itching or bad odor, it shouldn’t cause concern.
6. Bad smell
A malodorous secretion could be related to a yeast infection or it could be caused by bacterial vaginosis — an infection caused by bacteria that occurs when the acidic nature of the vagina is imbalanced.
7. Pink color
Lastly, pink discharge usually means that the volume of bleeding isn’t too high. If you become pregnant, you may experience this type of discharge due to implantation.
It can also appear after sex due to the friction of sexual activity, which can sometimes cause minor tears to the vaginal walls.
Remember that, excluding the atypical fluid, it’s normal for you to notice different types of vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle, as well as during and after sexual activity.
As you’ve seen, cervical discharge and fluids vary in quantity, consistency, color, and odor depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle, the presence of infection, or certain medications.
Finally, keep in mind that there are many causes that provoke vaginal discharge. It’s necessary to diagnose each case to identify any type of anomaly. Don’t forget that it’s very important to see a doctor to ensure that the vagina is completely healthy.
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- Mitchell, H. (2004). Vaginal discharge—causes, diagnosis, and treatment. BMJ. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7451.1306