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Vaginal Discharge


Vaginal discharge is normal. It is usually clear or white and odorless. A change in the amount, smell, or color may indicate an underlying problem. Irritation, itching, or burning may also be a sign of a problem. Infection, a foreign body, or chemical irritants can cause abnormal vaginal discharge. Birth control pills, creams, or jellies may also cause abnormal vaginal discharge.



  • Medicines may help fight a fungal or bacterial infection. The medicine may be given as a pill. You may instead get a cream or gel you insert into your vagina.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Contact your healthcare provider or gynecologist if:

  • Your symptoms do not get better in 3 to 5 days.
  • You have trouble urinating, or you urinate often and with urgency.
  • You have abdominal pain or cramps.
  • Your discharge is bloody and it is not your monthly period.
  • You have pain with sexual intercourse.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have low back pain or side pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Clean in and around your vagina with mild soap and warm water each day. Gently dry the area after washing.
  • Take a sitz bath. Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling. 
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or undergarments. These can make your symptoms worse.
  • Ask about douching. Douching may help decrease your symptoms. Use a solution of 5 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with 2 liters of warm water.
  • Do not have sex until your symptoms go away. Have your partner wear a condom until you complete your course of medication.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or gynecologist in 1 week:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.