Vagina Health

What Each Color of Discharge Mean?

Let’s be real. We’ve all had that moment when we’ve pulled down our pants in the bathroom, seen a different color than usual, and asked, “Is that normal?” which is often followed by questions like “Is it the time of the month?” and “What did I eat this week?” and even “How was the sex last night?”

The comforting news is that many colors are normal. Even if you know you’re in the clear, what do these colors actually mean, anyway?

Well, wonder no longer. We put together a color guide that’s not only medically accurate, but fun to look at. And even though there’s usually nothing to worry about, skip to the See a Doctor section if you’re concerned.

Here’s your Pantone guide to vaginal discharge.

Blood Red to Dried Brown

Red or brown bloody discharge is normal during your period. Colors might range from cherry red at the beginning of your period to rusty brown. But if you do see red throughout the month, it could be a sign of a health issue, like an infection.

Reasons For Red or Brown Discharge

Irregular menstrual cycle or spotting: Some women simply have irregular periods and spotting. Other women experience spotting due to their birth control method or hormonal changes.

Cream and Milky White

A variety of white shades of discharge, from eggshell to cream, can be normal. Unless your discharge is accompanied by certain textures or smells, don’t fret too much.

Reasons For White Discharge

Vaginal lubrication: White discharge occurs for many of the same reasons as clear discharge. It’s simply natural lubrication, keeping your vaginal tissue healthy and minimizing friction during sex.

Pale Yellow to Neon Green

Very light yellow discharge is more normal than you think. Sometimes the color is daffodil yellow. Other times it’s more of a greener chartreuse.

Reasons for Yellow-Green Discharge

Look to your diet or any supplements you may be taking: This color is usually a sign of an infection, but if you know you’re in the clear (as in it’s a one-off occurrence), what you eat could affect the color. Some people report this color change occurring whenever they take new vitamins or try certain foods.

Blushed Deep Pink

Pink discharge, ranging from a very light blush to the deep pink of a sunset, is often just a sign of the beginning of your cycle. But at other times, it can be a sign of a serious health problem.

Reasons for Pink Discharge

Sexual intercourse: Some women may periodically experience light bleeding after intercourse, which can result in pink discharge.

Clear

Clear discharge, which can also be whitish in color, is usually normal. It may have an egg-white like consistency. It’s also the go-to discharge a healthy body expels to rebalance itself — because your vagina is an amazing, self-cleaning organ.

Reasons For Clear Discharge

Ovulation: Is it about day 14 of your cycle? You’re probably ovulating and producing cervical mucus.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy can also cause a change in hormones and increase how much discharge you have.

Sexual arousal: The blood vessels in your vagina dilate and fluid passes through them, causing an increase in clear, watery discharge. Totally normal.

Storm Cloud Gray

When white turns to gray, like storm clouds or exhaust, see your doctor or call your OB-GYN. It could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV),which is a very common infection in women. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibacterial ointments or oral antibiotics.

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