Guide to Vaginal Health

What is normal vaginal discharge (fluid)?

Normal vaginal discharge refers to the mucus-like fluid that helps keep your vagina clean and healthy.   Normal discharge may leave a white or yellow stain on your underwear. The amount of discharge can change at different time in your cycle and varies from person to person.

What are signs of a vaginal infection?

Talk to your doctor if you have signs of an infection. Only a doctor can determine what type of infection you have.

How can I help keep my vagina healthy?

These are conditions which you don’t generally catch from someone, but having sex may put you at higher risk to get them.  Women who don’t have sex can also get them.

 UTI (Bladder infection) , Bacteria

  • Symptoms:  Burning when urinating, urge to urinate frequently or after you’ve just urinated, fever, lower abdominal pain or back pain
  • How is it spread? Through bacteria coming in to close contact to the urethra (pee opening).  It can also be caused by an STI.
  • Is it curable? Yes, with prescription antibiotics.  It must be treated to prevent a serious kidney infection.

 Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Bacteria

  • Symptoms: Fishy/unpleasant vaginal odor, milky-white or grey discharge, vaginal itching and burning.  Sometimes no symptoms.
  • How is it spread? Not completely understood.  Douching and having multiple sex partners increases your risk.
  • Is it curable?Yes, with prescription medication.  It must be treated to prevent other pelvic illnesses or problems with pregnancy.

 Yeast infection. Yeast

  •  Symptoms:Thick cottage cheese-like, curdy discharge, vaginal itching and burning, redness, and irritation
  •  How is it spread?Through an imbalance of the healthy organisms in the vagina.  May occur while on antibiotics.
  •  Is it curable?Yes, with over-the-counter internal cream or with prescription medications.

 Molluscum contagiosum, Virus

  • Symptoms: Tiny smooth/shiny bumps which can get irritated and appear anywhere on your body
  • How is it spread?Through skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected
  • Is it curable?Yes, with prescription medications. May resolve on their own in months to years.