All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by
Dr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist
Most women get regular telltale white or clear staining in their underwear from puberty onwards, and over time you have learnt that it is just vaginal discharge, and is nothing to worry about.
But while most of the time discharge is healthy and a sign that your body is functioning correctly, occasionally something will knock it off track, and changes to its appearance can be a sign that all is not well down below. One of the key changes you might see, is discharge colour. It can be kind of weird to look down and see a different shade to one you are used to, and can leave you wondering what colour discharge should actually be. Fear not! It is all relatively straightforward, as you can see from our handy guide below, to discharge colours and their meanings.
Clear discharge is perfectly normal at different points in your menstrual cycle. It has various jobs to do, depending on its texture, but largely means that your vagina is doing exactly as intended, so you can sit back and relax.
This is the discharge colour that you will probably see the most in your underwear. Depending on the time of the month it may be thicker and creamier, or thinner and waterier, but generally a variation is to be expected and is absolutely fine. The only time that a white discharge might not be so great, is if it is lumpy, and reminiscent of cottage cheese – this means you are potentially suffering with a yeast infection. This is generally easily treatable, so don’t worry, but be sure to get checked out by the doctor. Otherwise though, white is generally a normal discharge colour, so take it as a sign of good health down below.
A yellow discharge colour can mean different things, often dependent on the shade of yellow you are talking about. A creamy kind of light yellow might be absolutely fine. For some people, this is actually their natural discharge colour, instead of white. A bright canary yellow though, and you may well have contracted an STI or bacterial infection. The addition of other symptoms, such as vaginal or pelvic pain, or a strong odour, can help identify if this is the case, but generally best to get some medical advice to determine the exact cause and get it treated.
Usually, a pink or brown discharge is caused by a bit of blood getting into your discharge, and is nothing to be worried about. Maybe your period is about to start or has just ended, you have switched to a new method of contraceptive, or have recently given birth. Very occasionally there can be a more serious reason though, so if the colour continues for a longer period of time, or you notice any other symptoms that concern you, always best to get it checked out.
The most likely causes of this kind of discharge, are a sexually transmitted or bacterial infection, both of which would require a trip to the doctor. Remember, that ‘normal discharge colour’ varies from person to person, and the best thing you can do is to get to know your own body and the discharge cycle that is unique to you. Whatever the colour though, wearing Always Dailies liners can be a smart way to get a fresh feeling that lasts all day long. The white liners also allow you to clearly see and get used to your own colour, and notice any changes.