What Does Yellow Discharge Mean?

Dr David NunnsDr David Nunns

All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by

Dr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist

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# Is yellow discharge normal?

What is ‘normal’ when it comes to discharge can vary a lot from woman to woman, and getting to know your body and your ‘normal’ is the best way to spot if anything is wrong. Most of the time your discharge will change a little throughout the month in colour and consistency, and that is completely fine. Some people may naturally have a creamy yellow discharge, for others it may be clear or white, but become more yellowish when exposed to the air. Again, completely normal. Knowing what your discharge looks like in a typical month, is the best way to know if there are any problems, so have a check when you are wiping after going to the toilet. Alternatively wearing Always liners allows you to clearly see the colour of your discharge on a white background. It is also a good way to stop any discharge from leaving any embarrassing or annoying stains.

However, there is one colour of discharge that can be a bit disconcerting, as it can be both normal and abnormal: yellow discharge. Why do we get it, what causes yellow discharge, and is it healthy? Well, depending on the cause, it might be your body’s way of telling you something is up – or it might be perfectly fine.

Confusing, right? Read on for a few alternative reasons as to why you could be experiencing this.

# When should I be concerned by yellow discharge?

Yellow discharge is more likely to be problem if it is combined with:

  • itching or redness in the area
  • burning
  • pain in the pelvic area either when going to the toilet or during sexual intercourse
  • blood
  • a strong odour
  • an almost chunky, gloopy texture One or more of the above may be a sign of an infection, often one that has been passed on through sexual intercourse. It may also be a sign of a problem if you usually have white or clear discharge, then suddenly find you have bright yellow discharge. As always, it is best to go to your doctor or sexual health clinic to seek advice if you are experiencing any of these and feel at all worried. Trust your instincts when it comes to your own body. Remember, even if you feel embarrassed they will have seen these symptoms a hundred times before, and it is better for you to be safe and healthy.

# Are there any precautions I can take?

There are a few steps you can take to help ensure your health down below, and increase the changes that any yellow discharge is nothing to worry about. Also, at this point in your cycle, your discharge may have a yellow or brown tinge to it. This happens if the lining and dead cells haven’t been cleaned out entirely during your period, so your body is a bit late in getting rid of the last bits.

  • As well as Always liners, wear cotton underwear, as this allows your vagina to breathe (not literally, obviously!), as air can circulate, and cotton pants can soak up any moisture better than other materials
  • Avoid deodorant sprays near your vagina
  • Do not douche, as this can change the natural PH balance in the area, and potentially push any infections further inside you
  • Instead wash with a mild or unperfumed soap and water and pat dry
  • Practise safe sex Most importantly though, don’t be afraid to ask anyone for help or advice if you have any concerns. Be kind to yourself!
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