Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge
 The most common causes of vaginal discharge are:

  • A vaginal infection.
  • The body's reaction to a foreign body such as a forgotten tampon or condom or substance (such as spermicide, soap).
  • Changes that occur after menopause can cause vaginal dryness, especially during sex, as well as a watery vaginal discharge or other symptoms.
  • Girls before puberty can be prone to recurrent vaginal discharge and vulval irritation due to low levels of female hormones (vulvovaginitis) and this usually settles with the onset of puberty.


Can I treat myself?  Many women would prefer to avoid seeing their doctor or nurse due to embarrassment or inconvenience. If you are sure of the cause then it may be appropriate to try simple over the counter remedies.
However, you should not washout the vagina (douche) to get rid of the discharge because this can make the discharge worse if it is due to an infection.
If you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection then you
should attend your doctor or a local sexual health clinic (GUM).
If you have a temperature (fever), or pain in your belly or on passing urine you should attend a doctor.
If you develop repeated bacterial or yeast infections it may be worthwhile attending your doctor as you may be advised to use a preventive treatment.

Do I need to be examined?  Sometimes, It is not usually possible to know if vaginal discharge is normal or not without an examination.
A physical examination is the most accurate way of determining the cause of abnormal vaginal discharge.
Before the examination, the doctor or nurse may ask questions, such as:
  • Do you have pain in the back, abdomen, or pelvis?
  • Do you have a new sexual partner?
  • When was your last menstrual period?
  • Do you take any medications (including herbal, and non-prescription)?
  • Have you recently used pads, tampons, "feminine hygiene" products, or lubricants?

During the examination, a doctor or nurse will examine the outside genital area and will perform an internal examination and will take a sample of the discharge to test for infection.
Treatment  In some cases, it is possible to make a diagnosis and begin treatment immediately, based upon the examination. In other cases, the provider may recommend delaying treatment until test results are available.
Sexual partners of women with a sexually transmitted infection, need evaluation and treatment.
For other infections, such as yeast or bacterial vaginosis, the sexual partner does not need treatment.
If treatment is needed, you should avoid having intercourse until the treatment is completed.