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What colour of your vaginal discharge means

The colour of your discharge could be a reason for seeking medical assistance. [Courtesy]

Vaginal discharge helps in keeping the ‘pie-corner’ clean besides aiding in lubrication and keeping vaginal tissues healthy. But then there is the healthy, and not so healthy vaginal discharge.

Indeed, the colour of your discharge could be a reason for seeking medical assistance, but a good number of women are not usually aware that colour change could be a cause for alarm, if the random survey carried out by Health & Science is anything to go by.

“You mean it can be a different colour?” wondered a 26 year old front desk manager in Nairobi. “It’s usually clear or white, I have never noticed a different colour.”  

Her colleague in the office admitted noticing brown discharge several times but her doctor reassured her “the colour change was due to early menstruation or old blood that’s coming out.”

Another young woman said she noticed yellow discharge early last year, which was followed by itchiness and “a gynecologist confirmed I had an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection).”

On confronting her lover, all hell broke loose as “he accused me of cheating yet he was my only sexual partner. I ended the relationship.” 

Junior F. Mukudi, a health system specialist and Women’s Health Advocate, says vaginal discharge is secreted from the glands in the cervix and vagina.

The leaking of this fluid is what keeps the vagina and reproductive tract clean and healthy by removing old cells and debris.

“However, there are certain types of discharge that can indicate an infection. Abnormal discharge may be yellow or green, chunky in consistency, or foul-smelling. Yeast or a bacterial infection usually causes abnormal discharge that looks unusual or smells foul, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment,” he adds

Mukudi adds that vaginal discharge amount, colour, consistency varies from one woman to another, and they can change depending on menstrual cycle of a person.

“Anyone who experiences bleeding between the menstrual periods should see a doctor. Intermenstrual bleeding can be a signal to a serious condition,” he says.

He also adds that those undergoing menopause without periods for at least one year should see a doctor if they experience vaginal bleeding as it can be a sign of endometrial cancer.