A small amount of vaginal discharge is usually normal. The discharge is usually milky white or thin and clear. Its amount and appearance may change as women age. Typically, the discharge has no odor and is not accompanied by itching, burning, irritation or rash.

An abnormal vaginal discharge may reflect inflammation of the vagina (vaginosis). A white, gray, or yellowish cloudy discharge with a fishy odor is caused by bacterial vaginosis. A thick, white, and clumpy discharge, often accompanied by itching, is typically caused by candidiasis, a yeast infection. A heavy, greenish yellow, foamy discharge that may have a bad odor is typically caused by trichomoniasis, a protozoal infection. A greenish or yellowish discharge may be due to cervical infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia, which are sexually transmitted. A watery, blood-tinted discharge may be caused by cancer of the vagina, cervix or lining of the uterus (endometrium). Radiation therapy to the pelvis may also cause an abnormal vaginal discharge.

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