Vaginal discharge serves an important housekeeping function in the female reproductive system. Vaginal discharge is the fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix, which usually carries away bacteria and dead cells, keeping the vagina clean and preventing infections.
Most of the time, vaginal discharge is absolutely normal and should not be a reason of concern. The amount, odor and hue can vary depending on the time in your menstrual cycle, so you should not get alarmed if it has a different consistency a few days before your menstruation starts then one week after it ends. However, when vaginal mucus is yellow or greenish in color and has a foul odor, then you could be noticing an infection, usually known as vaginitis.
What Causes Yellow Mucus Discharge?
When your vaginal discharge turns from whitish or clear to yellow or greenish, this means that your vagina’s balance of normal bacteria has been affected. There are many factors that can cause changes in your vagina’s balance, and these include:
- birth control pills;
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs);
- pelvic infection after surgery;
- pelvic inflammatory disease;
- cervical cancer;
- douches, scented lotions and soaps;
- antibiotics (common cause of yeast infection);
- vaginal atrophy (occurs at menopause).
Yellow mucus discharge from vagina is usually accompanied by itching and burning, as well as swelling of the affected area. A foul or fishy odor can also be noticed, especially if you are dealing with a yeast infection, sexually transmitted disease (STD) or bacterial vaginosis. In some cases, the mucus might also be accompanied by blood, which is a common symptom of irregular menstrual cycles, or less often, cervical or endometrial cancer.
Yellow mucus vaginal discharge during pregnancy is absolutely normal and should not be a cause of the alarm.