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Experiencing Yellow Discharge Before or After Period? Learn the Causes!

Written by Elizabeth Buescher, Gynecologist

Vaginal discharge is normal and usually varies depending on the time in your menstrual cycle. Before ovulation, your vagina produces up to 30 times more discharge than before or after period. The mucus tends to be watery and elastic during that period of your menstrual cycle, which can result in wearing panty liners to avoid wetness on your clothing.

What does it mean if your discharge is yellow instead of whitish or clear? Except for pregnancy, there are many potential factors that may cause a change in the color and consistency of vaginal mucus.

Yellow Discharge Before Period: Could I Be Pregnant?

Many women experience yellow vaginal discharge as a premenstrual symptom, which naturally occurs before period, but goes away once the period starts. The yellowish color usually indicates the presence of a very small amount of blood in the discharge, which implies that your period may start in any moment. If this is your case, then you may also experience other premenstrual symptoms as well, such as cramps. Keep in mind that your discharge may still be yellow during period, especially during the first two days.
However, if you notice yellow discharge but no period, you should wait at least ten days before taking a pregnancy test.

Sometimes, yellow discharge may occur in case of a late period, but it usually returns back to normal once the period starts. The same goes for a missing period, although the discharge may be brownish instead of yellow. If you keep getting a yellowish discharge instead of period, call your doctor to further investigate the underlying cause. Many times, a change in the color of your vaginal discharge may indicate a vaginal infection, which should be addressed immediately to prevent complications.

Yellow Discharge After Period: A Normal Occurrence

Some women experience yellow vaginal discharge after period. The yellowish color is caused by the presence of blood in the discharge, which is due to the vagina cleansing itself, and implicitly flushing out blood remnants. The color should return to white or become clear after a few days.

Yellow Discharge After Sex: A Symptom of Vaginal Infection

Have you noticed your discharge going from clear or white to yellow after intercourse? In most instances, a change in discharge color may be caused by a sexually transmitted disease, vaginal infection, or bacterial vaginosis. Aside from the change in color, infection-related discharge may also have a foul, fishy smell, a thicker, cheese-like consistency, and may be accompanied by other symptoms, like itching, redness or swelling of the vulva.

Many women with yeast infection report yellow discharge after Monistat, a popular treatment for yeast-related vaginal infections. If you experience abnormal discharge, do not assume the cause or self-treat with Monistat or other medication unless instructed by your doctor!

If you experience yellow discharge during pregnancy (and specifically during the first trimester), you should seek medical assistance immediately. If a vaginal infection is what’s causing the discharge, immediate treatment is needed to prevent miscarriage and reduce a risk of premature birth. Normal discharge should be clear or white during early pregnancy, but you can expect it to become slightly yellow during third trimester. If there is no itching, foul odor, or abnormal consistency (i.e. too thick, creamy, or cheese-like), then no medical assistance will be required.

Yellow discharge after intercourse is common after menopause, and may also occur as a pre-menopausal symptom in women over 45-50 years old.

Yellow Vaginal Discharge After Birth: Should I Be Concerned?

After giving birth, many women report a large amount of vaginal discharge, which usually has a watery or stretchy consistency, doesn’t bear a strong odor and is either clear or white in color. Yellow vaginal discharge after C-section usually indicates the onset of yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, especially if the vulva is itchy and swollen. Changes in the color of your discharge after delivery are rarely normal, and they should be brought into the attention of your doctor as soon as possible.

  •  After Abortion

    Yellow vaginal discharge after abortion is normal to some extent, as your vagina is practically flushing out cervical mucus mixed with tissue parts. The discharge may be accompanied by cramps and occasional bleeding, but unless you also experience itching or swelling of the vulva, these shouldn’t alarm you.
    If you experience yellow, pus-like discharge following an abortion, another cause may be an infection. If not addressed on time, the infection may spread, causing fever, excessive bleeding (with clots), and more serious complications. Call the doctor that has performed the abortion as soon as possible, and tell him about your symptoms.

  • After Miscarriage

    Yellow vaginal mucus following miscarriage is absolutely normal as long as it doesn’t bear a strong odor or abnormal consistency. The discharge will usually continue for a few days after the bleeding has stopped. If you are concerned about the unusual smell, color or consistency of the discharge, you should call your doctor and get medically evaluated immediately to rule out the possibility of an infection.

  • After Hysterectomy

    Post-hysterectomy yellow discharge is normal and should be nothing to stress over. To ensure that there is no vaginal infection, consider having a careful exam with vaginal cultures and an evaluation of the vaginal vault. In some cases, women may develop granulation tissue at the vaginal cuff site after hysterectomy, which can be usually treated in the office.

Seek Immediate Medical Assistance

While yellow discharge before and after period, or during third trimester of pregnancy may be normal, you should still seek medical assistance once you notice this occurrence. Once the discharge returns to normal, you should be more diligent about your personal hygiene, and never use scented soaps or other “feminine hygiene products” again. Clean your intimate parts with a mild soap with neutral pH, and avoid douches at all costs, as they may cause imbalances in your vaginal flora. Do not forget to add probiotic supplements to your diet if taking antibiotics, so you can successfully avoid yeast infections (thrush).

If your doctor doesn’t appear to be concerned about your abnormal discharge, then you may want to get a second opinion from another professional to see if any investigations are actually needed.

Read also:
Complete Guide to Yellow Vaginal Discharge: What Do You Need to Know?
Yellow Vaginal Discharge, No Odor: When Should You Seek Medical Assistance?
Light Yellow Vaginal Discharge: When Should You Be Concerned?