Vaginal discharge is part of every woman’s reproductive system, serving as an important housekeeping function of the vagina. Many women report experiencing vaginal discharge throughout their menstrual cycle – but while this isn’t always a reason of concern, it can often indicate the presence of an infection. Unfortunately, most women are unaware of vaginal discharge, which frequently results in wrongly diagnosing the underlying cause.
As a result, they either start taking over-the-counter medications, or they become overly diligent about heir personal hygiene, cleaning their genital area as frequently as a few times per day.
What do you do if you have green vaginal discharge? Is it normal? What causes it? Find out the answers to these questions below.
Vaginal Discharge: Friend or Foe?
A lot of women think of vaginal discharge as of an unpleasant day-to-day experience. Due to the discomfort and the odor it causes, many women struggle to keep themselves as clean as possible by washing frequently, wearing panty liners or tampons, using baby wet wipes, spraying deodorants, or by changing their underpants very often. However, this usually leads to infections, most commonly bacterial vaginosis and sometimes yeast infection (or thrush).
What most women fail to understand is that vaginal discharge does help keep their vagina clean and healthy by flushing out dead cells and bacteria. At the same time, the discharge also lubricates the vagina during sexual intercourse to make penetration less painful and more pleasurable for women. This type of discharge is frequently referred to as “lubricating discharge” or “lube,” and is produced by different glands as compared to regular, day-to-day vaginal discharge is clear to whitish in color, has no odor, and ranges from watery to thick and creamy. The smell can be sometimes musky depending on how much comes out of your vagina. The amount of vaginal discharge varies from woman to woman – on average, the vagina produces about one teaspoon of mucus every day. While some women report minimal amounts of discharge throughout their menstrual cycle, others experience consistent wetness of the vulva as a result of the huge amounts of mucus that their vagina secretes.
The discharge helps maintain your vagina clean and healthy, preventing bacteria and other organisms from traveling to the cervix (neck of womb) and uterus (womb). Moreover, the discharge maintains the vaginal environment acidic to prevent bacteria from festering and causing infections.
What Does Green Vaginal Discharge Mean?
Thick green discharge from vagina is most commonly caused by an infection, usually bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and Chlamydia. These infections exhibit many common symptoms – of these, abnormal discharge is the most notable. Its color ranges from yellow-green to dark green, although hue differs from woman to woman. The consistency is typically pasty, clumpy and feels like lotion or a thick cream when rubbed between fingers. The discharge has a fishy odor that becomes particularly strong after sex. Moreover, the amount of discharge tends to double or triple during intercourse as a result of sexual arousal.
- Sexually Transmitted DiseasesVaginal infections caused by sexually transmitted diseases are also accompanied by itching, swelling of the vulva (medically known as vulvitis), redness, soreness, pelvic pain, painful urination, and sometimes even spotting between periods. STDs can be acquired specifically by unprotected sex with multiple partners, but there are cases in which the infection can be spread by contact with infected bodily fluids, towels, swimming suits, underpants and more.
Most of the time, symptoms are mild, and the presence of lime green discharge goes unnoticed. As such, women should consult a gynecologist or go to a sexual health clinic for routine examinations every few months to ensure that there is no infection.
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
If caused by bacterial vaginosis, yellowish green discharge is often the result of changes in the bacterial flora of the vagina. These changes are caused by hygiene products, hormonal changes or stimulated by sexual intercourse, although this happens quite rarely. Pregnant women are at risk of bacterial vaginosis due to the many hormonal changes that occur in their bodies, so very frequent gynecological examinations are required to identify potential infections on time.
- Foreign Objects Inside the Vagina
Forgotten tampons, as well as other foreign objects inside of the vagina, may also trigger infections (and thus, bright green mucus) by allowing bacteria to fester. Moreover, they usually have an impact on the bacterial flora of the vagina, altering its acidic environment and creating the right conditions for bad bacteria to fester. You should remove the object from your vagina as soon as possible, or go to a sexual health clinic and have it removed to prevent complications. Keep in mind that the green discharge from vagina may continue after the object has been removed until the infection has been cleared up.
- Use of Hygiene Products
Many times, hygiene products do more harm than good, especially when it comes to your vagina. They alter its pH and cause irritations, swelling and redness, which in turn upset the bacterial flora and give the green light to infections to develop. If you experience green discharge from vagina, think back to the last time you’ve cleaned your intimate area. Was it very recently? Have you used scented soaps or other so-called “feminine” hygiene products? Have you douched? Have you used any sprays or deodorants? If yes, then your hygiene habits are probably causing abnormal discharge. Rely on plain tap water to wash down there, and use only mild, unscented soap if you want that feeling of cleanliness. Wear cotton undies and use only sanitary pads to absorb excessive discharge and avoid wetting your clothes.
Seek Medical Assistance Immediately
If you experience green vaginal discharge along with itching or other symptoms mentioned above, make sure to call your doctor and make an appointment as soon as possible to get examined and see what’s causing them. Your doctor will take a sample of the discharge and examine it under the microscope to identify the type of infection you’re dealing with. He may also scrape cells from the opening of your cervix for a Pap smear to see if you have cancer cells in the body.