Top Reasons for Yellow Discharge

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Vaginal discharge is a common thing during the monthly cycle. It is nothing but the body’s natural way to keep the vagina clean and moist, and flush out bacteria. The discharge is vital in maintaining the right balance between the natural bacteria and yeast that are always present in your vagina. There are different types of discharges – healthy one is usually clear, watery, white or pale yellow, and is devoid of any intense odour. Depending on which phase of the cycle you are in, the amount, colour & texture may vary. Your vaginal discharge offers clues to your health as well, wherein a change in colour or texture can indicate infections and other health problems.

Things to Know

  • Vaginal discharge is natural, and varies throughout the menstrual cycle
  • Vaginal discharge helps in identifying the phase of your menstrual cycle
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge differs in colour, texture or smell as compared to the usual discharge
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge may be a symptom of an infection, an STI, or bacterial infection
  • To keep your vagina healthy, avoid douching and maintain basic hygiene

A pale yellow discharge just before your period is considered normal, but it may signal an infection. Yellow discharge can be vary from being light yellow to dark yellow-green that is visible on your underwear. It is good to be aware of the reasons for yellow vaginal discharge so that you can catch anything that is not normal and have it treated on time. Read on know more about the causes for yellow discharge.

Causes for Yellow Discharge

Yellow vaginal discharge is not always a red flag! Based on the consistency, smell and texture, it can tell you whether it is owing to an infection or it is a part of one of the phases of your menstrual cycle.

1. Periods

Just before you start menstruating, you may experience thin, light yellow discharge, which is common. Watery, yellow discharge before period is the result of your vagina producing more mucus. The yellow colour is due to early menstrual blood that gets mixed with regular mucus discharge. While yellow watery discharge is common right before your period, it is a cause of concern if it has a foul smell or an abnormal texture.

Thick yellow discharge at the end of your period is normal as well. This discharge may have a yellowish tint to it if all the dead cells were not cleaned out of your body during your period.

2. Infections

Typically, discharge is odourless or may have a very slight odour. Foul-smelling discharge is a sign of infection. Poor hygiene or sexually transmitted diseases are a major cause of infections. In order to stay healthy, the vagina maintains a certain moisture and pH level, along with a balance of bacteria that work together to create the right conditions. Many things such as douching, antibiotics and hormonal imbalance due to a poor diet can disrupt this delicate ecosystem, leading to an infection.


Bacterial Vaginosis

Yeast Infection


Gonorrhea/ Chlamydia

Vaginal Discharge Type

Greyish-white or yellowish-white Fishy smell Thick, chunky, white Odourless Greenish or yellow Frothy Unpleasant Smell Yellowish-green Creamy


Itchiness of vagina Burning sensation when urinating Itching of vulva Vaginal pain and soreness Discomfort during urinating Swelling, redness of vagina Pain during urination Frequent urge to urinate Pain during intercourse Pelvic pain Burning during urination Vaginal bleeding between periods Increased discharge

Vaginal Yeast Infection

Also known as candidiasis, it is a common infection that occurs when the normal yeast level of the vagina multiplies beyond what is required.

Bacterial Vaginosis

This infection occurs when there is a change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. While the exact cause is unknown, it has been linked to smoking or use of a douche.

3. Pregnancy -

Pregnancy brings with it lot of changes owing to the increased hormones. The high levels of estrogen and progesterone are a reason for increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This usually is white in colour, thin and mild smelling, however a slightly yellow odourless discharge is also normal. Make sure to see a doctor if you notice a green or yellow discharge accompanied with a foul smell, as this could indicate an infection. Yeast infections is quite common during pregnancy.

When to see a doctor?

So, yellow vaginal discharge is not always a cause of concern, but more often than not, it may indicate an infection. When treated on time, it can save you from further complications. If you have a yellow discharge, then you must see your doctor, especially if it is accompanied by the below symptoms –

  • the discharge has a foul smell
  • texture of the discharge is chunky or frothy
  • your vagina is itchy or it pains urinating

Treatment for Yellow Discharge

Once the cause for the yellow vaginal discharge is diagnosed, the treatment typically is a cream and medicines prescribed by your doctor. The reason for yellow discharge can be treated relatively quickly in most cases. Treatment will be based on the severity of the symptoms.

It is important to understand your vaginal discharge and be able to identify normal from abnormal, so that you are in a better position to treat an infection, if one exists.