Top 9 Reasons That Causes White Discharge and What They Mean


Every women experiences vaginal discharge at various points throughout her menstrual cycle. In most cases, discharge is perfectly normal, but depending on the color and consistency, discharge can also be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. White discharge is one of the most common types of discharge that women experience. Here are the top 9 causes of white vaginal discharge.

[Read more about Vaginal discharge]

 Reasons That Causes White Discharge and What They Mean

1. Routine Cleaning

In most cases, white discharge is merely the body’s way of keeping the vagina clean. The fluid is produced by glands inside of the vagina, and the cervix then carries away bacteria and dead cells. The purpose of this discharge is to keep the vagina healthy and free of infection.

2. Ovulation

The secretion of vaginal discharge decreases significantly just after your period, but picks back up in the few days after your menstrual cycle ends. Just prior to ovulation, the body produces more vaginal discharge. Many women are able to predict ovulation just by judging the amount of consistency of discharge.

If you’re ovulating, you may notice a creamy white discharge that has the consistency of egg whites. The body produces the greatest amount of this discharge on the day of ovulation. Just after ovulation, discharge becomes thicker gradually.

[Read more about Ovulation]

3. Yeast Infection

If you’re seeing thick white discharge that resembles cottage cheese, this could be an indication of a yeast infection. Along with the discharge, you may also be experiencing itching, swelling around the vulva and pain during sexual intercourse.

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida. Candida is a type of fungus that is normally found in the vagina, but when candida growth gets out of control, it leads to a yeast infection.

Yeast infections can be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Antibiotic use
  • Untreated diabetes
  • Weakened immune system

4. Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis looks background.

If you’re experiencing discharge that’s white, gray or yellow and has a fishy odor, it may be bacterial vaginosis. A mild infection, bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. To create a healthy environment, the vagina requires a balanced mix of both bacteria and yeast. When bacteria growth gets out of control, bacterial vaginosis occurs.

In many cases, this type of infection is mild and will go away on its own in just a few days. However, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Doctors are still unsure of what causes bacterial vaginosis, but they believe that a few factors contribute to the overgrowth of bacteria, including:

  • Having sexual intercourse with multiple partners
  • Douching

Avoiding douching and limiting your sexual partners can help reduce your chances of developing bacterial vaginosis.

5. Your Period

If you’re expecting your period in the next few days, you may see milky white discharge. Milky white discharge before a period is perfectly normal. In the days leading up to your period, the cervix and uterus produce more fluid to clean out the vagina before menstruation.

6. Pregnancy

Many women experience more discharge than usual during pregnancy. Milky white vaginal discharge may be a sign of pregnancy, especially if it appears in greater quantities. Pregnancy discharge is odorless and mild-smelling.

While pregnant women experience more discharge than normal, it’s important to remember that this is not a tell-tale sign of pregnancy. A home pregnancy test or a visit with the doctor are the only reliable ways to confirm a pregnancy.

7. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis looks on the white.

If you see discharge that is foamy and smells foul, you may have contracted trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. This condition affects more women than men, but it is possible to pass the infection on to your sexual partners through sexual contact.

The good news is that trichomoniasis is a common STD that’s easy curable. Along with abnormal discharge, you may also experience:

  • Vaginal irritation and itching
  • Painful urination
  • Discomfort during sex

Some women may also experience pain in the lower abdomen, although this is rare. A simple oral antibiotic is all that’s needed to treat the infection.

8. Gonorrhea

If your discharge is cloudy or has a yellow hue, it may be a sign of gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, and is common among people who have multiple sexual partners. The infection is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea, and it can easily spread in the mucus membranes of the body.

Other symptoms of gonorrhea include:

  • Bleeding in between periods
  • A burning sensation during urination
  • Pain in the pelvic area or lower abdomen
  • Spotting after sex
  • Burning and swelling in the throat after oral sex
  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Conjunctivitis

Oftentimes, symptoms are mild in women and easily go unnoticed. Unfortunately, many women mistake gonorrhea discharge for a yeast infection and attempt to treat the condition with over the counter medications. To prevent complications, be sure to visit your doctor if you notice discharge that is out of the ordinary.

9. Irregular Periods

If your normally white discharge starts turning a bloody or brown color, it may be an indication of irregular periods. In rare cases, it’s also a sign of endometrial or cervical cancer.

There are numerous things that can cause irregular menstrual cycles, but a hormonal imbalance is generally the main issue. Endometriosis, PCOS, birth control, lifestyle factors and a host of other thing can lead to hormonal imbalances that cause irregular menstrual cycles.

If you normally experience normal white discharge, but are now seeing brown or blood discharge, see your doctor as soon as possible. Changes in discharge color, smell or consistency can be a sign of a medical condition, or in some cases, pregnancy.

Every women experiences vaginal discharge, and in most cases, the discharge you are seeing is perfectly normal. However, changes in color, consistency and odor can be an indication of a medical problem. See your gynecologist if you experience a change in your discharge, or if you suspect you might be pregnant. Discharge can be a sign of pregnancy, and it’s important to start taking measures to support a healthy pregnancy early on.


  1. My period date june15 after tat July period didn’t came ..may I kwn I m I pregnant …ND but first bleeding coming but period it’s came …I checked wid prega news it’s showing positive … may I kwn I m I pregnant … please help me

  2. My periods were due on 20 September bit today is 11september and I’m getting white powder type itchy and discharge am I pregnant but my boy took out his sperm just his water was therr

  3. Plz help me I do have white thick discharge through out my circle but it doesn’t itch nor smell but comes out more In some days 4th Jan others. Plz I don’t even get the ovulation mucus that is clear slippery and stretchy. I need your help

  4. Pls doctor since last month 24 that i finish seen my period an still seen sth that look cream white thick after some few day it start coming out with light cream drawing like okoro till now. What can i call it.thanks

  5. Hi guys I’m trying to convince so i took pregnacare conception tables as from Thursday last week and now I have a milky and creamier white mild ordour discharge…what could possibly be this discharge simbolising,…am I Greg?…/is it normal?? Please help


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