What Are the Common Causes of Yellow Vaginal Discharge?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
NYC drivers spend an average of 107 hours per year looking for parking spots; the national average is 17 hours.  more...

September 21 ,  1939 :  US President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged Congress to repeal the Neutrality Acts.  more...

The most common causes of yellow vaginal discharge are various vaginal infections, primarily bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis. Some sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, may also lead to yellowish vaginal discharge. More rarely, an infection in the vagina due to an intrauterine device may lead to discharge which resembles pus.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of yellowish vaginal discharge. It is an infection which occurs when normal bacteria in the vagina grow more rapidly than usual and outnumber the "good" bacteria. Additional symptoms may include itching, inflammation, tenderness, burning, and a foul odor. This condition is generally easily treated with prescription antibiotics. Although it is most common in women who are sexually active, BV is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Another potential cause of vaginal discharge with a yellow color is trichomoniasis. This is a small parasitic organism which can potentially infect the vagina, digestive tract, and urinary tract. Symptoms of the vaginal version may include a yellow or green vaginal discharge which may be foamy in nature. A foul odor is also common, as well as irritation and pain upon urination if the infection spreads into the urinary tract. It is a sexually transmitted condition, although it is usually easily treated.


Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted diseases which may cause yellow vaginal discharge in some patients. Other symptoms can include irritation and redness around the genitals, pain when urinating, and sometimes lower abdominal pain. Both conditions can be treated when caught early, but when left untreated they may lead to serious damage within the reproductive tract.

Women may prevent most of these conditions by practicing safe sex and following proper hygiene practices. Wiping should be done from front to back to avoid getting fecal matter into the vagina. It is also a good idea to wear white cotton underwear, to avoid using perfumed soaps and douches, and to clean towels and undergarments after each use. Any unusual symptoms should be reported to a health care professional for proper treatment.

When testing to find the cause of yellow vaginal discharge a doctor will generally take a swab and collect samples of the discharge from the vagina. Sometimes additional swabs are taken from the cervix directly. Numerous samples may be taken if more than one infection is suspected. These samples are then sent to a lab for testing for each of the potential causes. Many times patients will be treated with a powerful broad spectrum antibiotic in order as a precaution in case symptoms are being caused by a more serious infection.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 6

I had unprotected sex after which I felt something like a boil inside my vagina. I took some antibiotics and after some days, I noticed the boil was gone. A week after my menstruation, an odorless yellowish pus started coming out of my vagina. Please, could this be an infection?

Post 5

I experience a yellowish-cream colored discharge almost constantly. During my last gynecologist appointment my doctor said that the discharge can be normal for some women.

My doctor also mentioned that using oral contraceptives can lead to this kind of discharge because it can cause the vaginal wall to become inflamed.

It could also be bacterial vaginosis. This can be caused be several things including menstruation, intercourse, tampons, or the use of vaginal cleansers, to name a few.

Post 4

@Oceana โ€“ You probably have a urinary tract infection. I have had several of these before, and I have the symptoms you have mentioned.

You should go to a doctor and get tested. He will give you antibiotics if you do have a UTI. If not, you need to find out what is causing the yellow discharge, anyway.

You can prevent these infections by drinking cranberry juice every day. You can also eat yogurt and pineapple, because both will act against the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.

Post 3

I started having a pale yellow vaginal discharge last week, and I have also been having cramps in my lower abdomen. It seems like I have to urinate a lot more often than normal, and I have not been drinking that much.

I just don't feel right. Something is โ€œoffโ€ in my body, and I'm not sure what. Has anyone else ever experienced something like this?

Post 2

@cloudel โ€“ Did he also tell you that if your vaginal discharge is yellow, it doesn't indicate a yeast infection? Yeast infection discharge is usually white and clumpy.

I have never had yellow discharge before, but I have had plenty of yeast infections, and the discharge is always the same. The itching usually begins before the discharge arrives, and when it does come out, it is full of solid clumps.

Post 1

I had thick yellow vaginal discharge once, and because of the itching that went along with it, I thought I had a yeast infection. I got some over-the-counter cream and inserted it, and I had a bad allergic reaction.

My entire vagina swelled almost completely shut. The swelling started early in the day and progressively got worse. By the end of the day, I feared that I would be unable to urinate, so I went to the emergency room.

I told them about the infection and the treatment I had used, and the doctor said that I had experienced an allergic reaction. He also said that I had bacterial vaginosis instead of a yeast infection, so the medication wouldn't have done any good anyway!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?