Vaginal Discharge, Itching or Irritation

Vaginal discharge, itching and irritation are common symptoms that affect every woman at least once in her life. This guide will help you understand what may be causing your symptoms and will help you to know when it is important to seek medical attention.

It is normal for women to have a small amount of vaginal discharge. Normal vaginal discharge is cervical mucous, which is usually odorless and clear or light in color. Vaginal discharge will change over the course of a monthly menstrual cycle. Usually, vaginal discharge gets thicker and increases in quantity for a time between cycles, with these changes beginning about two weeks before the next period is due.

Most women notice less vaginal discharge after menopause than they had before menopause.

Have you already reached menopause?

Yes, I have started menopause or passed through menopause.

No, I have not reached menopause.

There are several infections that can cause vaginal discharge, itching and irritation. We will discuss the most common ones.

Yeast infections are extremely common in women. They can cause discharge, itching and irritation. Frequently, the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection can be easily recognized:

  • Is your discharge thick and white?

  • Does the discharge look like cottage cheese?

  • Does it smell yeasty, like bread rising in the oven?

  • Do you have a lot of vaginal itching?

Yes, I have at least one of these symptoms.

No, I do not have any of these symptoms.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »