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What Is Considered Normal Vaginal Discharge?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Normal vaginal discharge is usually white or clear and thick, sticky, creamy, or wet in consistency. If it has an odor, it is usually very mild and not foul smelling. In most cases, a woman's normal vaginal discharge isn't irritating and does not cause itching. Some women feel alarmed by the amount of discharge they have, but the amount may vary from woman to woman as well as at different points in a menstrual cycle.

Some women become upset by the presence of vaginal discharge. They may, for example, feel it means they are dirty or have an infection, but this is a misconception. Most women have some type of vaginal discharge, and it is usually not associated with lack of cleanliness, nor is it a sign of infection. The appearance, feel, and consistency of vaginal discharge may vary from woman to woman, however. In fact, one woman may even experience different types of discharge at various points in her menstrual cycle.

In most cases, normal vaginal discharge is white or clear. A woman may have discharge that is thick, sticky, creamy, thin, watery, or elastic — all of these are within the realm of normal discharge. Interestingly, a woman's discharge changes in conjunction with her fertility. For example, it may appear white and thick or creamy during less-fertile parts of her menstrual cycle and then become clear, wet, and stretchy when she is close to ovulation; these changes are normal and not cause for alarm.

A woman may also wonder if she has a normal amount of vaginal discharge. The amount varies from woman to woman, and even from cycle to cycle. On average, however, a woman may have about 1 teaspoon (4.92 milliliters) of discharge daily.

Some women may also wonder whether odor is normal when it comes to vaginal discharge. Usually, a woman's vaginal discharge is odorless or mild smelling. In fact, if discharge does have a smell, it is usually so mild that a woman may not notice it. A foul-smelling vaginal discharge is not normal, however, and may develop as a sign of an infection or a sexually transmitted disease.

Besides a foul smell, there are other signs a woman may notice if she is experiencing abnormal discharge. For example, if a woman's discharge is yellow, green, black, or gray, this may be a sign of infection. Additionally, normal discharge is usually not accompanied by pain, irritation, or itching.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon326718 — On Mar 23, 2013

I have the same problem. My discharge is normal but it smells like tuna. Please help.

By Kristee — On Sep 24, 2012

One of the signs of a yeast infection is white clumpy vaginal discharge. Though the color isn't abnormal, the texture and volume are.

I always know when I have a yeast infection. It itches so terribly, and clumps fall out on a regular basis.

Just knowing that this discharge is present in the canal makes me itch even more! It's not something you could just scratch away, though, even if you could reach it. You have to get medication for it.

By kylee07drg — On Sep 23, 2012

I usually have a yellow vaginal discharge, but I don't think anything is wrong with me. It's sort of a yellowish-white and not a bright yellow.

By feasting — On Sep 22, 2012

@wavy58 – You don't always have to go by the appearance of the discharge to know when something is wrong. The fact that you have far more than normal vaginal odor does point to a problem.

It sounds like you may have bacterial vaginosis. Though you may not notice it, your discharge is probably gray. That was the color of mine when I had this condition.

The discharge did smell like fish. Antibiotics took care of it, though. You do need to go to the doctor to get rid of it.

By wavy58 — On Sep 22, 2012

I wear colored underwear, so it's hard to tell exactly what color my discharge is. However, I've been having abnormal vaginal odor, so I think something is up.

It smells kind of like tuna. I change underwear twice a day, and I'm always embarrassed that other people around me may be able to smell it.

I don't have any itching or burning, so I haven't gone to see a doctor. What could be wrong with me?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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