Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vaginal discharge

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

Discharge from the vagina


Home Care

To help prevent and treat vaginal discharge:

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry.
  • Do not douche. While many women feel cleaner if they douche after menstruation or intercourse, it may actually worsen vaginal discharge because it removes healthy bacteria lining the vagina that are there to protect you from infection. It can also lead to infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes, and is never recommended.
  • Use an over-the-counter yeast infection treatment cream or vaginal suppository, if you know that you have a yeast infection.
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures or take Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets when you are on antibiotics to avoid a yeast infection.
  • Use condoms to avoid catching or spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders in the genital area.
  • Avoid wearing extremely tight-fitting pants or shorts, which may cause irritation.
  • Wear cotton underwear or cotton-crotch pantyhose. Avoid underwear made of silk or nylon, because these materials are not very absorbent and restrict air flow. This can increase sweating in the genital area, which can cause irritation.
  • Use pads and not tampons.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under good control if you have diabetes.

If the discharge is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, your sexual partner (or partners) must be treated as well, even if they have no symptoms. Failure of partners to accept treatment can cause the infection to keep coming back and may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility.


Call your health care provider if

Call your doctor right away if:

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Review Date: 11/01/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)