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What Causes Green Vaginal Discharge?

There are many characteristics of vaginal discharge, however green discharge is an abnormal symptom caused from infection or chemical irritation. A common sexually transmitted bacterial infection that causes greenish discharge is vaginal Trichomonas. Read below for more information on related symptoms, other causes, and treatment options.

Green vaginal discharge symptoms explained

Vaginal discharge is a mixture of cells and bodily fluid excreted through the vagina, part of a healthy female body. Vaginal discharge can vary in amount, color, and consistency, but the quantity and quality of vaginal discharge often change depending on the stage of your menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, vaginal discharge that differs significantly, as in odor or appearance, may be a sign of an underlying problem.

Common accompanying symptoms

For example, your discharge may appear green or brown instead of white or clear. Along with a change in color, you may also experience the following.

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Why is my vaginal discharge green?

Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are often readily diagnosed and treatable. The following details may help you better understand your symptoms and if and when you need to see a physician.

Infectious causes

The female reproductive system is open to the environment via the vagina, making it particularly susceptible to infection by outside organisms or those already present.

  • Bacterial: Bacteria that normally inhabit the vagina can overgrow and cause an infection that leads to abnormal vaginal discharge. Furthermore, sexually transmitted bacteria, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can cause similar symptoms.
  • Fungal: Yeast is a type of fungus present in the vagina. When yeast increases, it can overgrow and cause an infection that results in vaginal itching and abnormal discharge.

Other causes

Other causes that can result in green vaginal discharge include the following.

  • Obstructive: Any object inserted into the vagina that can obstruct the flow of vaginal fluid may result in abnormal vaginal discharge. Tampons left in the vagina for too long are often a frequent offender.
  • Topical: Certain scented sprays and soaps and hygiene practices, such as douching, can disrupt the vaginal fluid balance and result in abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Anatomical: Rarely, an abnormal anatomical opening between the vagina and the rectum (called a fistula) allows feces to leak into the vagina, resulting in what may appear to be brown discharge with a foul odor.

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Vaginal trichomonas infection

Trichomonas vaginalis infection (or "Trichomoniasis" or "trich") is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite of the same name. It affects over 3 million people per year, but only about 30% have any symptoms.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: vaginal discharge, vulvovaginal odor, vaginal itch or burning, vaginal bleeding, white/gray vaginal discharge

Symptoms that always occur with vaginal trichomonas infection:vaginal discharge

Symptoms that never occur with vaginal trichomonas infection:vaginal ulcer

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is the general term for a bacterial infection of a woman's reproductive organs.

PID is most often a complication of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, it is possible to get PID from other causes.

Any woman can be affected. It is most often found in sexually active women under age 25, especially those who have had PID before, have multiple partners, and/or douche frequently.

Symptoms include fever, lower abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, pain and/or bleeding during sex, and pain on urination.

Untreated PID can cause infertility due to damaged tissue in the reproductive tract, as well as chronic pelvic and abdominal pain. Unprotected sex partners will be infected as well.

Diagnosis is made through symptoms, pelvic examination, vaginal and cervical swabs, and urine tests.

Treatment is with a course of antibiotics. Be sure to finish all of the medication as directed, even when you begin feeling better.

To prevent PID, have all partners (male or female) tested for STDs and avoid unprotected sexual contact.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain

Symptoms that always occur with pelvic inflammatory disease:fever, abdominal pain or unusual vaginal discharge

Urgency: In-person visit

When and how to treat a green vaginal discharge

At-home treatments

Try these at-home solutions and lifestyle changes to combat your green vaginal discharge symptoms, find relief, and prevent future occurrences.

  • For itching or swelling: Use a cold compress like an ice pack wrapped in a washcloth to alleviate discomfort.
  • For suspected fungal infections: You can buy an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream.
  • Limit douching and use of scented soaps: This can restore balance to your vaginal secretions and prevent abnormal discharge.
  • Use a condom during sexual intercourse: This is to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

When to see a doctor

If your green vaginal discharge symptoms continue, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may prescribe the following.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are available for many sexually transmitted infections and bacteria.
  • Surgery: If your abnormal discharge is the result of a fistula, you may need to have it surgically closed by a surgeon to restore normal function.

FAQs about green vaginal discharge

What color is the discharge from a bacterial infection?

Bacterial infection can result in a discharge of many colors. If the infection is from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), your discharge may be yellow, white, red, or grey. Trichomonas is a microscopic parasite that causes a sexually transmitted infection and a grey-green vaginal discharge.

Which STD causes green discharge?

STD, sexually transmitted disease, is also known as STI, sexually transmitted infection. Green discharge is commonly associated with Trichomonas vaginalis, which is a common STI (or STD). If you have trichomonas vaginalis, it's also likely to have concurrent gonorrhea or chlamydia. See a physician for proper treatment of these conditions.

Why do I have smelly green discharge?

A smelly (fishy) green discharge is a common sign of an infection with Trichomonas vaginalis. This infection is caused by sexual activity with another infected person through contact of mucous membranes. It transmits through vagino-vaginal contact or penile-vaginal contact since it tends to colonize the genitals.

Is light green discharge normal during pregnancy?

No, light green discharge is not normal during pregnancy. It is a sign of a bacterial infection with Trichomonas vaginalis, which requires antibiotic medications safe for your baby. Your physician can confirm that your green discharge is due to Trichomonas.

What causes light green discharge without odor?

Light green discharge can occur with or without odor and is usually due to Trichomonas vaginalis. The odor that it usually causes can be subtle or drawn out with chemicals as a test. If you believe that you have a sexually transmitted infection, see a physician.

Questions your doctor may ask about green vaginal discharge

  • Are you sexually active?
  • Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • When was your last menstrual period?
  • Do you bleed after having sex?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

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