Symptoms A-Z

What Causes Green Vaginal Discharge & When to See A Doctor

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.

This symptom can also be referred to as: green fluid from the vagina

An image depicting a person suffering from green vaginal discharge symptoms

Green Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker

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Contents

  1. Symptoms
  2. Causes
  3. 2 Possible Green Vaginal Discharge Conditions
  4. Treatments and Relief
  5. FAQs
  6. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  7. Statistics
  8. References

Green Vaginal Discharge Symptoms

Vaginal discharge is a mixture of cells and bodily fluid excreted through the vagina. Normal discharge can vary in amount, color, and consistency, but most often the quantity and quality of vaginal discharge changes depending on the stage of your menstrual cycle [1].

Nevertheless, vaginal discharge that differs significantly from your normal pattern may be a sign of an underlying problem. Abnormal vaginal discharge may have an unusual odor and appearance.

The discharge may appear green or brown instead of white or clear, and along with change in color you may also experience:

Green Vaginal Discharge Causes

Causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are often readily diagnosed and treatable, so it is important to follow up on your symptoms and seek medical attention promptly once you experience symptoms.

Infectious

The female reproductive system is open to the environment via the vagina, making it particularly susceptible to infection by not only outside organisms but organisms already present within the vagina [3,4].

  • Bacterial: Bacteria that normally inhabits the vagina can overgrow and cause infection that leads to abnormal vaginal discharge. Furthermore, sexually transmitted bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause similar symptoms [3].
  • Fungal: Yeast is a type of fungus normally present in the vagina under a delicate balance. When this balance is disrupted, yeast can also overgrow and cause infection that results in vaginal itching and abnormal discharge [4].

Other green vaginal discharge causes

Other causes that can result in green vaginal discharge include the following [5,6].

  • 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.

2 Possible Green Vaginal Discharge Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced green vaginal discharge. 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

Green Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having green vaginal discharge

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

Green Vaginal Discharge Treatments and Relief

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

Keep the following in mind:

  • For itching or swelling: Use a cold compress like an ice pack wrapped in a wash cloth to alleviate discomfort [7].
  • 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 for green vaginal discharge

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

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are available for many sexually transmitted infections and bacteria [5].
  • 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 [6].

FAQs About Green Vaginal Discharge

Here are some frequently asked questions about green vaginal discharge.

What color is the discharge from a bacterial infection?

Bacterial infection can cause discharge of many colors. If the infection is from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), discharge may be yellow, white, red, or grey. Trichomonas is a microscopic parasite that causes a sexually transmitted infection. It can commonly cause a grey-green vaginal discharge [8].

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 one has trichomonas vaginalis, it is also likely that a concurrent infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia is present. You should seek medical treatment for both diseases in addition to trichomonas [8].

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 individual who is infected. Commonly this can occur through contact of mucus membranes. Because it only tends to colonize genitals, it is transmitted through vagino-vaginal contact or penile-vaginal contact [8].

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 should be treated with antibiotic medications that are safe for your baby. To confirm that green discharge is a sign of trichomonas, you should visit your physician and seek proper diagnosis and treatment.

What causes light green discharge without odor?

Light green discharge can occur with or without odor and is usually caused by trichomonas vaginalis. The odor that it usually causes can be subtle and can be elicited by the addition of certain chemicals as a test. If you believe that you have a sexually transmitted infection you should seek medical treatment.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Green Vaginal Discharge

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

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

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having green vaginal discharge

Green Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced green vaginal discharge have also experienced:

  • 24% Vaginal Itch Or Burning
  • 18% Vaginal Discharge
  • 9% Foul-Smelling Vaginal Odor

People who have experienced green vaginal discharge were most often matched with:

  • 55% Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • 44% Vaginal Trichomonas Infection

People who have experienced green vaginal discharge had symptoms persist for:

  • 39% Less than a week
  • 26% Less than a day
  • 18% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Green Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having green vaginal discharge

References

  1. Diseases Characterized by Vaginal Discharge. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2010. CDC Link
  2. Dou N, Li W, Zhao E, Wang C, Xiao Z, Zhou H. Risk Factors for Candida Infection of the Genital Tract in the Tropics. African Health Sciences. 2014;14(4):835-839. PubMed Link
  3. Vaginal Discharge. American Academy of Family Physicians: FamilyDoctor. Published April 1, 2014. FamilyDoctor Link
  4. deBeche-Adams TH, Bohl JL. Rectovaginal Fistulas. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 2010;23(2):99-103. Clinics and Rectal Surgery
  5. Vaginal Discharge. NHS. Published January 17, 2018. NHS Link
  6. Huffman GB. Diagnosing Uncomplicated Cystitis in Women. American Family Physician. 2002;66(10):1943-1944. AFP Link
  7. Vaginal Yeast Infection: Care Instructions. Kaiser Permanente. Published October 6, 2017. Kaiser Permanente Link
  8. Trichomoniasis - CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published July 14, 2017. CDC Link