Yellow Discharge: Causes and What Does It Mean? (Including Different Types)



Vaginal discharge can be a status of your vaginal health. If you noticed a yellow discharge on your underwear and are wondering if it’s considered normal or not, good news: we’ve got you covered. 

Read the rest of this post to learn more about what your vaginal discharge may mean.

What Does Yellow Vaginal Discharge Mean?

Yellow discharge can mean many things depending on its odor, consistency, color, and amount.

The general rule is if it’s odorless, you probably have nothing to worry about. 

But if it comes with a foul smell, soreness, pain, or itching, those may be signs of an infection.

Is Yellow Discharge a Normal Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy?

Although what you get during pregnancy is usually white discharge, an odorless, creamy yellow discharge is also perfectly normal.

But like what we mentioned above, you have to watch out for any foul-smelling discharge accompanying the discharge. You might have an infection if that’s the case.  When left untreated, your newborn child could get exposed to the infection, too. 

That’s why you should visit a health care provider at the first sign of an infection.

The Different Types of Yellow Discharge

Yellow vaginal discharge doesn’t have a standard hue. It can be pale, bright, or even appear to be combined with another color.

Here’s what they usually mean:

  • Pale yellow discharge. If this is what you have, keep calm and carry on. Pale yellow watery discharge before your period is considered healthy discharge, as long as it doesn’t come with any foul odor or vaginal itching.
  • Bright yellow discharge. This one should raise some alarm bells, especially if it comes with a foul odor. In this case, it may be a vaginal infection.
  • Brownish-yellow discharge. A few days into your menstrual cycle, the blood will turn from red to brown, then brownish-yellow. Yellowish vaginal discharge is normal in this case as it’s simply leftover menstrual blood.
  • Yellow-green discharge. Usually, this type of abnormal discharge comes with a fishy odor. If this is what you have, you might have an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.

Signs of Yellow Discharge

It’s pretty easy to spot if you have a yellow discharge. You’ll notice a light yellow to dark yellow-green discharge on your underwear or when you wipe your intimate area.

But the discharge itself isn’t the issue. It’s the potential causes that you may need to be worried about.

Causes of Yellow Discharge

There are many possible reasons behind a yellow discharge. Some of them aren’t serious at all, while others could require medical treatment. 

Check out the potential causes here:

Menstrual Period

Yellow mucus discharge is often a sign your monthly period is about to start. This is just a mixture of early period blood and good old mucus discharge.

Early Pregnancy

If you’re sexually active and notice a thick yellow discharge on your panties, consider getting a pregnancy test. After all, that type of discharge is usually associated with early pregnancy.


Did you know that 5% of women aged 14 to 24 have chlamydia? It’s a common sexually transmitted bacterial disease that causes yellow sticky discharge with a foul odor.

To check if you have chlamydia before you go to the doctor, see if you also have these additional symptoms:

  • Rectal pain or bleeding
  • A burning sensation during sex or urination
  • Spotting between periods


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite.

But your discharge may not just be yellow. It could also be green, white, or gray. Watch out for that fishy odor, too!

Apart from the discharge, here are a few other symptoms you may experience if you have trichomoniasis:

  • Itchiness on your inner thighs and vaginal area
  • Burning sensation while peeing
  • Excessive vaginal discharge
  • Swelling or soreness around the vagina
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Yeast Infections

When your vagina fails to maintain the natural environment needed to keep itself healthy, you develop a yeast infection.

In yeast infection, your vagina produces more yeast than it usually does. Whitish yellow clumpy discharge is the most obvious symptom, but you should also take note of:

  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Discomfort, pain, or burning sensation while peeing
  • Redness, swelling, itching, and irritation of the vulva and vagina

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Once bacteria travels from your vagina to your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, sexually transmitted infections develop into pelvic inflammatory disease.

Watch out for other common symptoms like:

  • Pain and/or bleeding during sexual intercourse
  • Fever of at least 100℉
  • Spotting between periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent and painful urinary discharge

How to Get Rid of Yellow Discharge?

There’s no one way to go about treating yellow discharge. The treatment plan would depend on its underlying cause and how bad your symptoms are.

Most of the time, you just have to wait it out. After all, if it doesn’t stink or cause any type of discomfort, it will most likely go away on its own.

But if you have, say, a yeast infection, you’ll most likely be prescribed an ointment, suppository, antifungal cream, or tablet.

For yellow STD discharge and bacterial infections, time is of the essence as they can worsen. You’d be taking antibiotics, but if they don’t work, you might need to be hospitalized so you can recover well.

When Should You See a Doctor?

For the most part, you don’t have to worry about yellow vaginal discharge.  

But you should probably go to your OB-GYN if you experience any of these with your yellow discharge:

  • It develops a different color.
  • It has a foul or fishy smell.
  • You feel sore and itchy.
  • There’s pain in your pelvic area, which gets worse when you’re urinating.

If any of these apply to you, it’s best to visit a medical practitioner.  Your doctor will diagnose the potential underlying issue through a pelvic exam. They’ll take a sample of the discharge and screen it for infections and sexually transmitted diseases, then provide medical advice.

Just remember, don’t use a douche or spermicide before the exam. This will help your doctor draw an accurate sample from you.