What infections can cause vaginal discharge?

Infections that can cause vaginal discharge include bacterial vaginosis (BV), trichomoniasis and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), often referred to as a "yeast infection." Though these may produce some similar symptoms, there are differences—and they are treated differently.

For example, the discharge from VVC looks sort of like cottage cheese, while the discharge with trichomoniasis is yellowish-green, and the discharge from BV is white or gray and milky looking. However, even a healthcare professional will not rely on sight alone to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Many women don't seek medical help for vaginal symptoms. They wait for them to go away or try to self-diagnose their problem. Most women will experience a vaginal infection with discharge, odor and itching at some time in their life, but the symptoms and the treatment vary, depending on the type of infection. That's why it's important to be evaluated by your healthcare provider as soon as symptoms appear.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.