Vaginal itching and discharge - adult and adolescent


Vaginal discharge refers to secretions from the vagina. The discharge may be:

Itching of the skin of the vagina and the surrounding area (vulva) may be present along with vaginal discharge. It can also occur on its own.


Glands in the cervix and the walls of the vagina normally produce clear mucus. This is very common among women of childbearing age.

The following factors can increase the amount of normal vaginal discharge:

Different types of infections may cause itching or an abnormal discharge in the vagina. Abnormal discharge means abnormal color (brown, green), and odor. It is associated with itching or irritation.

These include:

Other causes of vaginal discharge and itching may be:

Less common causes include:

Home Care

Keep your genital area clean and dry when you have vaginitis. Make sure to seek help from health care provider for the best treatment.

Avoid douching. Many women feel cleaner when they douche, but it may actually worsen symptoms because it removes healthy bacteria that line the vagina. These bacteria help protect against infection.

Other tips are:

Allow more air to reach your genital area. You can do this by:

Girls and women should also:

Always practice safe sex. Use condoms to avoid catching or spreading infections.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider right away if:

Changes that could indicate a problem such as infection include:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will:

Tests that may be performed include:

Treatment depends on the cause of your symptoms.

Review Date: 9/28/2017
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.