Green Discharge in Vagina: Causes and Treatments

Women ordinarily have some vaginal release that is typically whitish or transparent with least odor. It is common and normal to have some changes during the menstrual cycle, but a greenish vaginal discharge with a foul smelling mostly indicates infection or other underlying disorders. Here are some of the likely causes and parallel treatments for green discharge. If necessary, refer to your doctor for appropriate assessment and treatment.

7 Underlying Conditions Causing Green Vaginal Discharge

1. Foreign Bodies in the Vagina

A foreign body that has been left in the vagina for a long time, such as a tampon, may result in a modification of the normal bacteriological flora of the vagina, subsequently causing the appearance of an malodourous yellow to green or brown vaginal discharge.

Symptoms may include vaginal itching, green vaginal discharge, bleeding, rashes, pain on urination or sex and irritation. Symptoms may be inferred as a vaginitis, an STD or even a yeast infection by the patient or doctor.

Antibiotic treatment will not eradicate the symptoms if the foreign body is not carefully extracted. Although it usually doesn't lead to grave complications, pelvic abscess and consequent scarring have been noticed.

2. Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis or BV is caused by a disproportion of the bacteria normally present in the vagina. In women with BV, the normal healthy bacteria (in particular, lactobacilli) are replaced by an overgrowth of other varied bacteria.

Symptoms of BV may include watery, white, greyish or greenish vaginal discharge from vagina and a strong or uncommon fishy odor from the vagina. However, about half of all women with bacterial vaginosis will have no symptoms.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial vaginosis:

  • Metronidazole can be taken orally or applied topically but do not drink alcohol until at least one day after finishing the retreatment to avoid stomach upset, abdominal pain or nausea.
  • Clindamycin is a cream and should be inserted into your vagina but it can weaken latex condoms even 3 days after stopping using this cream.
  • Tinidazole is also taken orally and may cause nausea and stomach upset, so avoid alcohol until at least one day after finishing treatment.

Within 3-12 months, recurrence of symptoms may occur. If this happens, talk to your doctor for treatment like extended-use of metronidazole therapy.

3. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. It is most common amongst young adults. The bacteria that cause gonorrhea can infect the genital tract, mouth or anus. You can get gonorrhea during vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman can also pass it to her baby during childbirth.

Symptoms of gonorrhea are different in man and woman:

  • In men, gonorrhea can cause pain during urination and greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the penis. If untreated, it can affect the prostate and testicles.
  • In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild. Later, it can cause bleeding between periods, pain on urination, and white, yellow or green vaginal discharge. If untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and difficulties with pregnancy and infertility.

Treatments for gonorrhea are as follows:

  • The doctor may prescribe an injection of an antibiotic ceftriaxone in combination with other 2 antibiotics like azithromycin or doxycycline.
  • Your partner should get tested and treated even though they show no sign of gonorrhea.
  • Infant born to a mother with gonorrhea should be given medication in eyes to prevent infection soon after birth. If eye infection occurs, antibiotics should be used.

4. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is another sexually transmitted infection. It affects both men and women and befalls in all age groups. You may not know you have chlamydia because many people never develop any symptoms.

Symptoms of chlamydial infection may include painful urination, lower abdominal pain, yellow or green discharge from vagina or penis, painful sexual intercourse in women, bleeding between periods and after sex in women, and testicular pain in men.

Treatment for chlamydia is mainly antibiotics because it is a kind of bacterial infection. You may take a one single, large dose of Azithromycin, or you may spare the dose out over 5 days. Doxycycline can also be taken twice per day for about 1 week. Other antibiotics can also be used and in most cases, the infection resolves within 1 to 2 weeks. During that time, you should abstain from sex.

5. Vulvovaginitis

This is an irritation or inflammation of the vulva or vagina. It is very communal in young girls and can be activated by moisture, tight clothing, obesity and irritants such as soap.

Symptoms may include itchy vaginal area, green vaginal discharge, redness, burning during urination, stinging during urination and vaginal odor.

Treatments for vulvovaginitis should be chosen according to its causes:

  • If it turns out to be a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed. The doctor may recommend a topical antibiotic, antifungal cream, hydrocortisone cream, or an ointment to speed healing and soothe pain.
  • Regular warm baths (with no soap), cool compresses, Epsom salt soaks, and perhaps wet wipes may be helpful.
  • Your doctor probably will also recommend wearing loose clothing to allow air in and keep your vulva dry.
  • It's vital to keep the delicate tissue from repeated irritation because irritated tissue is more likely to become infected than normal tissue.

6. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the protozoan parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. Pregnant women who have trichomoniasis are at a risk of delivering babies prematurely.

Symptoms are not common but may include:

  • In women: A profuse and foul smelling greenish or whitish vaginal discharge, redness, burning sensation, itching and pain on urination.
  • In man: Symptoms are rare but may include irritation inside the penis, burning sensation on urination and discharge from penis.

Treatment: Trichomoniasis is curable. This infection can be treated with prescription medicines like metronidazole and tinidazole. Do not drink alcohol until 72 hour after taking the medicine, or you will suffer from nausea and vomiting. Abstainence from sexual intercourse is recommended until the infection resolves.

7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive tract and organs. It can cause irreparable damage to the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or other parts of the female reproductive system.

Symptoms may include tenderness in the lower part of the abdomen, unusual yellow or green vaginal discharge with an unusual odor, high grade fever, painful urination and pain during sexual intercourse.

Treatments include the following:

  • Taking antibiotics orally is the early treatment for mild cases of the disease.
  • Surgical intervention is often required when the disease results in an abscess and antibiotics are no longer as effective as before. Surgery helps take out the abscess and prevent them from perforation and spreading into other parts of the body.
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