What Is Green Vaginal Discharge?

If you go to the bathroom and discover green discharge in your underwear or on the toilet paper, it's natural to be concerned. Having green discharge is always abnormal and merits attention from a healthcare provider.

Unfortunately, green vaginal discharge is often a sign of a sexually transmitted infection or a bacterial infection. This article will review the potential causes of green discharge, when to see a healthcare provider, and treatment options.

When to See a Doctor for Green Vaginal Discharge - Illustration by Julie Bang

Verywell / Julie Bang

What Is Green Discharge?

Green vaginal discharge is a green fluid that comes from the vagina. It may be:

  • Thick
  • Clumpy
  • Have the consistency of cottage cheese
  • Foul-smelling

Causes of Green Discharge

If your vaginal discharge is green in color, it is always a cause for concern and you should make an appointment with you healthcare provider. Green discharge is usually an indication of infection, underlying conditions, or a foreign body in the vagina. Potential causes include:

Trichomoniasis

Also colloquially called "trich," trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by a parasite. In the U.S., an estimated 2 million people are diagnosed with this condition per year.

It may cause discharge that is:

  • Thin
  • Foamy
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Green
  • Foul-smelling

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is an STI that is also known as "the clap."

It may cause a discharge from the vagina that is:

  • Thick
  • Green
  • Yellow

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common form of sexually transmitted infection. It may cause a discharge from the vagina that is:

  • Green
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Foul-smelling

Bacterial Vaginosis

Also called BV, bacterial vaginosis happens when there is an overgrowth of the wrong type of bacteria in the vagina. This changes the normal balance of bacteria within the vagina and can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as itching and discharge that is:

  • Green
  • Off-white
  • Grey
  • Fishy smelling

Vulvovaginitis

Also called vaginitis, vulvovaginitis refers to an infection or swelling in the vagina or the vulva.

It may cause a discharge from the vagina that is:

  • Frothy
  • Greenish
  • Yellow

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is typically caused by an STI and is an infection of the reproductive organs of a female. It may cause a discharge that is:

  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Smelly

Foreign Objects in Vagina

If there is something in the vagina that shouldn't be there (called a foreign body), such as lost or forgotten, the body can produce discharge in reaction to it. This discharge may be:

  • Green
  • Brown
  • Foul-smelling

Other Symptoms That Can Happen With Green Discharge

Green discharge may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms.

Genital and Reproductive Tract Symptoms

Symptoms that may impact the genitals or reproductive system include:

  • Redness of the vulva or vagina
  • Swelling of the vulva or vagina
  • Itchy vagina or vulva
  • Cracks or cuts to the vulva
  • Burning when urinating
  • Painful sex
  • Irregular periods
  • Bleeding between periods

Other Symptoms

As well as genital or reproductive tract symptoms, green discharge may be accompanied by other symptoms of the above conditions, including:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Bleeding or discharge of mucus from the rectum
  • Throat infection or pain (if infected via oral sex)

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

You should immediately contact your healthcare provider if you have green discharge accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • A fever
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Known exposure to a sexually transmitted infection

You should also be aware of symptoms that may be an indication of an infection that requires treatment. See your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden changes to color, consistency, or odor of discharge
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Swelling in the genital area
  • Redness in the genital area
  • Symptoms worsen
  • Symptoms persist for longer than a week
  • Blisters on the vagina or vulva
  • Sores on the vagina or vulva
  • Burning with urination

You should always see your healthcare practitioner under the following circumstances:

  • The symptoms do not completely go away, even with treatment
  • Symptoms return immediately or soon after you finish treatment
  • You have other medical conditions like diabetes
  • You have a new sexual partner
  • You may be pregnant

Green Discharge in Pregnancy

Clear to white discharge is normal in pregnancy, and not a cause for concern. Green or brown discharge can be an indication of an infection like thrush or bacterial vaginosis. See your healthcare provider if you develop discharge that is cause for concern.

Treatments for Green Discharge

In order to treat green discharge, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis. Depending on which condition is causing your discharge, there are a number of treatment options for green discharge including medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

Medical Treatment

Medical treatments for green discharge will vary based on the cause. They may include:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Medicine inserted into the vagina
  • Oral medication, such as antibiotics

Home Remedies/Lifestyle Changes

There are many ways to avoid abnormal discharge. These include:

  • Practicing safer sex
  • Wiping from front to back
  • Wearing cotton underwear in the day
  • Not wearing underwear at night to allow the genitals to "breathe"
  • Avoiding hot tubs
  • Bathing every day and patting dry the genital area
  • Not douching
  • Not using feminine hygiene spray
  • Not using colored or perfumed toilet paper
  • Not using deodorized pads or tampons
  • Not using scented bubble bath

Summary

Green discharge is always abnormal and warrants medical attention. It may be a sign of infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, or a foreign body in the vagina. Your healthcare provider will be able to make a diagnosis and advise you about appropriate treatment.

A Word From Verywell

It can be alarming to discover something unusual, like green vaginal discharge, in your underwear. But while this development is a cause for concern, remember that most conditions that can cause green discharge are easily treatable. The sooner that you make an appointment with your healthcare provider, the sooner you can get appropriate treatment and be on your way to feeling better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get rid of green discharge?

    Green discharge is often a sign of an infection or medical condition and will require diagnosis treatment by a healthcare provider. In many cases, treatment will include prescription antibiotics.

  • Can yeast infection discharge look green?

    Yeast infections typically cause discharge that is white, clumpy, and odorless. If your discharge is green, it is likely related to a different infection or condition.

  • Can you have green discharge and not have an STI?

    While green discharge is often indicative of an STI, it may also be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease, bacterial vaginosis, or a foreign body stuck in the vagina.

  • Does trichomoniasis go away?

    Trichomoniasis will not go away on its own. It requires proper treatment. Without treatment, the infection can last for months or years. The infection can be passed on to sexual partners during the entire time of infection.

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12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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