Woman consulting with a healthcare provider at CityMD about yellow discharge, discussing symptoms and treatment options

Spotlight on women's health: what does yellow discharge mean?

Experiencing yellow discharge can be a bit concerning, but understanding the causes and knowing what to do can help put your mind at ease. Let’s break down why you might have yellow discharge, the conditions that can cause it, and how to treat it effectively.

Why do I have yellow discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a normal way your body keeps itself clean and healthy. However, when the color, consistency or smell changes, it might signal an issue. Here’s why you might notice yellow discharge.

Possible reasons for yellow discharge.

  • Infections. Infections are a common cause of yellow discharge. These can be bacterial, fungal, or sexually transmitted.
  • Normal variation. Sometimes, yellow discharge is just part of your normal cycle, especially if it’s light yellow and doesn’t have a strong odor.
  • Diet and hygiene products. Certain foods, supplements or hygiene products can sometimes change the color of your discharge.

Knowing the context and any other symptoms can help figure out if your yellow discharge is normal or a sign of something more.


Conditions that cause yellow discharge.

Several conditions can lead to yellow discharge. Here’s a look at some of them.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV).

  • Symptoms: Yellow or grayish discharge with a fishy odor.
  • Cause: An imbalance in the normal bacteria in the vagina.


  • Symptoms: Yellow-green, frothy discharge with a strong odor, itching, and discomfort.
  • Cause: A sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Yeast infections.

  • Symptoms: Thick, white, or yellow discharge with a cottage cheese consistency, itching, and redness.
  • Cause: Overgrowth of Candida fungus.

Cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

  • Symptoms: Yellow discharge, pelvic pain, fever, and sometimes bleeding between periods.
  • Cause: Inflammation or infection of the cervix or reproductive organs.


How to treat yellow discharge.

Treating yellow discharge depends on the underlying cause. Here’s what to do.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV).

  • Treatment: Antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider can restore the balance of bacteria in the vagina. 


  • Treatment: Prescription medication, usually metronidazole or tinidazole, is effective.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia.

  • Treatment: These infections are treated with specific antibiotics. It’s essential to treat both partners to prevent reinfection.

Yeast infections.

  • Treatment: Over-the-counter antifungal treatments can be effective, but you may need prescription medications for recurrent infections.

Cervicitis or PID.

  • Treatment: These conditions often require a combination of antibiotics, and early treatment is crucial to prevent complications.


When to see a healthcare provider at CityMD.

If you have yellow discharge with other symptoms like a strong odor, itching, pain or fever, it’s important to see a healthcare provider.

At CityMD, we offer comprehensive care and can provide a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your symptoms. Just walk into your neighborhood CityMD urgent care, and our healthcare team will be ready to help you. And if you need follow-up care we can connect you with a specialist in 80+ areas of medicine at our care partner Summit Health.

Understanding the potential causes and treatments for yellow discharge can help you take charge of your health. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice and care. We’re here to make sure you get the best care and feel comfortable again.

Health and Wellness

We’re ready to care for you.

Visit any CityMD urgent care location in your community today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.