Vaginal discharge, or the fluid that comes out of your vagina, is a totally normal bodily function. It’s typical for your vaginal discharge to change slightly throughout the month, but there are some changes that could indicate a problem. Keep reading to learn how you can distinguish healthy discharge from abnormal discharge and what you can do to keep your pH balance in check.


Wear cotton underwear.

  1. Let your vagina breathe throughout the day. Try to avoid wearing tights, leotards, bathing suits, or leggings for a long period of time, since they can disrupt your pH balance. At night, you can go underwear-free and let your vagina air out while you sleep.[1] Change into clean underwear every day, or any time you get especially sweaty.
    • Synthetic underwear, like polyester, can also disrupt your pH balance. Try to wear cotton underwear when possible.
    • If your clothes get damp or sweaty, try to change as soon as you can. Moisture prevents your vagina from being able to breathe.
    • Stick to white or light-colored underwear, since dark dyes can cause allergies or irritation. However, laundering new underwear before you use it can reduce the risk of bad reactions.[2]

Use unscented pads and tampons.

  1. Scented menstrual products can disrupt your pH balance. When you’re picking out products, always go for natural cotton ones that don’t have a fragrance added to them. Try to change your menstrual product every 2 to 4 hours to keep your vagina happy and your discharge healthy.[3]
    • You should also stay away from colored or scented toilet paper, as it can also disrupt your pH balance.[4]

Pee after sexual intercourse.

  1. It will help flush out any bacteria that have been introduced. These bacteria can lead to a urinary tract infection or a change in discharge. Try to go to the bathroom within an hour after you finish having sex to avoid any problems.[5]
    • If you have stomach pain, lower back pain, painful urination, a fever, or bloody urine, you might have a urinary tract infection. Make an appointment with your doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics.[6]

Wear a pantyliner to keep your underwear dry.

  1. Change it every few hours to absorb discharge. Try not to wear pantyliners every single day, as they can cause irritation over time.[7] There’s no shame in having a lot of discharge—some people have more discharge, while others have less.[8]
    • If you don’t want to deal with a pantyliner, you can also pack a few extra pairs of underwear and change them throughout the day.
    • Unfortunately, wearing a pantyliner too often can upset the balance of healthy bacteria and yeast in your vagina.[9] If you don’t feel comfortable without one, make sure to use liners that are breathable and unscented. Limit how much time you have the liner in (e.g., only wear it when you leave home, and never sleep with a liner in your underwear).

Practice safe sex to prevent STDs.

  1. STDs can cause abnormal discharge. If you’re sexually active, make sure you use condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If you had unprotected sex with someone and you aren’t sure of their sexual history, make an appointment with your gynecologist to get tested.[10]
    • Remember that birth control protects against pregnancy, but only condoms protect against STDs and STIs.

Wipe front to back to prevent infections.

  1. Going back to front can introduce bacteria into your vagina. After you use the bathroom, make sure you always wipe yourself from front to back. It will keep the germs from your rectal area out of your vaginal canal.[11]
    • Wiping from back to front may lead to abnormal discharge, which is why it’s important to change the habit if you’ve gotten into it.

Wash your vulva with plain water and mild soap daily.

  1. Scented soaps can disrupt the pH balance in your vagina. When you’re in the shower, use your fingers, warm water, and some gentle, unscented soap to wash your inner and outer labia. There’s no need to use a douche or wash the inside of your vagina—your vaginal discharge actually cleans it for you. Try to take a shower every day to avoid bacteria buildup in your genitals.[12]
    • Using a douche or a vaginal wash can lead to abnormal discharge. Your vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned since it cleans itself. When in doubt, just leave it alone.
    • Baths and hot tubs can disrupt the pH balance of your vagina. Try to stick to showering for the majority of the time.

See a doctor if you’re experiencing abnormal discharge.

  1. Normal discharge is usually clear or milky in appearance. It might be thin, stringy, or have white spots. If this sounds like your discharge, you’re probably fine! Natural discharge is very important in keeping your vagina healthy. Abnormal discharge is best controlled by proper treatment. It includes:[13]
    • Thick, white, cheesy discharge—This is usually a sign of a yeast infection. May also be accompanied by itching or swelling around the vulva.
    • White, yellow or grey discharge—Especially if accompanied by a fishy odor, this type of discharge is likely a sign of bacterial vaginosis. May also be accompanied by itching and swelling.
    • Yellow or green discharge—May be a sign of trichomoniasis, which is commonly spread through sexual intercourse.
    • Brown or bloody discharge—This could be irregular menstruation, but it could also be cervical cancer, especially if it is accompanied by pelvic pain.
    • Cloudy yellow discharge—May be a sign of gonorrhea.
    • Ask your doctor about factors that can affect your discharge, like certain medications, pregnancy, and birth control pills.

Use medications as directed to treat an infection.

  1. Infections are the most common reason for abnormal discharge. If you are diagnosed with a vaginal yeast infection, you can treat it with antifungal agents such as butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and tioconazole. They usually come in creams, ointments, or pills that you can get from a doctor.[14]
    • Bacterial infections are usually treated with the antibiotics clindamycin and metronidazole.

Expert Q&A

Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.


      • If you’ve recently given birth, follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your vaginal area clean and dry, especially if you have any tears or stitches. You might also need to wear pads or pantyliners for several weeks to manage your discharge. Don’t apply any creams or lotions unless your doctor advises you to.


      You Might Also Like

      Wiki English: Cure Vaginal Infections Without Using MedicationsCure Vaginal Infections Without Using Medications
      Wiki English: Recognize and Avoid Vaginal InfectionsRecognize and Avoid Vaginal Infections
      Wiki English: Treat VaginitisTreat Vaginitis
      Wiki English: Stop Vaginal ItchingHow to Get Rid of Vaginal Itch: Home Remedies & Preventative Care
      Wiki English: Tell if Vaginal Discharge Is NormalTell if Vaginal Discharge Is Normal
      Wiki English: Treat Vaginal CystsHow to Get Rid of a Skene’s Gland Vaginal Cyst
      Wiki English: Get Rid of a Bartholin CystHow to Treat Bartholin Cysts at Home (Plus, When to Seek Medical Care)
      Wiki English: Recognize Vulva Cancer SymptomsSymptoms of Vulva Cancer (Plus Tips for Prevention)
      Wiki English: Insert Progesterone Suppositories Without an ApplicatorInsert Progesterone Suppositories Without an Applicator
      Wiki English: Do Perineal MassageDo Perineal Massage
      Wiki English: Use VagisilUse Vagisil
      Wiki English: Tell the Difference Between a Period and a MiscarriageTell the Difference Between a Period and a Miscarriage
      Wiki English: Heal Vaginal TearsHeal Vaginal Tears
      Wiki English: Insert Vaginal SuppositoriesInsert Vaginal Suppositories

      About This Article

      Wiki English: Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS
      Co-authored by:
      Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
      This article was co-authored by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006. This article has been viewed 3,711,633 times.
      8 votes - 88%
      Co-authors: 48
      Updated: September 9, 2021
      Views: 3,711,633
      Categories: Vaginal Health

      Medical Disclaimer

      The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

      Article SummaryX

      Vaginal discharge can be frustrating and embarrassing, but you can clear it up by using an unscented baby wipe to get rid of any excess discharge from the outside of your vagina. Change your underwear 2-3 times a day when you notice discharge, which will keep bacteria away from your vagina and reduce your discomfort. If you can, walk around the house without pants or sleep naked to air yourself out and reduce irritation. You can also use a pad or pantyliner if your discharge is particularly bad. However, you shouldn’t use these regularly, since they can increase your chance of infection. If your discharge is thick, white, yellow, grey, green, brown, or bloody, this could be a sign of infection, so contact your doctor for medication to clear it up. For more tips, including how to use herbal remedies to control your discharge, read on!

      Did this summary help you?

      How to Control Vaginal Discharge - Wiki How English

      Vaginal discharge, or the fluid that comes out of your vagina, is a totally normal bodily function. It’s typical for your vaginal discharge to change slightly throughout the month, but there are some changes that could indicate a problem. Keep reading to learn how you can distinguish healthy discharge from abnormal discharge and what you can do to keep your pH balance in check.

      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 3,711,633 times.

      Reader Success Stories

      • Wiki English: Jess Walker

        Jess Walker

        Jul 5, 2017

        "I had no idea that panty liners could make things worse. Mine is normal. I get a lot, but it got worse after I..." more
      Share your story

      Did this article help you?