What causes green vaginal discharge?
The most common cause of green vaginal discharge is a sexually transmitted infection known as trichomoniasis. This infection is caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis, sometimes referred to as “trich.”
Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can also cause vaginal discharge, but it tends to be more yellow or cloudy in appearance. The discharge due to bacterial vaginosis is more commonly white and tends to have a foul odor. A foul-smelling, colored discharge can also occur when a foreign body, such as a tampon, is in the vagina for an extended period of time.
Common causes of green vaginal discharge
Green vaginal discharge may be caused by conditions including:
- Bacterial vaginosis (imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, often involving overgrowth of the bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis)
- Chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis)
- Foreign body in the vagina
- Gonorrhea (sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae)
- Trichomoniasis (sexually transmitted disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis)
Questions for diagnosing the cause of green vaginal discharge
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your green vaginal discharge including:
- When did you first notice the discharge?
- Can you describe the color and consistency of the discharge?
- Does it have an odor?
- Have you had discharge like this before?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- Have you been intimate with anyone who has similar symptoms?
- What medications are you taking?
What are the potential complications of green vaginal discharge?
Because green vaginal discharge can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Ectopic pregnancy (life-threatening pregnancy growing outside the uterus)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, infection of a woman’s reproductive organs)
- Spread of disease to close contact or sexual partner
- Toxic shock syndrome (life-threatening condition involving a rapid progression to shock that results from release of bacterial toxins)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/stds/Pages/default.aspx.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/std/Pages/default.aspx.
What is green vaginal discharge?
Some amount of vaginal discharge is normal among women; it is often clear or whitish with a minimal odor. If the discharge changes in color, odor or texture, it may be a sign of an infection, although some variation throughout the menstrual cycle is common. Infections may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching, burning, discomfort or spotting.
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What other symptoms might occur with green vaginal discharge?
Green vaginal discharge may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Conditions that cause green vaginal discharge can cause other genital symptoms and may affect other body systems.