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Yellow Vaginal Discharge

May 21, 2001

Hi, i have been having yellow discharge and it has an unusual odor. I am sexually active but with only 1 person(boyfrien).He is the only one i have ever slept with. Do u think this could just be an infection or can it also be an std?

Response from Mr. Kull

Discharge from the vagina can have different causes, like sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, or infections/irritation of the vagina or cervix. What you are describing is most commonly attributed to "vaginitis," an irritation of the vagina that causes abnormal discharge. The symptoms may also include an unpleasant odor, vaginal itching or burning, and feeling like you need to urinate more frequently. Most women will experience vaginitis at some point in their life. Infections, allergies, and irritants can lead to vaginitis, and it is important to see your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Vaginitis can be caused by infections that may or may not be sexually transmitted. Candidiasis, also known as yeast infection, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in the vagina. Antibiotics, pregnancy, infections, among other things, can lead to a yeast infection, and it is probably not sexually transmitted. Bacterial vaginosis (BV), is caused by a bacterial infection, and trichomoniasis (trich)is a common sexually transmitted infection.

Vaginitis is often not a serious health problem, especially if you get appropriate medical care. If the cause of your symptoms is sexually transmitted, you will probably want your partner to be treated as well. You should also try to abstain from, or at least use condoms for, vaginal intercourse until you see a clinician. This will decrease the chances of you being reinfected in the future. Examination and treatment are important because certain infections can lead to long-term health complications.

Visit the "Women's Health" page at for more information about reproductive health (


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