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Anyone with a vagina will have to deal with unusual vaginal discharge at some point. That’s just the way it works.

The type of discharge varies, depending on which point you’re at on your menstrual cycle. Sometimes the discharge is clear; sometimes the discharge is sticky, and sometimes the discharge is thick and milky — and these are all completely normal.

But sometimes, something about the discharge may not seem right to you. Maybe you’re producing more discharge than usual. Maybe it smells way too funky. When should you start panicking and rush down to the doctor’s office?

Credit: Envato Elements

We ask Dr Coni Liu, a specialist at the DSC (Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections Control) Clinic.

“The female vagina contains a wide array of microbiome, which is normal and healthy and may contribute to the normal vaginal discharge that some women experience.

However, if there is a change in the colour, texture or odour of the discharge compared to your own “norm”, please consult a doctor for further evaluation. Hormonal changes, abnormal growths, disruption of the microbiome or STIs are some causes for this change and it may require treatment.

Urgent consults should be sought if the vaginal discharge is accompanied by abdominal pain, genital ulcers or fever,” says Dr Liu.

In short, take note of what is “normal” vaginal discharge for you. Any changes in colour, texture, or odour might be an indication that something is wrong. See a doctor immediately if this is accompanied by pain, genital ulcers, or fever.

Text: Sophie Hong/Cleo