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Why Has My Discharge Changed?

I have been getting discharge for about 6 months now. I've never had my period, but the discharge has changed color a little and smells different (sort like fish). Is it bad?
- Aidah*

Anytime a girl has a change in the way her discharge looks or smells, she should see a doctor. If you can't go to your regular doctor, visit a reproductive health clinic to get checked out.

Normal vaginal discharge should be clear or whitish. (It's OK for a girl's discharge to look slightly different at times, but it shouldn't be colors other than clear, white, or off-white.) It may have a slight odor, but shouldn't have an unpleasant one. A fishy smell is often a sign of infection, like bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis or candidiasis (yeast infection) don't just happen to girls who have sex. For example, virgins can get yeast infections from things like taking certain medications or from stress.

Changes in vaginal discharge also can be caused by STDs like gonorrhea or trichomoniasis. If STDs aren't treated, they can cause problems later in life, like infertility (the inability to have children), which is why girls who are having sex or who have had sex should see a doctor to get tested.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, RN
Date reviewed: January 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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