Vaginal Discharge

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A small amount of daily vaginal discharge is common in most women. Some breast cancer treatments can cause more or different discharge.

Normal discharge is usually:

  • clear, white, or opaque in color
  • odorless
  • thin and sticky or thick and gooey in appearance

Abnormal discharge can be:

  • more voluminous than usual
  • thick and white or yellowish in color (sometimes resembling cottage cheese); a cottage-cheese-like discharge can be a sign of a yeast infection. If you think you might have a yeast infection, call your doctor. Medicines are available to help.

If the discharge looks bloody, see a doctor immediately. Bloody discharge can be a sign of a serious medical condition.

The following breast cancer treatments can cause vaginal discharge:

Some bisphosphonates (bone-strengthening medicines) can cause a white vaginal discharge as a side effect.

Managing vaginal discharge

  • Take daily showers or baths using gentle soap and warm water. Make sure to pat the area dry to avoid further irritation of the vagina. Avoid bubble baths.
  • Don’t douche and stay away from vaginal sprays and deodorants that can irritate the vagina.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing so the vaginal area can breathe.
  • Use panty liners to help absorb excess discharge. Avoid scented tampons and pads, which can irritate the area.
  • Use condoms to prevent spread of possible infection to your partner. Avoid vaginal contraceptives because they increase the risk of infection.

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