STIs manifest themselves with symptoms that can be confusing at times. For some of them, the signs may not be the same in men and women.
Since chlamydia is a common infection in women, it is important to know what its discharge appears and differs from the normal vaginal fluid.
In a nutshell, the discharge in women can be milky white or yellow in color and can remain even after treatment, but not longer than a week.
In many cases, the color ranges from white to yellow to green.
Here’s insight into pictures, related symptoms, how it smells and remedies to speed up your healing.
Of all known sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia is the most commonly reported. A chlamydia discharge comes about when a woman is infected with the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. The condition is quite similar to gonorrhea, in terms of the symptoms as well as in the transmission patterns.
- In women this STI can lead to the permanent damage of fallopian tubes.
- Infertility in the future is also possible if the condition is not treated early.
What is a chlamydia discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a symptom that may manifest in some women who are sexually active. The discharge is accompanied by other unusual symptoms, which are very similar to those experienced by people suffering from gonorrhea.
It is imperative to understand that this condition has the potential to cause long-term health problems in women. As such, you should not ignore any signs that you may experience.
Apart from the typical discharge, many women do not experience any additional signs. It is therefore important to ensure that you get tested on a regular basis, more so when engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple partners.
What does it look like? The colors and smell of the vaginal secretions may vary from one woman to another. Some people may see a yellow discharge while others will see a green discharge.
These just depend on the level of progression of the infection. Here are pictures as well as a discussion of its smell and color.
A chlamydia discharge tends to either be yellow-white, milky, watery, or thick.
The disease is often termed as an infection, as it does not produce symptoms in close to half of all the women who are infected with it.
This, therefore, implies that many women do not get to find out about the problem until they get tested. Many assume that the discharge is a part of their normal vaginal secretions.
Symptoms often begin to manifest between one and three weeks after the patient has been exposed to the bacteria. Exposure can be through engaging in unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Women who engage in oral sex are prone to chlamydia infection in the throat.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia affects more than one million people in the US each year, with many complaining of experiencing a vaginal discharge accompanied by a foul-smelling odor.
However, not all people infected with the disease get to experience symptoms as mentioned earlier. According to Medline Plus, about seventy percent of women with chlamydia may not get to experience any symptoms. For those who do, they may experience a fishy smelling vaginal odor, which may be accompanied by:
- Pain when having sex
- Discharge from the vagina, rectum, or throat
- Burning sensation when passing urine
- Pelvic pain
- A sore throat i.e. for women who have chlamydia in the throat
Symptoms in women
Though common, chlamydia is dangerous, but a curable STI. It has been known to cause infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
Unfortunately, most women do not get to show symptoms, only coming to realize that they have the infection much later after they have developed some complications.
To ensure that you get treatment on time, it is vital to understand and be in a position to identify the common symptoms that are associated with this STI.
1. Unusual discharge
A vaginal discharge is common in every healthy woman. But, when you notice an unusual vaginal fluid, it may be an indication that you have an infection. It is possible to tell whether your discharge is unusual by checking for:
- Unpleasant smell e.g. fishy odor or ammonia smell
- Vaginal fluid with a dark color (black vaginal discharge)
- Bloody discharge in between your periods
In case you suspect that your vaginal fluid may be abnormal, there is a need to make sure you see your physician. The physician will be able to run tests before prescribing the right medication to treat chlamydia if it I the cause of your symptoms.
2. Pain during sex and when passing urine
Pain when having sex and/or when urinating is often an indication that you have an infection. Chlamydia infections have been known to cause pain in the vaginal region among the infected women.
You, therefore, need to ensure that you abstain from sexual intercourse in case you experience extreme pain or discomfort during the act.
Experiencing a burning sensation when urinating is also an indication that you have an infection, which could be anything from chlamydia to a yeast infection.
3. Bleeding after sex
There are women who may experience slight bleeding after sexual intercourse. It is one of the primary symptoms that are associated with chlamydia in women, and in some cases, it may be accompanied by slight pain.
Apart from symptoms related to the vaginal area and discharge, there are other symptoms that can manifest in other areas of your body, which could point to a chlamydia infection. They include:
- Abdominal, pelvic, and lower back pain progressing at a slow pace. Some women have reported experiencing higher back pain, which was similar to kidney tenderness. The pain could be an indication that the infection has now spread from your cervix, and is in your fallopian tubes.
- A sore throat after recently engaging in oral sex, make sure to seek medical assistance. One of the common means of transmitting the STI is through oral sex with an infected partner as it travels from the penis to your mouth.
- Fevers and nausea. Women who have been infected with chlamydia will often become nauseated, and may also develop high fevers. The fevers are common after the infection has spread to the fallopian tubes.
Any person who is sexually active, engages in unprotected sex, or has multiple sexual partners should try and get annual STI tests, which should also include the chlamydia test.
Additionally, it may be important to make sure you get tested before engaging in intercourse with a new partner.
You are at a higher risk of getting this STI if:
- You engage in sexual intercourse without using protection as your partner may have an STI. You can protect yourself from getting such an infection through the use of dental dams or tongue late condoms.
- In the past you have been diagnosed with another STI.
- Men who engage in sexual intercourse with other men have a higher risk of being infected with chlamydia.
According to Dr. Ed, one in every twenty sexually active women are at risk of being infected with chlamydia. Additionally, the condition is prevalent amongst people who are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five years old.
Apart from causing discharge, the condition has been known to have a number of additional effects such as:
Chlamydia is one of the primary causes of infertility today. Upon infection, the cervix becomes affected. Therefore, if the woman neglects the condition and fails to seek treatment, the infection will start spreading to the fallopian tubes, and will eventually end up in the ovaries.
When in the ovaries, it will cause damage to the hair linings that are present in your fallopian tubes—keep in mind that the linings are in charge of guiding the egg from your ovaries all the way to the womb.
As such, damage to the linings will cause scarring, and this will make the tubes to become permanently blocked. Fallopian tube blockage is associated with permanent infertility.
In rare cases, you will find that a woman who had suffered scarring because of chlamydia will at some point be able to conceive, though such a woman is at an increased risk of getting an ectopic pregnancy.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Commonly referred to as PID, this is a bacterial infection, which occurs in the fallopian tubes and/or in the womb.
Normally, it is caused by such an STD, where it then goes ahead to cause chlamydia-related infertility. PID symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain when having sex
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding—bleeding in between periods, when having sex, unusual heavy monthly periods
- Lower back pain
The neck of the womb (cervix) can become inflamed when you get infected with this STI. The inflammation will most likely cause bleeding, irregular vaginal discharge, and discomfort.
Cervicitis has also been known to cause chlamydia-like symptoms e.g. experiencing the urgent need to urinate after every few hours. If you do not seek medical attention, it can result in:
- Cervical cysts
- Relentless vaginal flow
- Deep pelvic pain
Discharge after treatment
Why am I still getting a discharge after chlamydia treatment?
Typically, it is possible to treat chlamydia using regular antibiotics. Studies show that 95% of women who take their antibiotics as recommended by the doctors usually get relief.
Your doctor will often want to know whether you have any allergies, are breastfeeding, or are pregnant before prescribing the antibiotics.
Even though the antibiotics are seen to be highly effective, there are women who will still get a yellow or white vaginal secretion even after they have completed treatment.
For such women, the discharge tends to be clumpy, rather than thick. It is a common side effect of the medication, and you should ensure that you consult your physician about the clumpy discharge. Additional side effects of chlamydia medication may include:
- Vaginal thrush
- Tummy pain
- Feeling sick
When the symptoms become noticeable, they will usually appear between seven and twenty-one days after the infection has occurred. One of the most noticeable symptoms will be a white discharge.
The discharge will be cloudy/white, watery or gooey and will be emanating from the vagina. In many cases, it is accompanied by a very foul smell.
A green vaginal fluid is one of the symptoms that are associated with progressed chlamydia. According to the Sexuality Education Resource Center MB, many people infected with both chlamydia and gonorrhea may show symptoms (when present) such as “White, yellow or green discharge from the vagina, penis or anus.”
If you notice this type of fluid, you need to ensure that you see your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will conduct a diagnostic test that will involve swabbing the affected region, be it in your anus, throat, or vagina.
A urine test may also be conducted to confirm the results of the swab test.
Antibiotics are the perfect method for treating chlamydia, but, long-term use of antibiotics may lead to long-lasting side effects, as well as permanent damage to your body.
As such, it is always best to find alternative ways to deal with the symptoms of the disease. If the fluid causes a lot of discomfort and embarrassment, you may want to try home treatment remedies to reduce its odor.
Some of the home remedies you can try include:
Garlic contains antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiviral properties. This makes it one of the most effective home remedies to get rid of the chlamydia bacterial infection. Here’s how to use garlic to treat chlamydia at home.
- Eat two raw garlic cloves each day to hasten your recovery.
- Alternatively, consider incorporating garlic into your soup or salads.
- Take garlic capsules, which are readily available at the local health store.
Do not cook garlic. Cooking it will make it lose some of its essential nutrients, which you need for you to get rid of the chlamydia discharge. You can also consider taking garlic juice, without incorporating any honey or sugar in it.
Olive tree extract
Olive tree extracts come highly recommended as they assist in boosting the immune system, which makes it harder to get a reinfection. Additionally, it makes sure that the infection will not spread to other areas of your body.
Boosting your immunity with olive tree extract is an effective home remedy for treating chlamydia. For olive tree home remedy, you can choose to take it in the form of a salve, powder, or as an extract. Regardless of whichever form you choose to use, the results will be the same.
Echinacea herb has both antiviral and antibacterial properties and can help get rid of a chlamydia vaginal discharge.
You can take Echinacea as tinctures or capsules. Whatever form you settle on, you will find that it will clean your body by getting rid of the harmful bacterial organism that is causing the foul smelling odor.
Other than its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it contains anti-inflammatory properties that are essential for alleviating any inflammation caused by chlamydia, or its accompanying symptoms.
- Echinacea is widely available in health stores in the form of a powder due to its popularity
- If you choose to prepare tea with the powder, ensure that you do not add any honey or sugar to it, as the sugar may worsen your symptoms
- Make sure to take the Echinacea tea each day for a few weeks to get the best results
Sage, a perennial plant has for many decades been used in treating chlamydia and its accompanying symptoms such as the foul-smelling discharge.
- Obtain some sage leaves and grind them to come up with a fine powder.
- Take your powder and add it to a single glass of boiling water.
- Cover the pan to allow the sage to steep for a few minutes.
- Allow the sage tea to cool down.
- Take the sage tea at least three times a day until you get some relief
Goldenseal is commonly used in treating bacterial and fungal infections known to affect the human body. It contains an enzyme known as berberine, which assists in warding off infectious bacteria.
Recent studies have shown that enzyme also assists in boosting the human immune system by ensuring that the white blood cells are healthy and functioning properly.
You can use goldenseal to deal with the unusual fluid by preparing a douche, which you should then apply to your vagina. The douche will assist in reducing the discomfort associated with itching—a common symptom of this STI.
Sources and reference
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: STD Facts/ Chlamydia: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm
- Ed. (2016, March) https://www.dred.com/uk/chlamydia-treatment.html
- NHS: Chlamydia Treatment: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chlamydia/Pages/Complications.aspx