Green Discharge: Top 3 Causes, What to Do & Home Remedies

Updated in May 2023

Green discharge that is accompanied by a foul odor, itching or burning can be a sign of trichomoniasis. This is a parasitic infection that is transmitted through unprotected sex.

Green discharge, which may sometimes have a more yellow tinge,  may also be a sign of vulvovaginitis, which is characterized by inflammation to the vulva and vagina and can cause alterations to natural-occurring vaginal flora. This condition causes an overgrowth of flora which leads to swelling in the area. It is often caused by use of irritating soaps or scented products.

If you experience green vaginal discharge, you should see your doctor or gynecologist. He or she will assess you, and may order testing. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, appropriate treatment can be started. In some cases, your sexual partner may also need to be treated, to avoid reinfection in both of you. Read about what different vaginal discharge colors can mean and how to treat different types. 

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Common causes

The main causes of green vaginal discharge are:

1. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a vaginal infection caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis protozoan. In addition to green discharge, it can also cause pain during intercourse, foul odor, genital itching or irritation, pain with urination and urinary frequency

What to do: Generally, trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics like metronidazole or tinidazole twice a day for 5 to 7 days. You should take your medication as indicated by your prescriber.

2. Vulvovaginitis

Vulvovaginitis is characterized by swelling of the vulva and vaginal lining at the same time. In addition to swelling and green discharge, you may also experience irritation, itching, redness, foul odor, discomfort and burning with urination

Vulvovaginitis can be be caused for a diverse set of reasons, like bacteria, fungus, virus, parasite or strong chemicals found in foams, soaps or scented products. 

What to do: Most of the time, treatment for vulvovaginitis is completed with medications like antibiotics, antifungals or antihistamines (depending on the type of infection). For example, if the inflammation is due to a product allergy, the doctor may recommend antihistamines for treatment. If inflammation is caused by an infection, antibiotics or antifungals would be more appropriate.

3. Bacterial vaginosis

Although this is not the most common cause of green discharge, in many cases, a bacterial vaginosis infection can be present. This is an infection caused by the Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria, which can also result in a more white-colored discharge. In addition to excess discharge, bacterial vaginosis can also cause small blisters in the vagina and a foul odor (similar to rotten fish) that worsens with unprotected sex.

Read more about what causes bacterial vaginosis and the symptoms associated with it. 

What to do: Treatment of bacterial vaginosis is usually completed as indicated by your doctor, with the use of antibiotics. Metronidazole is typically prescribed, either in pill form or as a vaginal suppository.

Home remedies

You can opt to use home remedies as a complement to your doctor's indicated treatment. There are some hygiene-related tips you can employ to help treat green discharge, such as:

  • Washing your genital area 2 to 3 times per day with just running water and a mild soap.
  • Taking a bath with warm water or guava tea to help with genital itching
  • Avoid using tight underwear with synthetic fabrics, and use cotton-based underwear instead

Any changes to your vaginal discharge can be a way of your body signaling a problem, therefore you should see your doctor as soon as you notice any changes. Learn about other home remedies for vaginal discharge that you can use to naturally relieve mild symptoms at home.