Chlamydia Discharge Color: What Does It Look Like?

Chlamydia can often be difficult to spot due to its lack of symptoms, and unless there’s a tell-tale sign like the discharge you may experience – you may not know about it. In fact, most people often aren’t aware of it until they’ve been checked by a doctor. 

Due to its lack of symptoms, the infection can be carried and spread without any parties realizing it – which is why it’s so common. In fact, chlamydia is one of the most commonly diagnosed STDs in the United States.

One of the most common symptoms of chlamydia is a change in your vaginal discharge. In this article, we’ll discuss chlamydia discharge in detail – including what it looks like and when you should see a doctor.

Table of Contents

What Is Discharge and What Does Normal Discharge Look Like?

Discharge may be something that you’ve experienced before, and it’s not always a sign of infections like Chlamydia. Vaginal discharge is very common and it’s produced by the uterus, cervix, and vagina in order to clean and fight bad bacteria. So often, discharge is a sign that everything is in order and that your body is doing its part in fighting off infections and diseases.

The amount of discharge you experience can vary from person to person, so there’s no need to concern if you feel like you produce either a little or a lot. 

However, if you notice a change in your discharge, it might be time to get yourself checked and do something about it. You may see a change in consistency, color, or even smell. While a change might not be a sign of anything serious, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make sure you don’t have any kind of disease.

STD and Chlamydia Discharge Color

If you have an STD or Chlamydia, then you may notice a significant change in your discharge compared to what you’re used to experiencing. 

Again, it can differ from person to person, but if you notice a change – get in touch with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

 A very telling sign that you are experiencing an STD or Chlamydia would be a change in color; which in this case would be yellow. 

Discharge Colors & What They Mean

Now that we know that a change in color, specifically to yellow, may be an indication of Chlamydia – let’s take a more in-depth look into other colors you might experience and what they could possibly mean.

  • Clear: Clear discharge is often a sign of ovulation or pregnancy.
  • White: You may see some white chunks in your discharge, and this is likely due to your body fighting off an infection.
  • Gray: If your discharge is gray in color, it might be due to Bacterial Vaginosis – which is an infection of the vagina.
  • Yellow: As we’ve established, yellow discharge is often a sign of Chlamydia or another STD.
  • Green: Green discharge is usually a sign of Trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite.
  • Brown: Brown discharge may happen after your period ends, and it’s usually just old blood that’s being expelled.
  • Pink: Pink discharge may be a sign of cervical cancer, but it can also be normal if you’re pregnant or experiencing menopause.
  • Orange: Orange discharge is often a mix of other colors, and it may be due to an infection.
  • Red: Red discharge is often a sign of cervical cancer, but it can also be due to other things like implantation bleeding or menopause.
  • Black: Black discharge may happen after sexual activity, and it’s usually old blood that’s mixed with semen.

When Should You Be Concerned?

While some changes in color may not be anything to worry about, there are certain times when you should take note and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, then it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional as you may have an STD or an infection.

  • An unusual vaginal discharge that’s different from your normal discharge.
  • A change in the smell of your vaginal discharge.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Itching, burning, or redness around the vagina.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Fever
  • Unusual bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sex.
  • If you’re pregnant and experiencing any of these symptoms.

What Does Chlamydia Discharge Look Like?

Your discharge may just be a healthy function of your body, but it’s worth paying attention to just in case there is any kind of changes being experienced. If you’ve recently had a new sexual partner, it would be healthy to observe for any changes, as your partner may not even be aware that they’re carrying the infection. 

Most importantly, symptoms can vary in severity and are different based on sex. You may even experience a change in discharge a few weeks after sex with a partner who was infected, making it harder to spot the symptom, as well as the cause of it.

Chlamydia Discharge in Women

As mentioned before, vaginal discharge is common and the result of the body fighting bad bacteria and lubricating the vagina. While the discharge itself isn’t the concern, the change in discharge should be. 

The appearance of your discharge may change when you have Chlamydia, appearing a more yellow color instead of the usual, and it’s often accompanied by a strong and unpleasant smell. 

The discharge is not always yellow, however, and sometimes it can vary in consistency, as well. The discharge might be thicker than usual, as well as a cloudier color. If you’re experiencing any changes with your discharge, it might be working to book an appointment with a professional just to make sure.

Symptoms won’t always show and it’s estimated that 40-96% of women experiencing Chlamydia are asymptomatic., and it could take a while before you see any signs of Chlamydia, meaning you could have had it for a long time before realizing it. It’s due to this that it’s so easily spread from partner to partner.

Chlamydia Discharge in Men

Discharge in men is a lot less common than in women, and it’s generally only seen or experienced during sexual stimulation. If you’re experiencing discharge outside of sexual stimulation, and it doesn’t appear to be ejaculate or pre-ejaculate, it may be a sign that you have Chlamydia. It’s also worth noting that, unlike women, men may not experience a yellow discharge – making it even more difficult to identify.

Another sign to look out for if you’ve noticed discharge when there shouldn’t be any is if you are experiencing any kind of pain or strange sensations when urinating, or even just in general. This could be itching, burning, stinging, or even testicular pain.

With that said, the symptoms aren’t always telling, and even if you have Chlamydia – you might not notice it due to a lack of discharge and strange sensations. If you’ve seen the signs and are unsure of it, it would be a great idea to take a Chlamydia test just to make sure. Leaving it untreated can lead the infection to spread to the testicles, which will cause pain and swelling/inflammation.

What Should You Do if You Have Unusual Discharge?

If you have an unusual discharge, it’s best to get in touch with a healthcare professional and take a Chlamydia test. While an infection may clear up on its own, it’s always better to have it taken care of and treated as soon as possible. As mentioned before, if left untreated, Chlamydia can spread and cause issues elsewhere in the body, so the faster you act – the better.

Even if you don’t have it, a change in discharge can be a sign of something else that’s wrong in the body, and getting a second opinion can help to shed some light on the situation. The worst-case scenario is that you do have Chlamydia and that you get it treated as soon as possible. 

Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to fight the infection, but it may take some time for it to fully fight off the infection. You should make sure you take the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you, as well, or else your infection may come back despite you feeling as if it’s gone.

If you find that the antibiotics you’ve been given aren’t helping, or your condition is worsening even after you’ve had the full course, then you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible to see about seeking an alternative treatment. Prior use of antibiotics may have made them less effective, and it’s possible that it will affect your treatment.

FAQ

Is Chlamydia Discharge Thick or Thin?

As the symptoms of Chlamydia can vary from person to person, you may notice a differing consistency in the discharge while you have the infection. The discharge in some cases will be thicker than what you’re used to, and can often be a subtle, yet telling sign of the infection. With that said, Chlamydia discharge won’t always be a different consistency and may remain the same all the while you’re infected.

Is Chlamydia Discharge Noticeable?

Whether or not the Chlamydia discharge is noticeable or not is dependent on the person. Sometimes the change in discharge will be very noticeable, and very alarming. A change in color, as well as a foul odor, can make your infection very obvious. On the other hand, you may not notice any kind of change with your discharge. 

If you’ve noticed any change in your discharge, then it should be a cause for concern. A change in consistency, color, or smell is all a sign of infection or disease.

What Color Is Chlamydia Discharge?

The color of your discharge when you have Chlamydia may vary, but the most noticeable change is a yellowish color. If you’ve noticed that your discharge has taken on a more yellow color rather than clear, it might be time to take a test.

A clear discharge doesn’t mean that you’re not experiencing an infection, as it can differ. You may even see a milky or cloudy color discharge, as opposed to clear – which can also be a sign that you’re dealing with an infection.

Is Chlamydia Discharge Watery?

Chlamydia discharge can be watery. The symptoms are different for men than they are for women, and men may experience a watery discharge instead of a thick and yellow discharge. If this discharge is experienced outside of sexual stimulation, it might be a cause for concern. Because this is so subtle, you should be aware of the other symptoms, like burning, stinging, or itching sensations in the genitals.

Key Takeaways

  • The symptoms of Chlamydia aren’t always visible, and an estimated majority of women who experience the infection are asymptomatic.
  • Men and women have different symptoms when experiencing Chlamydia.
  • A change in your discharge can be a sign that you’re experiencing Chlamydia. A change in thickness, odor, color, and even amount can be a symptom of your infection.
  • You should see a doctor if you’ve noticed a change in your discharge.
  • Untreated Chlamydia can spread to other parts of the body and cause inflammation and swelling without the right usage of antibiotics.
  • Chlamydia is easily spread due to the lack of symptoms most people experience.

Sources: 

  • Spence D, Melville C. Vaginal discharge BMJ 2007; 335 :1147 doi:10.1136/bmj.39378.633287.80
  • O’Connell CM, Ferone ME. Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infections. Microb Cell. 2016 Sep 5;3(9):390-403. doi: 10.15698/mic2016.09.525. PMID: 28357377; PMCID: PMC5354567.
  • Is Male Discharge Normal? Healthline. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/male-discharge-normal 
  • Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/patientsafety/features/be-antibiotics-aware.html 
  • Levy, Stuart B. “The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance.” Scientific American, vol. 278, no. 3, 1998, pp. 46–53. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26057703. 

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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