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What is This Strong Odor and Clear Discharge?

Published: February 14, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Hi . I'm wondering what's going on with me. I have a strong odor coming from down there (but it doesn't smell like fish). My underwear is always wet for no reason. I am also getting clear discharge. What could it be?? It's embarrassing .
Signed: What is This Strong Odor and Clear Discharge?

Dear What is This Strong Odor and Clear Discharge?,

TeenHealthFX can appreciate that these issues feel embarrassing to you. It is normal for pre-teens and teens to feel a little uncomfortable when it comes to puberty and all of the changes that happen to the body during adolescence. But know that it is completely fine to speak to a parent/guardian about this, as well as your doctor. A parent/guardian will understand what you are going through because they went through their own changes once! And a doctor will definitely understand because he/she deals with these issues with patients all the time. So if you ever have questions or concerns, please speak to a parent/guardian, doctor or even your school nurse.

As for what you are experiencing, the clear discharge you described is vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge refers to the fluid and/or mucus that comes out of a girl’s vagina. Here are some facts about vaginal discharge:

  • Vaginal fluid is perfectly normal and is actually a good thing because it helps to keep the vagina healthy.
  • Normal vaginal fluids vary from thin and slightly sticky to thick and gooey.
  • Vaginal fluids can be clear, white or off-white in color.
  • A girls often starts to have vaginal discharge within 6-12 months of getting her first period. This discharge will continue after menstruation begins.
  • Normal discharge might have a slight odor.
  • Normal discharge should never cause itching or burning.

 

For a normal discharge, you might feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner. You can ask a parent/guardian to buy some for you at the grocery store or pharmacy. Problems such as itching, a strong odor, or a change in color (discharge that is brown, gray or green) could indicate a vaginal infection. So if you are experiencing a particularly strong or unpleasant odor (or have any other questions or concerns), it is best to meet with your primary care physician, adolescent medicine specialist or gynecologist so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. If there is some kind of vaginal infection, please know that these types of infections are relatively common, that your doctor treats patients with them all the time, and that there is treatment available.  

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

 

For more information on discharge, read the TeensHealth article, Vaginal Discharge: What’s Normal, What’s Not. For more information on vaginal odor, including what to do and what not to do about it, please read the TeenHealth article, Feeling Fresh.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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