Orange Discharge: What is it and What Does it Mean?

Discharge is the release of water or other fluids from the body. It comes from many places, including the nose, mouth, vagina, and rectum. Discharge from the vagina can be caused by infections, certain medicines, and normal changes in the cervix, uterus, and ovaries that make up a woman’s reproductive system. Vaginal discharge isn’t usually a serious medical condition. When it becomes an issue, it’s usually because of unpleasant odor or itching or burning sensations when you urinate or have sex.

What causes orange discharge

Bright orange vaginal discharge is often an indication of a bacterial infection. Depending on where you’re at in your cycle, and how old your discharge is, it can be difficult to determine whether it’s abnormal. It could also be a symptom of menopause or any number of other health issues. The best way to tell if you have an infection, or if it’s something else, is to see your doctor.

Bacterial vaginosis

There are several different types of bacteria that live in and around your vagina, which is a good thing. But if something changes to disturb the natural balance of vaginal bacteria (which often happens with sex), you may develop bacterial vaginosis or BV. With BV, too much of one type of bacteria—usually Gardnerella vaginalis or anaerobic bacteria—builds up and causes your normally thin discharge to become watery and odorless.

Though treatment varies depending on what you’re experiencing, most cases of bacterial vaginosis (BV) are easily treated with antibiotics. You’ll need to abstain from sex during treatment and should talk with your healthcare provider about birth control options while you’re taking medication that can kill off good bacteria and cause yeast infections.


A highly treatable and curable STD, trichomoniasis can cause burning, itching, and a cloudy-orange or yellow discharge. However, you may not even notice any symptoms until your partner has already contracted it as well. More common in sexually active women than men, trichomoniasis is caused by a single-celled protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis . While condoms can lower your risk of contracting STDs like HPV and HIV (both of which can also be spread through sexual contact), they don’t protect against trichomoniasis. Instead, use latex male condoms with water-based lubricants and never share sex toys; both behaviors will help to lower your risk of infection.

End of your menstrual cycle

It’s not uncommon for women to experience a bit of spotting at the end of their menstrual cycle. The medical term for spotting is called menorrhagia and it happens when you see red or brown rust discharge during or just after your period. Menorrhagia is caused by hormonal changes and can cause bleeding between periods or longer than seven days of bleeding during your cycle.

Implantation during pregnancy

The most common cause of orange discharge during pregnancy is implantation bleeding. Implantation occurs when a fertilized egg burrows into your uterine lining, causing some light spotting or even more noticeable bright red bleeding. The average length of time between ovulation and implantation is 10 to 12 days (or between three and six weeks), so if you’re hoping to get pregnant, you’ll probably notice it right away.

When to See Your Doctor

While spotting or discoloration may seem alarming, most instances are not serious. It’s best to consult your doctor if:

  • You see abnormal discharge that is accompanied by itching, irritation, burning or pain
  • You are experiencing a change in your menstrual cycle
  • You are pregnant and experience spotting

At all other times, it is recommended that you follow up with your doctor if seeing any blood that lasts longer than a couple of days.


There’s nothing really to worry about if you notice orange-tinted discharge as long as it doesn’t cause itchiness or burning. If the discharge is paired with these symptoms it is most likely bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. Either way, these infections are easily treated with antibiotics. If you are recently pregnant then it is most likely implantation. If any discharge or blood follows and stays more than a couple of days, see your provider.